2018 MBAs To Watch: Dan Stern, MIT (Sloan)

Dan Stern

MIT, Sloan School of Management

Relentless, innovative, active & proactive, self-driven, forward-looking, charismatic, analytical, caring, social and a risk taker.” 

Age: 28

Hometown: Santiago, Chile

Fun fact about yourself: At the age of 3, I developed a severe case of strabismus (my right eye moved involuntary to the center of my head, like a chameleon!) and farsightedness. After a 10-year experimental treatment for the time, I was completely cured.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, Commercial Engineering

Where did you work before enrolling in business school? Virtus Partner, Consultant

Where did you intern during the summer of 2017? Alba, CEO & Co-Founder

Where will you be working after graduation? Alba, CEO & Co-Founder

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Sloan Jewish Student Organization President
  • Legatum Seed
  • Legatum Fellow
  • MIT Fuse
  • Goss Fellowship (MIT deltaV)
  • McKinsey Scholar

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? My proudest achievement has been to be selected as one of MITs most valuable entrepreneurs through deltaV acceleration program. After a tough selection process that gathered MIT’s most talented innovators, scientists and businesspeople and hundreds of entrepreneurs, I was selected among the best 20 to represent my school.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? My proudest personal achievement has been recovering back from my first startup’s bankruptcy to start again as an entrepreneur, from scratch. Three years ago and after working for over one year as CEO for my own startup, I had managed to create a growing company with ten employees and a robust portfolio of clients. However, due to several mistakes as CEO, I couldn’t forecast with more than one week in advance an imminent bankruptcy.

It was a tough experience, where I grew as a person and a professional. It took me a while to overpass this situation and understand that what defines a person is how it reacts to adverse situations and not necessarily its achievements.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? My favorite MIT professor has been Catherine Turco at Organizational Processes. I think she had everything I would love a professor to have. She was charismatic, engaging, entertaining, and concerned about the class and our learning. She was devoted to teach us in new methods and about relevant recent topics.

What was your favorite MBA Course: My favorite MBA course has been U-Lab, which is an experiential course that teaches students how to transform business and society, by first changing themselves. My biggest learning in this class was to understand better what I want in my life, how I picture myself as a person and businessman and what role I want to have in the society.

Why did you choose this business school? For me, MIT is the cradle for innovation and entrepreneurship in the world. For an aspiring entrepreneur who wants to change how things are done around the globe, MIT is the place to be.

What is your best piece advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? As far as I’ve learnt, MIT wants unique people that can have an impact at a big scale. Be yourself in the application process finding what makes you different from the rest to achieve big things.

What is the biggest myth about your school? The biggest myth I heard is that everything is about collaboration and teamwork. For my surprise, in fact it works that way! I’m impressed how they can turn out everything to be about collaboration.

What was your biggest regret in business school?
Not joining a high tech startup at MIT, using blockchain, AI or robotics

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? It’s hard to pick only one, but if forced to, I would choose Eugenio Gonzalez. His resilience to overcome obstacles and determination to pursue his dreams, by becoming the best version of himself, is an example to all of us at MIT.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My parents were the biggest influence overall, given that business is something we spoke daily at home. This helped me realize the huge impact you can have in the society by being a conscious businessman.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…pursuing a business venture as a founder or team member in SF.”

If you were a dean for a day, what one thing would you change about the MBA experience? I would increase the number of leadership classes and make students take them since their first day at Sloan.

What are the top two items on your bucket list? Change Latin America’s entrepreneurship ecosystem to be more risk taker, active and dynamic, and increase the list of countries I’ve visited from ~60 to 100.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? As a relentless entrepreneur willing to give everything to pursue his dream of a more equal society.

What is your favorite movie about business? Wolf of Wall Street.

What would your theme song be? “Fast Car” by Jonas Blue

Favorite vacation spot: Colbun Lake, Chile

Hobbies? Tennis, running, swimming, coding, cooking

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

“I’ve had the pleasure of working with Dan, as his mentor, lecturer and advisor, during his time in MIT’s MBA program. Dan has consistently demonstrated academic excellence, the ability to apply business principles and frameworks to a venture and serves as role model and ecosystem amplifier.

Dan Stern was a stand-out member of the class of 2018. I first met Dan Stern during his second month of the MBA program. I was serving as a mentor in the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship and Dan was seeking guidance for Alba, the company he founded before coming to MIT. I was immediately impressed by the initial traction that Dan had achieved with Alba and the team he had built. Dan had a solid grasp of the business fundamentals and we discussed the level of analysis and analytical rigor a future investor would require. Two weeks later, Dan returned. Despite Dan’s challenging first semester heavy course load, he had conducted a thoughtful analysis of his marketplace business and had gained key insights. Dan shared his experience and knowledge with his entrepreneurial classmates and became a go-to resource for his peers in the MBA program.

Dan continued to amplify the MIT entrepreneurship ecosystem and serve as an example and resource for the class of 2018 and 2017. Dan received both the prestigious Legatum seed grant and fellowship in recognition of his academic excellence and the potential positive impact he could have on the developing world. Dan earned a spot in MIT’s Fuse accelerator program, an intensive three-week program designed to help MIT students explore entrepreneurship by working at the speed of founder. Dan was accepted into the highly competitive capstone academic accelerator program at MIT called delta v and received the coveted Goss Fellowship. Dan’s focus and ability to apply the timeless skills he had acquired during his course work at MIT, marry with the tactics he has acquired from Startup Founders has made Dan one of the students most admired by Faculty and students.

Dan’s commitment to excellence was consistently visible in his course work. I teach a class focused on Scaling Entrepreneurial Ventures. The course takes place in the Spring and acceptance in the class is competitive and typically the slots are reserved for MBA’s who are about to graduate. Dan Stern was one of the few exceptions to this rule. Despite being a second semester, first year MBA, Dan was one of the most engaging and thoughtful participants in the class. Consistently willing to share his successes, failures and key learnings with other students.

This past semester, Dan served as one of my TA’s for Introduction to Technological Entrepreneurship course that is required for all MBA’s in the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Track. In addition to Dan’s course load, driving the growth of Alba that has over 1,000 paying customers, he made time to serve as a mentor to 85 first year MBA students.

The Mission of MIT Sloan is to develop principled, innovative leaders who improve the world. As an institution we are proud to point to Dan Stern as an outstanding graduate of MIT Sloan.”

Donna Levin
Senior Lecturer
Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship & Strategy Management
Entrepreneur in Residence

MIT Sloan School of Management

 

DON’T MISS THE FULL LIST:

100 MBAS TO WATCH IN THE CLASS OF 2018