2019 Best & Brightest MBAs: Nicolas Ramos, University of Florida (Warrington)

Nicolas Ramos

University of Florida, Warrington College of Business

“I am a cognitive scientist turned marketer who loves the art and science of business.”

Hometown: Miami, Florida

Fun fact about yourself: I love roller coasters since I grew up just a few hours away from Disney World and Universal Studios. It’s a major bucket list item for me to hit all the major theme parks (and their respective roller coasters) in the United States, like Six Flags, Cedar Point, and Knott’s Berry Farm.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Cornell University, B.A. in Psychology (2015)

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? I worked in a cognitive neuroscience laboratory at the University of Miami as a Research Associate.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2018? I was a Brand Marketing Intern at The Coca-Cola Company in Atlanta, Georgia.

Where will you be working after graduation? I’m very excited to be working for The Coca-Cola Company as an Associate Brand Manager after graduation.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: I am currently the President of the MBA Association, which is the governing body for the full-time MBA student body. I am also a Career Mentor for UF Graduate Business Career Services, where I help students with resumes, mock interviews, and general career search strategy.

Last year, I was President of the Hispanic Business Students Association, Vice President of the Marketing Club, and Community Outreach Chair for the MBA Association. I was also the Director of Marketing and Digital Strategy for Gator MBA Gear, a student-run business selling UF MBA-branded apparel and merchandise.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am most proud of my work as the Community Outreach Chair for the MBA Association. Over the school year, the UF MBA program was able to give back to the community through several service events, including a Thanksgiving food drive, Toys-for-Tots holiday toy drive, and regular monthly road clean-ups in partnership with Keep Alachua County Beautiful.

The most personally impactful activity we did, however, was our partnership with the Winn Dixie Hope Lodge. In the Spring of 2018, UF MBA hosted two bingo nights at the Hope Lodge, providing some moments of levity to the cancer patients living there while they sought treatment. Students from all cohorts in the program made generous donations to sponsor the events with prizes. Not only were the bingo nights fun, but we were able to spend time with some of the most interesting, dynamic, and brave people I had ever met.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I am most proud of the recommendations I provided to the Coca-Cola company at the end of my internship. As a scientist transitioning into a marketing career, I knew that I would need to prove my value to a marketing company as iconic as Coke. I spent my summer internship learning as much as I could about all aspects of the business, including consumer insights, customer marketing, and research and design. I was able to identify areas of opportunity for the Sprite Zero brand and present a strategic recommendation to dozens of brand marketers and Vice Presidents. I am proud of how I was able to transfer my analytical skills from the lab into the world of brand management, ultimately landing me a job at one of my favorite companies in the world.

What was your favorite MBA Course? My favorite MBA course was Organizational Staffing, taught by Dr. Brian Swider. The biggest insight I gained from this course was the amount of value that people bring to an organization, and the immense return on investment firms can get by putting their people first. In business, we are trained to focus on numbers and develop strategies to ensure that we meet our numbers. When I took Organizational Staffing, I realized the importance of human capital in this endeavor, and how an organization’s people are fundamental to the organization’s long-term success. By understanding the best ways to recruit, train, and retain talent, firms can build the best possible teams to face the complex challenges of today’s business world.

Why did you choose this business school? I chose the UF MBA program because of its unparalleled return on investment. As a career switcher, it was important for me to pick a business school that would transform my career without significantly disrupting my life. When I learned about the UF MBA program, I was impressed by the strong career placement statistics. Then, when I was accepted, I learned about the scholarship that would fund my education. Pursuing an MBA today often comes with hefty costs, so the fact that I would be able to fund my MBA with a scholarship was unexpected and incredible news. Because of the generosity of the UF MBA program, I landed my dream job with minimal loan debt and I am in the best possible position to start my new career.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? The best advice I can give an applicant to the UF MBA program is to know your strengths. Many people think they might not be a good fit for an MBA because their experience is from a non-business background or they think it’s too late to make a career change. If you know your strengths well, you will be able to convey your potential in the interview and show the admissions committee that you have what it takes to succeed in this program. The UF MBA program values potential, so be sure to let it show!

Think back two years ago. What is the one thing you wish you’d known before starting your MBA program? Before starting the MBA program, I wish I had known how much support I would get in the program, both from the administration and my peers. I entered business school intimidated by the competitive job search process and unsure how I would do in this new environment. However, as we went through orientation and started classes, I realized that I had a wonderful network of support from everyone in the UF MBA program. The culture in our program is about helping each other succeed and encouraging each other to do our best. If I had known about this level of support beforehand, I would have been much less worried at the start of business school.

