“Tireless traveler who loves exploring new cuisines, works hard, and is constantly seeking adventure.”
Hometown: Bogotá, Colombia
Fun Fact About Yourself: My mom’s family immigrated from Lebanon, so I grew up with a mix of both Colombian and Lebanese traditions. I am still trying to figure out how to cook all the Lebanese delicious treats!
Undergraduate School and Major: Universidad de Los Andes, Industrial Engineering
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Accenture, Management Consultant
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I worked as a consultant to improve the reporting times of financial statements in a project for the largest financial group in Colombia. I was in charge of delivering the project to the holding company and one of the four banks of the group. After identifying short- and long-term initiatives to improve processes, technology, governance, people’s capacities, and internal structures, I presented over 60 efficiency initiatives to the CEO and the Innovation Committee responsible for the bank’s strategic programs. At the completion of the project, the client was so pleased with the results that it included all the initiatives in the strategic plan and contracted Accenture to assist with the implementation of the projects that were proposed.
What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? When I think about my classmates, several attributes come to mind: highly collaborative, intelligent, energetic, friendly, and fun. But I think the word that best describes them is supportive. At McDonough, I found a warm and reassuring network that has helped me transition smoothly into my new MBA life and a community that I am sure will accompany me throughout my life.
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? Among several factors, I think the most important one is Georgetown’s global business education focus and the Global Business Experience. I have always enjoyed traveling and learning from new cultures, and a business school that mixes this passion with business was instantly a good fit for me. In the past, I have had the opportunity to do business in countries different than mine. Those types of experiences open your mind and inevitably lead to personal growth. Moreover, I believe that the Global Business Experience provides the space to collaborate with classmates, professors, and companies, applying the concepts learned in the classroom in a real environment. This hands-on approach really appealed to me.
What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I am very excited about joining the Georgetown Women in Business club! I have always been passionate about opportunities that enable and empower women, and joining the club provides the possibility to help women develop in the workplace and the community. This year, the club is hosting Georgetown’s Graduate Women in Business Conference and I am looking forward to sharing my perspective with students, alumni, and business leaders from the Washington D.C. area.
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? After working for four years, I was eager to strengthen my management and leadership skills. Of course, the MBA experience is unique for every person, but I hope to focus my learning on developing and practicing those two skills in a safe environment to become a better manager in the future. Also, I wanted to expand my international experience and an MBA in a different setting and new country was the perfect opportunity to meet people from different parts of the world and learn from their very valuable experience. Overall, pursuing an MBA was an opportunity that would take me out of my comfort zone and would help me better direct my career.
How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? After researching and considering the commitment (financial, time, and otherwise) that an MBA would require, I concluded that it was worth the investment primarily because of potential career growth. Pursuing an MBA enhances skills that are crucial in the business environment and therefore generates credibility, leading to jobs with more responsibility and exposure. That type of advancement in my career was worth the investment.
However, I think that this experience should not be evaluated purely on financial terms. Growing my network, meeting interesting people with different backgrounds, learning from experienced teachers, and participating in challenging experiences were all aspects that supported my decision to take on this investment.
What other MBA programs did you apply to? MIT School of Management, Michigan Ross, Duke’s Fuqua School of Business
How did you determine your fit at various schools? To determine my fit with schools, I first listed the factors that were important to me: a collaborative culture, a top school, diversity, a high percentage of women, and a global focus. I first conducted in-depth research online, visiting the schools’ websites, MBA forums, blogs, and almost every website that provided insight. I had a lot of information so I decided to reach out to students, admission teams, and alumni to learn more about the programs. I also visited schools and that gave me a much clearer sense of where I wanted to be. I think that the most important aspect to determine your fit with a school is to speak with as many people as possible and to visit the school itself, as this will give you a sense of who and what will be surrounding you for two years. Another important aspect that I considered were the career potentials, so I looked for schools that had high placements in the industries and functions that were of interest to me.
What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? My defining moment occurred while I was searching for an internship in college. At the start of my university career, I was convinced that I wanted to become a trader for a bank, so I put all my effort into finding an opportunity in that field. After interviewing at two banks, one rejected me and the other offered me an internship for a period of one year (six months more than what was required at school). Since I did not want to postpone my graduation by six months, I rejected the bank’s offer and found a different opportunity in the financial planning department at another company. Soon after I accepted this offer, the bank that had offered me a one-year internship called again to renew the offer on my terms. Nevertheless, I rejected their proposal again.
Four years later, I have not regretted my choice for an instant. My decision changed my career path and directed me towards consulting, which is a job I greatly enjoyed. I believe I would be a completely different person had I accepted a job in investment banking.
What do you plan to do after you graduate? After graduation, I would like to join a company with a global reach where my work creates a positive impact. I am currently exploring opportunities both in consulting and strategy and would be delighted to work in either of these areas. Nonetheless, I am approaching these next two years with an open mind and I am eager to embrace any opportunities that come across my path.
Where do you see yourself in five years? In five years, I see myself working for a large corporation, ideally in a leadership position that challenges me every day both intellectually and personally. I would like to be managing people and contributing to their career advancement. Also, I hope to be working in problem-solving environments and in a job that requires strategy definition. Finally, my personal life is very important to me, so I hope that in five years I have established a family.