2018 MBAs To Watch: Sergio Cabello, Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper)

Sergio Cabello

The Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University

Peruvian nomad addicted to exploring the world, its people and its cultures.”

Age: 30

Hometown:
Lima, Peru

Fun fact about yourself: In my first year in NYC, I moved 5 times and lived in an apartment named by Esquire Magazine as the Worst Apartment Listing in NYC.

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Virginia (BA in Foreign Affairs)

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Edelman – Project Manager

Where did you intern during the summer of 2017? L’Oréal Luxe – MBA Marketing Intern for Lancôme

Where will you be working after graduation? L’Oréal Luxe – Chief of Staff to the President of a Brand in the Luxury Group (TBD on which brand)

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Marketing Club President
  • Consortium Fellow
  • Marketing Club Case Competition 2017, 1st place winner
  • Soccer club
  • Basketball Club

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am most proud of running the Marketing Club at Tepper, not only because I was able to successfully drive some of our key strategic goals but also because it was a fantastic personal growth and learning experience. As the club’s president, I was able to grow its membership base by 45 percent and run over 30 events while having fun with the most talented board in Tepper. This experience forced me to grow, as I had to manage a group of students who I had no direct authority and make presentations often in front of a number of people.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I am most proud of my experience at L’Oréal for the following reasons. First, I developed a strategic brand-wide plan that was later used in key quarterly and sales meetings across Lancôme. Second, I was selected to co-moderate a Q&A session with the CEO of L’Oréal Americas which was transmitted on L’Oréal’s Facebook Live channel. Third, I was offered a highly selective full-time role which will provide a great amount of exposure on how a brand runs its day to day strategy. Finally, I can say that I made valuable friendships with my colleagues socializing in and outside of work.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? I really enjoyed Professor Brandy Aven and her teaching style. Professor Aven is approachable despite her incredible academic pedigree and current research responsibilities.  She is always willing to help out students by offering advice based on her research, personal experience or through her connections and network. Finally, she is the most dynamic professor I know as she can teach both quantitative and qualitative lessons in a seamless way.

What was your favorite MBA Course? I had a great time both academically and personally during Marketing Research class with Professor Galak. His class combined statistics with marketing decision-making in a very succinct and actionable way. His class provides you with an array of tools that market research agencies use with their clients today. The biggest business insight from his class was how to use multivariable regression analysis to understand consumer preferences and how to build customer personas out of it. This tool has been incredible helpful during my time at Tepper and even during my internship.

Why did you choose this business school? My goals for my business school experience were very clear from the start. First, I wanted to become more comfortable with managing data and numbers. Tepper was not only the best program for data management, but also the best option for teaching students how to use data in order to make strategic business decisions. Secondly, I wanted to develop my leadership skills. Due to smaller class sizes, Tepper offers customized and tailored programming for leadership development through its one-on-one coaching from Accelerate (Tepper’s Leadership Institute). Therefore, when I was accepted, the decision was a no brainer.

What is your best piece of advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? I would encourage them to meet as many Tepper students and administrators as they can. They will not only learn about the program, but they will also figure out if the school is the right fit, develop a real connection and relationship with our people, and maybe (if they are lucky) get recommended internally.

Second, consider how you can creatively boost weaker parts of your application. For example, a few months before starting Tepper, I took a new job that was highly analytical and told my admissions officers about it. I wanted to show them I could handle the curriculum and that I was prepared for whatever quant classes Tepper had in store for me.

What is the biggest myth about your school? The biggest myth I encountered implied that the students were all data nerds.

This is partially true but what has been most impressive is to see how some of the most introverted data driven students have come out of their shells thanks to the community at Tepper and the resources and programming available.

What was your biggest regret in business school? If I could go back, I would spend less time on Instagram and do more traveling with my classmates.  

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Mike Provenzano. In about a year’s time, Mike founded the STARS Club (Students at Tepper for Astronautics Rockets & Space); he brought an astronaut to speak in class, he met Bjarke Ingels and receiving an invite to his house; he interned with Boeing; and recently just became the CEO of a company that will collect space waste. Mike has done all of this while remaining friendly, humble and maintaining a positive attitude despite much adversity. I admire the fact that he followed his passion, and utilized the Tepper experience and available resources to make it happen.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My father is my biggest role model and the largest influence in my pursuit of further business education. He’s my personal hero because he came from nothing (growing up in small town in Peru), overcame every obstacle imaginable, and managed to provide a better future for his family. My father received his MBA from Columbia University while working two jobs and having two kids to feed. Post-MBA, our lives changed. He was able to get a great job in Peru that eventually helped him develop a long career at the World Bank. I believe that was possible thanks to his MBA education and his willingness to never give up. My goal is to do the same after my MBA education in order to provide a better future for myself and my future family.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…still in the agency world trying to find time to learn skills around data and digital marketing while attempting to find a job at a lifestyle or luxury brand.”

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the MBA experience? I would co-sponsor more experiential classes between Tepper and the schools of Design, Computer Science, and Human Computer Interaction. Tepper is positioned perfectly for the future of business since it is at the intersection of technology & business. In my opinion, the best way to capitalize on this positioning is by taking full advantage of the interdisciplinary nature of the Carnegie Mellon ecosystem.

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

  • Swim with Whale Sharks in Isla Mujeres (Mexico) or in Praia do Tofo (Mozambique).
  • Watch the Peruvian National Soccer Team play in the Fifa World Cup.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? As the guy that could help you network anywhere and hopefully get your foot in the door in your dream company.

What is your favorite movie about business? The Big Short. I learned about subprime mortgages thanks to Margot Robbie.

What would your theme song be? “Man In The Mirror” – Michael Jackson

Favorite vacation spot:
San Juan Del Sur, Nicaragua

Hobbies? Surfing (with no sharks thank you), basketball, soccer, tennis, drumming and meeting new people.

What made Sergio such an invaluable addition to the class of 2018?“Sergio is unique in that he doesn’t just straddle two cultures the way that most international students do. He lives both cultures. He looks at business, culture, and people the way Americans do and the way Peruvians do. He’s not an outsider (Peruvian) looking in. He’s an insider looking into both societies, and an outsider looking into both societies. This is rare for international students, most of whom hold onto their national worldview while studying in the USA or they go native and give up their national worldview. This is what will serve him well as he becomes a global business leader whether based in the USA, Peru, or another country altogether.”

Robert Kelley
Distinguished Service Professor of Management
Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University

 

DON’T MISS THE FULL LIST:

100 MBAS TO WATCH IN THE CLASS OF 2018