Meet Washington Olin’s MBA Class Of 2020

Claudia Ortiz Albert

Washington University’s Olin Business School in St. Louis

I am passionate, competitive, and caring. I work hard to achieve my goals.”

Hometown: Valencia, Spain

Fun Fact About Yourself: I have studied and/or worked in five cities, three countries and two continents in the past two years.

Undergraduate School and Major: Campbell University, B.B.A. in International Business (Magna Cum Laude)

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria S.A., Corporate & Investment Banking Analyst

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Presenting an intrapreneurial new product to the head of global finance at BBVA and receiving support to introduce the product to clients.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Supportive. Over the past three weeks together, they have been very welcoming and encouraging as we begin this journey together. Being an international student, it is very important to feel that you have a home away from home. There is such a great vibe in our class! When I met them, I knew I came to the right place at the right time.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? The key factors for me in coming to Olin were the school’s reputation and the generous support I received from the school through Forté Foundation. I firmly believe that Olin’s reputation, faculty, and career opportunities will all help me discover my path, guide my passions, and explore my interests to have a greater impact on the world.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I am so excited to join the Olin Women in Business because I want to use my MBA to improve gender equality and empower women to achieve their goals.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I consider Fall 2018 as the right time to start my graduate studies because I know that the MBA will provide new and greater opportunities than those I had back home. I will be able to take advantage of the classes, network, and resources that WashU has available to advance my short- and long-term professional goals. An MBA from Olin will enhance my career opportunities and facilitate my professional growth by giving me the knowledge and confidence to excel in any environment. When combined with my desire to have an impact on others’ lives, my education at WashU will give me the ability to enact the changes I want to see in tomorrow´s society.

How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? Yes, I firmly believe this MBA is worth the investment in money and time because it will enrich not only my career, but also my personal life experience. For me, leaving my home country is a huge sacrifice mainly because all my family and friends are there. However, I know that this effort and investment will be worth it for my personal and professional future.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Georgetown and UNC Chapel Hill

How did you determine your fit at various schools? I wanted to attend a top-quality program that would provide great career opportunities after graduation. Olin also stood out to me because from the first interaction I had with the admissions team, they made me feel like I belonged here.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? In March 2012, I decided to leave behind everything I knew to start a new adventure. I discovered that through an athletic scholarship I could combine my two passions – business and tennis – and continue my athletic career. I decided to get out of my comfort zone and challenge myself.

Until that point, I was just a regular Spanish person. I had graduated from high school and I was majoring in Law and Business Administration in a nearby university. Similar to most people my age in Spain, I had a very comfortable life studying while living with my parents near my friends, family, and boyfriend. Unfortunately, the Spanish education system makes it nearly impossible to combine sports with classes. Like many other athletes in Spain, I had to decide whether I wanted to pursue a career in tennis or study a degree in college. Since I had to choose, I decided that a good education was the best choice for my future.

After I discovered I could continue my tennis career while studying, I became engulfed by the idea. However, I was unsure about how I could return and compete at such a high level after a two-year break. Despite the temptation to stay, I decided to break out of my comfort zone and pursue this new opportunity. After many hours of practice, fight, and hard work, I rediscovered the silent resilience and determination that tennis gave me through many years of training and competition. I received a full scholarship to attend Campbell University in the United States.

At first, my transition to the US was difficult. I had to adapt to a new culture, language, and the intensity of being a student athlete at a Division I school. I overcame these challenges and found my true home at Campbell, where I became a leader on the court and in the classroom. My experience getting to the US proved to me that (i) it is never too late, and (ii) as we say in Spain, “todo esfuerzo tiene surecompensa” (Every effort has its reward).

Studying and competing in the US gave me the confidence to know that I can achieve anything I put my mind to. My experiences have transferred into my professional success. After college, I took an investment banking position with BBVA in London with the confidence I could succeed in any environment. I was able to quickly become a contributing and valued team member while spearheading initiatives like organizing a Bloomberg training session and padel tournament. I know that if you work hard and have a clear goal, you can make dreams become a reality. This has been my motif in every experience I have had, so far, and I am positive that it will continue to be instrumental in my career.

What do you plan to do after you graduate?  I want to continue my career in investment banking after I graduate from Olin. My short-term goal is to work at a major investment bank on Wall Street. I discovered my passion for investment banking during my loan syndicate internship in London. Similar to tennis, I enjoyed working there and I was eager to learn more every day. I love the dynamic, team-oriented, and client-focused career investment banking provides. I want to find a position at a company where I can grow and take on new challenges over time. Ultimately, I’d like to start assuming more management responsibilities and begin taking the steps to become a leader in the industry

Where do you see yourself in five years? In five years, I see myself working for an investment firm where I can grow and increase my responsibilities over time. I see myself in a company where I can learn something new every day and have a feeling of pride to represent such company.

With regards to my long-term goals, besides a career in investment banking, I want to have an impact on society by becoming more involved through volunteering and collaborating with international organizations to achieve gender equality and promote women’s safety. I believe if you can develop stable economies that can raise the standard of living in poor areas, women will have a better opportunity to get a stronger education, acquire more rights, and reduce their abuse.

In many cases, businesses have a greater and quicker impact on initiating social change. In five years, I see myself helping women in various countries establish businesses, gain financial strength, and empowerment while using my knowledge to consult with organizations on developing policies to assist women through different programs. I want to be involved from the grassroots initiatives all the way to the top. I believe that I will add a lot of value to these organizations by using my MBA, career in investment banking, and network to assist in their strategic planning and success. I am eager to use my time and abilities to inspire everyone to strive for a better world.

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