2019 MBAs To Watch: Victoria Lopez, Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)

Victoria Lopez

Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business

Optimistic, conscientious, socially-minded, curious, friendly, perseverant.”

Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Pittsburgh, dual degree in Politics & Philosophy and History

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school?

  • Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence, Management Consultant
  • The Edie Company, Co-Founder

Where did you intern during the summer of 2018?  This past summer I was a Consulting & Execution Summer Associate at Pfizer in New York, NY.

Where will you be working after graduation? After graduation, I am excited to join Microsoft as a Customer Success Manager in New York, NY.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Graduate Business Association (student government), President
  • Consortium for Graduate Study in Management, Fellow
  • Forte Foundation, Fellow

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Leading the student government at Tepper this year was an incredible experience both personally and professionally. Specifically, I am incredibly proud of how our board navigated the challenges and opportunities that came with the transition to the new Tepper Quad, the new home of the business school. As a board, we wanted to continue to foster Tepper’s unique culture — mainly its small, tight-knit community — while opening the doors to the rest of the university and finding more ways to collaborate with our peers across campus. With the help of the administration, student club leaders, and other master’s programs, we have created an environment inside the business school that both meets the needs of business students while encouraging our peers to engage in common spaces.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Starting my first business is something that I will always be incredibly proud of doing. Prior to business school, I worked as a management consultant assisting local entrepreneurs. In that role, I learned a lot about starting and growing a business, which ultimately inspired me to start my own venture. Starting a business, in many ways, transformed my way of thinking because there is not always a clear path of where to begin and where to go next. It takes a great deal of discipline, a willingness to ask for help, and creative problem-solving. I appreciate the lessons that entrepreneurship has taught me, and I am glad that I have been able to share those experiences with my classmates who are also pursuing entrepreneurship.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? As a student enrolled in the entrepreneurship track, Professor Craig Markovitz has been a great instructor, resource, and mentor. I have been fortunate enough to have completed several of Craig’s courses, where I found his push to think theoretically as well as practically to be incredibly helpful. As a seasoned entrepreneur, Craig has also been a great resource outside of the classroom. Specifically, his willingness to help students navigate a career in entrepreneurship, whether it is by joining an existing start-up or starting their own venture, has been invaluable for students like myself.

What was your favorite MBA Course? The class that I most enjoyed at Tepper was Professor Brandy Aven’s Managing Networks and Organizations. The course offered me many practical insights into how to best navigate organizations and their respective structures, both at a high level to understand the organizational landscape but also at a personal level of how to foster meaningful professional relationships. The course was especially useful during my summer internship where I was working across different business units inside of a large company.

Why did you choose this business school? I chose Tepper because I wanted to challenge myself to develop new ways to thinking about business while in an environment that was collaborative and supportive. As an undergraduate, I was deeply immersed in the humanities, so Tepper offered a unique opportunity to balance my strong qualitative skills with analytical, quantitative reasoning. More importantly, I wanted to find a program that encouraged collaboration and peer-to-peer support to help me navigate the new challenges of business school. Tepper has exceeded my expectations in both respects.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? The best advice that I can offer is to think critically about the type of community that you would like to belong to and how you feel you can best contribute to that community. The Tepper School is a small program, which means that individual students have a tremendous opportunity to shape the culture of the school. It is important to highlight what makes you unique and what prior experience you can bring that will create a rich learning environment for you and your peers.

What is the biggest myth about your school? As a smaller program, there is always uncertainty around the strength of the alumni network for prospective students who are starting the application process. I have found our alumni network to be incredibly engaged, and I would highlight this engagement as one of the most surprising and best parts of the program. I have been fortunate enough to speak with alumni at the start of my business school journey when I was first considering different career paths, during my internship, and as I prepared to recruit in a new industry. Our alumni are eager to work with students and to offer their personal and professional advice. This is something that our students and community benefit from tremendously.

Think back two years ago. What is the one thing you wish you’d known before starting your MBA program? Perhaps not before starting the program, but when considering business schools, I think it is important to place an even stronger emphasis on leadership development. For me, my growth as a leader, both through my role on student government and through my work with the Accelerate Leadership Center, has been one of, if not the most, important aspects of my business school journey. Business school is a unique opportunity to try and fail, so being in a program that can offer the resources, practical learning, and support to grow as a leader is something that I would have emphasized even more when selecting a business school.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Kelly Mercer, the VP of the Graduate Business Association, is someone whom I greatly admire. I had the pleasure of working with Kelly on various initiatives throughout the past year, and her ability to navigate through organizations with a tremendous drive and a clear objective makes her especially effective. Moreover, Kelly is great support for her classmates both personally and professionally, and it is this balance that makes me admire and appreciate her as a friend and classmate.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? In my previous role, I worked closely with Jessica Sinclair, the director of an innovative center that helps to bring new technologies, products, and services to the marketplace. Jessica was a great mentor throughout my decision and application process. In our conversations, she offered valuable insight into how a business degree could help women working in entrepreneurship, and how to best leverage the theoretical and practical aspects of a business degree. Her encouragement and advice helped me to put my best self forward and ultimately make one of the best decisions of my career.

What is your favorite movie about business? The Big Short, Adam McKay’s film about the 2007-2008 financial crisis, is a movie that I have seen many times and will continue to watch every few years. For me, any movie that can teach or remind us of the implications of certain disciplines or professions in a way that can be digested by a mass audience is one that I will watch and recommend to others.

If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…a journalist.”

What dollar value would you place on your MBA education? Was it worth what you paid for it – worth more or worth less? I think the Tepper MBA is fairly priced for the value that students can derive from their degree, both during their time here and after leaving the program. The curriculum is thoughtfully designed to prepare students with the necessary skills that they will need to be successful in the workforce. Moreover, the resources available through the Master’s Career Center and the Accelerate Leadership Center ensure student success in recruiting for highly sought after jobs and well as student preparedness to excel in the workplace.

What are the top two items on your bucket list?

Short-term: Although I was born in Mexico and lived there until I was seven, I have never been to Mexico City, so I would really like to travel there within the next year.

Long-term: After leaving the world of business, I would like to own a ranch or farm somewhere in Latin America.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? As a passionate and dedicated classmate who was always willing to help others.

Hobbies? Reading, traveling, designing, and running.

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

“Victoria has brought a very unique perspective to the classroom, student organizations, and the overall community. She has the rare ability to connect with folks regardless of background, interests, and goals. She is passionate about a number of issues and has been able to rally fellow students, professors and the community based on her intelligence, impact, and enthusiasm. For example, she has plans to jump into the corporate world post-graduation but is devoting significant time and energy to a startup idea that is showing real promise. When we were kicking off the projects in class, one of her colleagues was having a difficult time deciding on a project and path. Victoria stepped up, offered to bring the student into her team and provided coaching, direction, and advice to ensure the project (and this particular student) was successful.

Victoria has been a visible member of the Tepper community providing her time and expertise to a variety of initiatives, ranging from student clubs to treks to projects such as the new Tepper Quad building, and research efforts related to inclusion and equality. During my time at Tepper, I have had the good fortune to work with many talented, ambitious and personable students. The impact that Victoria has made during her time here was remarkable. Her ability to inspire and lead coupled with a strong work ethic have benefited our community and her impact will be felt long after she graduates.”

Craig Markovitz
Entrepreneur in Residence
Assistant Teaching Professor of Entrepreneurship
Tepper School of Business

Are you a friend of Victoria? Leave a comment to congratulate her.