2019 Best & Brightest MBAs: Ximena Gonzalez Rojas, Georgetown University (McDonough)

Ximena Gonzalez Rojas

Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business

“I work daily to balance realism and optimism. Loyalty and family are above all else.”

Hometown: Brownsville, Texas

Fun fact about yourself: I made it on national television by catching a woman who fainted behind President Obama during a speech. My 5 milliseconds of fame.

Undergraduate School and Degree:

Bachelor of Arts in Government at the University of Texas at Austin

MBA Candidate at the Georgetown McDonough School of Business

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Chief of Staff for Presidential Personnel at The White House – Obama Administration

Where did you intern during the summer of 2018? Summer Associate, J.P. Morgan Asset & Wealth Management

Where will you be working after graduation? Associate, J.P. Morgan Asset & Wealth Management

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: 

  • Founding Board Member – [P.A.A.G.E] Private Assets, Alternatives, and Georgetown Enterprises
  • Co-Founder – Women’s Finance Network [Finance Club]
  • Co-Lead – Mexico Trek [Latin American Business Association]
  • Co-Lead – Colombia MBA Delegation

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am proud of the international treks that I co-led and participated in. These treks allow diverse groups of students to learn from business executives and public servants across the globe, outside of the classroom. It is Georgetown’s global presence come to life.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I am proud of the work my former colleagues and I did during the Obama Administration – from equal pay to healthcare. This work was led with integrity and served a purpose much bigger than ourselves.

What was your favorite MBA Course I have a special appreciation for Valuation taught by Professor Lee Pinkowitz. He is driven by an undeniable and immediately visible passion for his work. This course is highly technical and provides the fundamentals of valuing a company. Understanding these building blocks has allowed me to tackle complex financial concepts across other financial disciplines and prepared me for my post-MBA career.

Why did you choose this business school? I decided to attend Georgetown because of the people and the community, the school’s reputation for academic rigor, and its emphasis on developing leaders for the benefit of business & society. Also, it is located in D.C., a vibrant city where policy and business converge unlike anywhere else.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Do your due diligence – visit your priority schools and talk to current & former students to get a feel for the school. Each school has its own personality and culture. Find your right fit.

What is the biggest myth about your school? The biggest myth is that the MBA process is an individual experience.  There are countless channels of support for any of your pursuits or passions. The community at Georgetown has provided me with tutors for challenging classes, student organizations for my career goals, and life-long friends. If you are ever in need, just ask.

Think back two years ago. What is the one thing you wish you’d known before starting your MBA program? Your peers are the school’s greatest asset. I wish I took the time to meet more people earlier on.

MBA Alumni often describe business school as transformative. Looking back over the past two years, how has business school been transformative for you? It has completely altered my career trajectory. Business school has given me the tools to succeed in and outside the classroom.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Brittany Porter. She is a warrior wonder woman. She has had more roadblocks throughout her life than most people I have ever met but she keeps moving forward with grace, grit, and contagious optimism.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My brother, Adrian. Business school was always a part of our plan, and it was something that we wanted to do together. He tragically passed away in an accident the year we started the application process. My business school experience is for both of us.

What is your favorite movie about business? The Company Men. It is about doing the right thing, especially during hard times.

What was the goofiest MBA term or acronym you encountered – and what did it mean? I was in a finance class and everyone seemed to know what NOPLAT stands for and I was embarrassed because I had no idea. I asked the student next to me and he admitted he had no idea either. Now I know… Net Operating Profit Less Adjusted Taxes.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…on a quest for the 46th President of the United States.”

What dollar value would you place on your MBA education? Was it worth what you paid for it – worth more or worth less? Absolutely. The return on investment is unmatched.

What are the top two items on your bucket list? Hosting the Saxa cohort & Consortium fellows one last time in my home before graduation and having my family in D.C. before my husband and I move to NYC.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I hope they will remember me as passionate, hardworking, and willing to lend a hand.

Hobbies? If wine with friends were a hobby that would be top. Yoga, cycling, and learning (trying) to cook.

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

“Ximena Gonzalez Rojas grew up in Celaya, Guanajuato, Mexico and Brownsville, Texas. She joined the Obama Administration in 2010 as an Associate Director in former First Lady Michelle Obama’s office and later transitioned to be Chief of Staff for the Office of Presidential Personnel. During her time at the White House, Ximena worked on international delegations, Heads of State visits, recruiting for political appointments, and diversity and inclusion initiatives. It was at one of many high-powered meetings at the White House that Ximena had the insight that to be really effective in public service it is critical for public servants to be well-versed in business. She saw that government, policy, and business need to understand each other and work in concert to best serve society. As she puts it, “It was frustrating to see that public servants and business leaders were mostly speaking different languages and past each other, even though everyone in the room wanted to do good for all.” In addition, these formative interactions impressed upon her the value of a global, multi-cultural and multi-country perspective on all the issues that impact businesses and societies.

Ximena’s focus on public service in a connected, global world perfectly aligns with Georgetown’s values of developing principled global leaders for business and society. In the McDonough MBA program, she has successfully connected her policy and political background with private sector for the benefit of society. In more tangible terms, Ximena co-founded the Women’s Finance Network (WFN) on behalf of the Finance Club to support and advocate for women in the finance industry. The WFN has brought senior women leaders in the finance industry to campus and created a safe space for current female students to have an open and honest discussion about career planning, career transitions, professional preparation, mentorship, and other issues that have been laid bare in the “me-too” era. Ximena also is a founding board member of P.A.A.G.E (Private Assets, Alternatives, and Georgetown Enterprises), where all MBA students are provided the opportunity to receive a deep understanding into the study and practice of alternative investments. Ximena’s contributions to the McDonough community also have supported the school’s global business focus. She has co-led the annual student trek to Mexico City on behalf of the Latin American Business Association and is co-leading the upcoming student delegation to Bogota, Colombia.

On a more personal level, as a nine-year resident of D.C., Ximena’s home has famously become the default gathering place for the MBA Class of 2019, the Consortium Fellows (of which she is a member), and her Saxa cohort! Rumor has it that she hosted the largest party for her class at her home! But then, for someone who aspires to be the most effective public servant by marrying business acumen with policy understanding, being inclusive of all and forging connections between many, is simply second nature.”

Prashant Malaviya

Senior Associate Dean for MBA Programs



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