2019 MBAs To Watch: Rubiani Guardamino Baskovich, University of Michigan (Ross)

Rubiani Guardamino Baskovich

University of Michigan, Ross School of Business

A patient, enthusiastic and driven leader who is always willing to help.”

Hometown: Lima, Peru

Fun fact about yourself: I became a university professor when I was 23 years-old and half of my students were around my age.

Undergraduate School and Degree:

  • Universidad Nacional de Ingeniería: Systems Engineering
  • ESAN, Escuela Superior de Administración de Negocios: Master in Finance

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? I was a Financial Control Manager at Interbank, one of the top 4 banks in Peru, where I oversaw the bank’s profitability and market positioning. My biggest project was leading the bank’s 3-year strategic planning process in 2016.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2018? Summer Associate at Bain & Company, Chicago Office.

Where will you be working after graduation? Consultant at Bain & Company, Chicago Office.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • President, Business Analytics Club: Club dedicated to preparing Ross MBA students to be competitive in a data-driven environment by providing training and awareness of the latest trends and applications in business.
  • Co-Chair, Leader Experience Program (LDRx) at Sanger Institute: LDRx is a student-led community that facilitates reflections on leadership experiences and personal growth throughout and beyond the MBA.
  • Functional Accountability Career Teams (FACT) Group Leader & Peer Coach: Guiding first-year MBAs through the recruiting process via workshops, one-on-one meetings, and a tailored industry-specific curriculum.
  • Student Ambassador & Interviewer: As a student ambassador, I assist the Admissions Team by being a touchpoint for prospective students and conducting interviews with candidates.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Although I led teams as a finance manager in Peru, I had a chance to challenge myself in entirely new ways at Ross. At the Sanger Leadership Institute, I was part of the leadership team that revamped the LDRx program and was selected to be a member of the Ross Leaders Academy. In both of these experiences, I learned about different leadership styles as well as the value of reflecting on my past experiences, my MBA journey, and my post-MBA life purpose. While these programs taught me critical lessons about leadership, I had the perfect opportunity to put them into practice as an MBA Peer Coach in my second year. Leading eight MBA 1 students through the recruiting process required me to actively listen, read the room, show empathy, be a positive source, and communicate effectively to motivate people to be their best even in incredibly stressful circumstances. After four months as a peer coach, I experienced the joy of helping these students achieve their professional goals but also I was able to become a more effective and flexible leader through applying the insights I gained through the Sanger Leadership Center.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I worked for over six years at my last company (Interbank) and I worked on many impactful projects, but I’m most proud of receiving the Innovation and Service Award for the design of new products and operational improvements. All the vice presidents of the company voted on who they felt showed the most enthusiasm and collaborative spirit for innovation at the company. I was ecstatic to be recognized for qualities I’m personally proud of bringing to work: my collaborative, open-minded, and progressive spirit. Furthermore, my award brought recognition to the Finance department as a strong strategic partner in new initiatives at the bank.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Ryan Ball, Assistant Professor of Accounting. Prof. Ball taught me “Corporate Financial Reporting.” From the first day, he challenged the notion that accounting is a boring subject. His teaching method elevated accounting from a field about rules and procedures, to a field about strategy. In every class, Prof. Ball introduced a new concept and used current industry examples to demonstrate how to apply this concept to analyzing real-world corporate strategy. Furthermore, Prof. Ball was able to explain why companies applied different accounting strategies given their economic situation, growth strategy, and business life cycle stage, which made me realize how insightful accounting statements were. His teaching methodology kept everyone engaged 100% of the time. At the same time, he deeply cared that we learned. To ensure that, he assigned us new business cases to cement all the concepts we learned in lecture. We learned that accounting was challenging, important, and not boring at all. Personally, after taking classes with Prof. Ball, I learned not only about accounting, but also gleaned tips on how to be a better professor.