MBA Alumni often describe business school as transformative. Looking back over the past two years, how has business school been transformative for you? Business school has completely transformed my confidence in myself. Through my experience in this program, I have learned to trust in my potential and welcome opportunities as they come. The UF MBA program has empowered me to take my career wherever I want it to go, and I am very grateful for the level of agency, freedom, and confidence that this program has fostered within me.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I admire my friend and classmate, Charlie Kidd. Charlie is one of the brightest minds in our program who always has insightful things to say in class wo makes me think about the material on a deeper level. Charlie is also generous; as the leader of our career mentorship team, he has helped hundreds of students over the year with their career searches. He is always willing to lend a helping hand to a student in need and his leadership sets a great example for MBA students in our program.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My father most influenced my decision to pursue business. Ever since I was a kid my father would try to teach me about business principles. I remember being an 8-year-old child on a road trip and learning about the distinction between assets and liabilities. He always tried to get me to study business as an undergraduate, but I wanted to pursue my research career instead. Lo and behold, when it came time for me to pivot careers, I ended up studying what he encouraged me to do all along. As an MBA himself, he showed my brother and me how an education in business could change your life for the better.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…a cognitive neuroscience researcher. My undergraduate education and work experience were both aligned to the goal of entering a Ph.D. program and becoming a tenure-track faculty member at a university. I have always loved science and research, and even now in my MBA program I love to read about cutting edge studies in business and psychology.”

What dollar value would you place on your MBA education? Was it worth what you paid for it – worth more or worth less? I honestly cannot place a dollar value on my MBA education. If I had to, I could use the amount of my scholarship or the salary for my new job, but neither would be sufficient to capture the amount of value I have received from this program. Not only has my career trajectory been transformed, but I have gained mentors and lifelong friends through this process. My experience has been priceless.

What are the top two items on your bucket list? I would love to visit every Disney theme park in the world. Being a Florida native, I’ve already visited Disney World, but I’d love to visit California, Paris, and Asia to see the other parks.

Another significant item on my bucket list is to visit Antarctica. I recently went to Iceland this past winter and, as a Miami native, I was shocked at how rugged and beautiful the icy terrain was. I would love to take it a step further and travel to Antarctica, especially if there are any penguins to see.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I want to be remembered as an ambitious student and leader who gives back and helps everyone become the best they can be.

Hobbies? In my free time, I love to hang out with my friends, whether it is playing trivia at a bar or playing board games in a living room. I also enjoy cooking (lasagna is my specialty) and spending time with my dog, Phil.

What made Nicolas Ramos such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2019?

Nicolas Ramos is a second-year MBA student and President of the UF MBA Association (MBAA). In addition to maintaining his courseload, he oversees 3 organizations – 17 clubs under the MBAA umbrella who are actively planning programming, the MBA Ambassadors who help recruit, attract and retain future UF MBAs, and Gator MBA Gear, a student-run non-profit business that sells UF MBA apparel and merchandise. Nick’s greatest asset is that he understands people, and his ability to bring new voices into a conversation is unrivaled among his peers. Whether working with student leaders and organizations or providing peer-to-peer career coaching, Nick wants to bring together as many people as possible.

As president, he is often called upon when there is an issue that needs to be solved. Deploying his background and understanding of psychology, he is able to understand the context and offer guidance to provide maximum support for the MBAA clubs and organizations. The best example of this was his deft resolution of an interdisciplinary charity social event gone wrong, in which he negotiated an outcome that maintained the goals of the event and preserved the relationships between the MBA students involved, the law student hosts, and the charity. He consistently ensures other viewpoints are heard and his efforts have enriched the MBA experience for our students. Nicholas’ dedication to inclusion was evident when he coordinated a kick-off involvement fair to fill leadership roles for the clubs. He not only implemented an application process and timeline for filling these roles, but he also worked with students to make sure they had an opportunity to get involved in a way that strengthened them.

Nick’s leadership was not limited to his presidential responsibilities. According to Jason Rife, Director of Graduate Business Career Services, he also did a spectacular job coaching his classmates who were interviewing for brand management roles by planning and leading a workshop on marketing interviews for the new students, sharing lessons learned from his internship experience with Coca-Cola. Through this workshop and individual coaching, Nick was able to support first-year UF MBA students in securing marketing offers with companies including Kellogg, EJ Galo, SC Johnson, Hershey, Pepsi, Verizon, Nestle, and Johnson & Johnson.

Nicholas was successfully able to transfer his analytical skills from the world of psychology into the world of brand management. He interned at The Coca-Cola Company last summer as a Brand Marketing Intern. He will be returning to Coca-Cola full time as an Associate Brand Manager.”

John Gresley
Assistant Dean and Director UF MBA

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