Meet the MBA Class of 2021: The Go-Getters

Gabriel Samanez

Washington University, Olin Business School

“A guy with a multicultural background, exposed to international perspectives, growing up in a developing economy.”

Hometown: Lima, Perú

Fun Fact About Yourself: I love the beach more than the mountains and the ocean is my safe heaven.

Undergraduate School and Major:

Universidad de Lima, Industrial Engineering

Washington University, Master in Business Administration

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Stigmergy Mining SAC, Operations Manager

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I founded the first crypto mining company in Peru. From the critical decision-making regarding equipment selection to negotiating with third-party service providers to the vast amount of unfamiliar technical knowledge I had to become acquainted with, this has been without a doubt the most challenging project I have ever been involved. It has taught me to be resourceful and to persevere despite any difficulties that may arise. Also, it has been a gratifying experience not just because I created a successful company, but also because my family and friends have showered me with support and encouragement every step of the way. This project has demonstrated to me that I can face any challenge head-on. With the support of those around me, I will succeed.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Even though we are a very diverse cohort with people from all over the world, diversity is not the best word to describe my classmates. It would be the collaborative nature and constant support that people has demonstrated. This is easily exemplified during the first weeks in St. Louis where things were very dynamic, even more for international students. That’s because we had to organize ourselves for the summer immersion program and for August when we came back. During this time, even with very few days after getting to know each other, people were offering help and support.

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? I have a clear goal of becoming an agricultural leader in the future, so I think the location of Washington University is a beneficial factor for me. Almost 53% of graduates stay around the Midwest for a post-MBA work and I thought about taking advantage of that fact. Thus, I targeted the Midwest for my professional development because of the great opportunities it offers for the industry I want to participate in.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? Jewish Business Student Association, Finance Club, and Supply Chain and Operations Association.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? “What changes in your industry have you seen in your time?”

Even though this is not a particularly difficult question, I was not prepared for it. I got the feeling that this is a gauge to tell if someone is being 100% truthful. I am pleased that I was able to answer properly because I was very immersed in my job and I am sure that was visible in my response.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I had worked under the supervision of people with MBA degrees and some others who did not have it and the difference was dramatic. People with graduate experience motivated their employees, helped them grow as professionals, and pushed them to achieve more and better-quality work: I wanted that for me. Furthermore, I had acquired significantly good operational experience, both professionally and academically. However, I felt the need to broaden my engineering perspective and develop some of that leadership and business viewpoint, which would let me scale in my career. Finally, the timing was very appropriate because I had the time to retrieve from professional activities and invest in me for the following two years.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? I applied to Babson, Ohio State, and Purdue.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? I went through a thorough and tedious process with a clean approach that resulted in several choices that best fit me and my career goals.

Global experience, entrepreneurial mindset, corporate associations, school class size, and location are the factors I prioritized to determine my alternatives. Then, I went through each school’s website to get to know them. Also, I visited, internet rankings, and job placement reports. Finally, when I narrowed down my choices, I went to alumni, friends, forums, and visits to schools to get a final feeling of the school.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? In 2012, I had a life-changing experience that made me reevaluate my future. A group of six friends and I undertook the initiative of launching a social aid campaign for the Andean province of Puno, Peru to combat the extremely cold temperatures. The desire to start this campaign was born during a trip to the city of Puno where we felt the urge to stop being bystanders and take real action – immediately too. We foresaw not only helping people of the highlands but also inspiring and motivating others to help, increasing our impact throughout the country. In the end, the campaign was a great success that surpassed even our best expectations. Our message reached tens of thousands of people across social networks and millions more via interviews in top radio and television programs.

For me, this experience revealed the power that resilience has to always keep our heads high no matter the circumstances. The people we met were an unparalleled example of courage and hope in the face of adversity.

Where do you see yourself in ten years? I picture myself as an entrepreneurial agricultural leader in South America with an efficient international operation, state-of-the-art technology on the fields, and leading the development of the eastern part of Peru (jungle) where I see so much potential not being utilized.

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