What was your favorite MBA Course? My favorite class was Corporate Financial Policy, taught by Professor Amiyatosh Purnanandam. Coming from a finance background with over 8 years of experience, I thought my finance classes were going to be a review of familiar concepts, but I was wrong. Prof. Purnanandam imparted finance principles through real-world business cases. Instead of just applying formulas systematically, he taught me an invaluable lesson: “Before using any financial framework or formula you need to understand the business context.” Simple as it sounds, in a world in which we work for results and efficiency, this insight allowed me to reflect on being more strategic and less operational. This principle allowed me to succeed in my recruiting process and my summer internship.

Why did you choose this business school? When I applied to business school, I planned to transition to more strategic roles within the field of corporate finance. To that end, I chose Ross for three main reasons:

1) Academics: Ross’s curriculum was comprehensive but also diverse. I knew that I would be exposed to core concepts of business, but also to new industries and fields of study, such as healthcare, marketing, and data analytics.

2) Experiential Learning: The Multidisciplinary Action Project (MAP) experience was a unique opportunity where I had a chance to apply what I learned and hone my skills as a future strategist.

3) Supportive Community: I knew I would be most successful in a community that would push me to be better, but that was also open to teaching and sharing their experiences with me. When I visited Ann Arbor for the Go Blue Rendezvous (GBR) weekend, I found that the Ross community was everything that I was looking for and more: MBA1s and MBA2s never stopped sharing stories about how different students helped them through the MBA journey (academics, recruiting, MAP, among others) and how all of them were involved in many opportunities to give back to the Ross community.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Get to know as much as you can about Ross! As an applicant, I prioritized trying to figure out what the university was looking for in a candidate, instead of focusing on finding the right resources and community for me. The more you understand the vast opportunities at Ross, the more you will see that our school has resources for everyone’s journey. Ross is not just MAP, it’s also the academics, the Sanger Leadership Institute, the supportive community, the amazing entrepreneurship center (Zell Lurie Institute), and much more!

What is the biggest myth about your school? I think the biggest myth about my school is that Ross program is all about experiential learning and nothing else. However, there are so many opportunities. Not only can we take classes outside of Ross from top tier departments at the University of Michigan, but we can also find a huge range of concentrations and programs within Ross to explore all of our interests. We have the Tauber Operations Program, the Data and Business Analytics Concentration, Healthcare Concentration and the Fast Track in Finance, among others. I have been able to do both the Fast Track in Finance and the Data and Business Analytics Concentration – and I personally feel more confident for my next career move.

Think back two years ago. What is the one thing you wish you’d known before starting your MBA program? Looking back, I wish I had known that I had a whole second year to participate in all the extracurricular activities I saw happening in my first year. As a first year, almost all my time was invested in academics and recruiting and I barely had time to participate in clubs, institutes, and activities. I was often overwhelmed by the tradeoffs I had to make between my social and professional life. However, now in my second year, I’ve been able to take advantage of all the opportunities Ross offers, such as taking classes outside of my concentration, leading clubs I am passionate about, being enrolled in leadership programs, and trying all the exquisite restaurants in Ann Arbor.

