2018 MBAs To Watch: David Hurtado, Southern Methodist University (Cox)

David Hurtado

Cox School of Business, Southern Methodist University    

An enthusiastic collaborator who takes pride and joy in enabling others to succeed.”

Age: 33

Hometown: Bogota, Colombia

Fun fact about yourself: I am most likely the only Colombian that doesn’t dance.

Undergraduate School and Degree:

Universidad de Los Andes, B.Sc. Industrial Engineering

Universidad de Los Andes, M.Sc. Engineering

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Citigroup, Country Head of Financial Planning

Where did you intern during the summer of 2017 PricewaterhouseCoopers, Advisory – Management Consulting, San Jose – California

Where will you be working after graduation? PricewaterhouseCoopers, Advisory – Management Consulting, San Jose – California

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Cox Distinguished MBA Scholar recipient: Awarded to top 4 students based on track record of leadership and academic excellence.
  • Honor Council Co-Chair: Developed initiatives to further develop a culture of ethical behavior across all of Business Graduate Programs as a means to prepare SMU’s graduates to become better leaders in their respective communities and organizations.
  • Corporate Strategy and Consulting Club President
  • International Business Club VP
  • Student Advisor: coached MBA students on how to better navigate recruiting events and improve their interviewing skills.
  • Student-Athlete advisor: tutored graduate student athletes in need of academic support.
  • Cox Distinguished Business Leader
  • Admissions Fellow: Worked with the admissions office in selecting the best candidates for incoming student scholarship awards.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Being a Cox Distinguished Scholar has provided me with outstanding opportunities to interact with senior executives in leading organizations across the United States. This has proven to be a great networking asset, and it’s given me an unparalleled opportunity to learn about how outstanding business leaders in multiple spaces drive change in their organizations. It is also a rewarding opportunity to give back to SMU Cox as a student ambassador.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Working my way through my Master in Engineering program was probably one of the hardest and most rewarding experiences of my life. It put my resilience to the test and provided me with amazing opportunities to apply in real time the lessons learned in class.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? My favorite professor so far has been Pab Jotikasthira. I looked forward every week to learning in his class. I truly enjoy and admire his capacity to engage his audience.

As an aspiring business leader, I highly appreciate outstanding professionals who go beyond sharing their perspective and push forward in conveying their passion to motivate others. I strongly believe this is a key asset in driving sustainable leadership, and an asset that becomes more indispensable by the day as organizations strive to remain innovative and retain talent in their respective spaces.

What was your favorite MBA Course My favorite course was the Venture Capital Practicum. It has proven to be an amazing opportunity to put to the test what I have learned in and outside the classroom during my MBA, while adding further relevant experience to my resume. It has been truly exciting to engage with multiple entrepreneurial ventures in the Tech-B2B space.

Why did you choose this business school? As an international student, I was looking for an MBA that offered the means to explore the widest possible range of industries available in the US that could complement my experience LATAM. Pursuing an MBA in Dallas provided me with such an opportunity. I was able to explore the Tech space in the Bay Area of California, as well as to interact with the Venture Capital space in Texas and NY.

What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? My advice is to be mindful of what your desired MBA culture is and ask yourself whether or not this is your desired brand of leadership. SMU Cox is built upon a tight network whose bonds are established on principles of collaboration and deep commitment on helping our classmates succeed. The culture embraces intelligent, driven people who can contribute with their thoughts and experience during class. Above all, I believe we seek servant leaders, individual deeply committed on helping their communities and deeply invested in their peers’ success.

What is the biggest myth about your school? Cox has an outstanding finance program and this was very enticing to me as finance was my initial goal when I came to business school, but as it tends to happen with most MBAs, your goals change as you discover other exciting fields and spaces. I was very happy to find out about amazing opportunities for experiential learning available through the Brierley Institute for Customer Engagement as well as through the Strategy and Entrepreneurship department. These experiences have strongly contributed to build up my passion for management consulting as well as helped me to be better prepared for it.

What was your biggest regret in business school? I wish I had been more adventurous in taking classes. Some of the greatest learning engagements came through classes for which I didn’t fully know what to expect.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? An MBA is a challenging and rewarding experience, as it puts to the test your resilience and your willingness to step out of you comfort zone. I consider Preet Grewal to be a great example of what an MBA candidate should be. Her level of dedication and commitment over the last two years has been truly inspirational to me. I look forward to seeing what she will achieve in the future. She is truly someone to look up to.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? Andres Sarmiento is an entrepreneur and MBA who introduced me to the unlimited and exciting potential offered by the Tech space. He is the main reason behind my pursuit of a career in management consulting in this field. He guided me during my MBA application process and has proven to be a role model in servant leadership. He is someone to look up to, as well as someone I am very proud to call my friend.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…working in corporate finance in a different country. I truly enjoyed my job before business school and I would have most likely continued exploring its possibilities in other countries. I still aim to explore the extent of my capabilities by performing in other organizations and cultures, but having an MBA makes me feel more prepared to fully capitalize on the lessons this experiences have in store for me.”

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the MBA experience? I am very excited about starting a career in Management Consulting, but as many other students may be thinking right now, the MBA experience has been so amazing that sometimes I would like it to go on. So, perhaps I would try to make some dreams come true and make it a 3 year program!

What are the top two items on your bucket list? Go to a World Cup and to take the Trans-Siberian Express. Hopefully 2019 will be the year in which I’ll accomplish both!

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I would like my peers to remember me as someone who was committed to enabling success.

What is your favorite movie about business? The Pursuit of Happyness. I really love the fact it reinforces the concept that in business, as in life, hard work and resilience make for most of our success.

What would your theme song be? “Piano Black” by Yoko Kanno

Favorite vacation spot: Tulum, Mexico

Hobbies? Running (even though I’m terrible at it), Bowling

What made David such an invaluable addition to the class of 2018?

“David Hurtado is an exceptional person, as well as an exceptional MBA candidate. Seldom is the most intelligent person also the most caring and hard-working, but David is. Numerous students have told us how he has helped them be more successful in the program, both in the classroom and in their career development. Whether tutoring his fellow classmates and club members, or working with our athletic office tutoring undergraduate football and basketball players, David is selfless in sharing his academic knowledge with those who desire to learn.

He serves as the president of our Cox Consulting and Corporate Strategy Club, as well as a Student Career Coach, wherein he offers advice to fellow MBAs who are interested in consulting realize their career goals. David has set a new standard for what it takes for students to prepare for success in one of our most highly sought-after MBA placements. His efforts, in collaboration with career center initiatives, have led to doubling the number of consulting internship offers for our first-year class. Moreover, as Honor Council co-chair, David set an excellent ethical standard for his classmates and all of our graduate programs. He not only maintains operations of the Honor Council, as a student leader, but has assisted the Graduate Student Services Office in revising the Honor Code to best capture the spirit of academic integrity. David has modeled and designed this standard of ethics, and has worked to equip his peers to achieve such integrity via tutoring and coaching. He is skilled in bringing out the best in his peers. They often seek his advice in the various aspects of their student careers. There’s no doubt in our minds that David Hurtado is meant for success in every sense of the word.”

Mara Morhouse

Associate Director, SMU Cox Full-Time MBA Program  

J.R. McGrath

SMU Cox Director of MBA Admissions





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