MBA Alumni often describe business school as transformative. Looking back over the past two years, how has business school been transformative for you? Before coming to Ross, I characterized myself as a very analytical and patient person who was focused on following a clear career path in corporate finance. However, Ross opened my eyes not only to new career opportunities but also to the importance of reflection and doubt in designing my future career path. Introspecting on my experiences, I realized that I enjoyed working on projects with high impact, ones that involved a lot of analysis in dynamic environments. Based on this, consulting was a better career for me. Ross prepared me well for this career pivot. Professionally, I have become a more capable business strategist through the Ross core curriculum, while also having multiple opportunities to put in practice all this knowledge through consulting projects like MAP. Learning how to navigate dynamic projects and deal with team conflicts was essential for success in my internship. Personally, I gained resilience and practiced self-reflection on my decisions through Ross’s leadership programs. These soft skills were fundamental to surviving recruiting highs and lows. Now that I am about to finish this experience, I consider myself a more passionate leader with a more open mind to risks and new opportunities.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? It’s hard for me to decide between two extraordinary classmates: Esther Lo and Charlene Hsiao. Esther has a social work background and I admire how she came to Ross to challenge herself. She has taken many opportunities to grow her mindset from enrolling in finance and marketing classes to participating in the Social Venture Fund and the Healthcare Club, and traveling to Israel to learn about entrepreneurship. In addition, Esther is one of the kindest and most compassionate people I have ever met; she is always willing to push you to get the best out of you. Charlene moved to China just after graduation and worked there in an education startup for over three years. She is now doing the MBA while at the same time pursuing a master’s in health informatics at the School of Information. I am completely astonished at how she balances to be involved in many academic activities and how she is able to incorporate all of her background skills into such new opportunities. Furthermore, she is so analytical and well-structured that every time I work with her, she challenges me to be the best communicator I can in order to get a message across in the best way.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My parents (Ruben & Ruth) and my fiancé (Eduardo Mercado). Since I was a kid, I participated in national math contests and my parents helped to get through the ups-and-downs of the outcomes. My entire life, they’ve pushed me to pursue my goals and persist in my dreams but were always insistent that I maintain a good balance between my studies and social life. My dad was always confident that I could do more and do better, while my mom constantly reminded me to cherish the process of achieving my goals. Over the last 12 years, my fiancé has been my biggest supporter. He has always been there in my ups-and-downs to remind me of my strengths and of everything we have achieved. Although I hesitated in applying to business school after I was rejected the year before, their positivity and belief in me helped me to overcome the obstacles and reach my goals.

What is your favorite movie about business? My favorite movie about business is The Intern. It’s not only because I love Anne Hathaway, but also because it shows the overwhelming hurdles of being an entrepreneur. My biggest takeaway is that having passion for what you do is essential to success. Just as importantly, not everything meaningful in life is related to your career. Having the right balance between a personal and professional life is essential.

What was the goofiest MBA term or acronym you encountered – and what did it mean? It’s not a term per se, but it’s so hard to say it that I think it’s hilarious: Inimitability. Honestly, it would have been easier to stick with “unique”.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…pursuing a Ph.D. in Finance to be a full-time university professor … or a professional dancer.”

What dollar value would you place on your MBA education? Was it worth what you paid for it – worth more or worth less? Given my background, I would say that to estimate the monetary value of my MBA, I will need to use a present-value financial formula. However, I am 100% sure that the true value would be more than what I paid for it. Ross started me on a new career path with the business acumen and soft skills to feel confident in my new role. Also, it enabled me to broaden my horizons through the following: living in Canada for 6 weeks and learning about the insurance industry through my MAP project, cultural exchanges with Chinese students through the Global Immersion Program in Beijing, and sharing personal growth moments with undergrad students and students at the School of Public Health in Ross Leaders Academy. Furthermore, the MBA has given me friends for life to help me thrive even after this 2-year journey concludes.

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

  • Visit Europe for a month, including Croatia, where my grandfather born.
  • Have a child and a pair of dogs (French bull-dog and a Cocker Spaniel)

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? As someone who is honest, patient, optimistic and who wants to empower people to be their best.

Hobbies? Reading, watching movies, trying new restaurants and traveling with my fiancé!

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

“Rubiani has been a tremendously impactful member the Ross MBA class of 2019. On the one hand, from the outset of his experience at Ross, he has modeled the courage to go beneath the surface of the typical MBA experience. He has fostered genuine, supportive relationships with his classmates. He has pushed himself to exert the time and energy that’s required to develop his own self-awareness and leadership capabilities. He has embraced the MBA as an opportunity to not only find the next step on his career path, but to challenge himself, learn, and grow. His approach influences others in a big way. On the other hand, he has been a leader on campus, helping his classmates embrace the same mentality. As co-chair of our LeaderX learning community, he created a year-long journey that helped his peers take the same courageous steps to get beneath the surface, build genuine relationships, and support each other in their leadership development and personal growth. For these and other reasons, Rubiani earned a spot in our Ross Leaders Academy, which is a highly selective program created for our most committed and impactful leaders. We look forward to seeing his impact grow in the coming years.”

Brian Flanagan
Managing Director, Sanger Leadership Center

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