Meet INSEAD’s MBA Class Of 2020

Estefanía Merino

INSEAD

“Creative and problem solver. Product strategist focused on digital, customer-driven, and personal products and experiences.”

Hometown: Lima, Peru

Fun Fact About Yourself: I started painting when I was seven years old as my grandmother’s mentee. The first time I have ever participated in an art exhibition was when I was 16 years old, I represented my high school with a still life oil painting on canvas. My mom still has this oil painting in the living room back home.

Undergraduate School and Major:

  • Universidad del Pacifico, Bachelor in Business Administration (Lima, Peru)
  • Universidad ESAN, Master of Marketing (Lima, Peru)

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Scotiabank Peru, Product Owner Deposits & Insurance – Digital Banking

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I led an integrated and multifunctional team towards the launching of savings accounts through a digital channel in December 2017. Since the first year, our digital product has over accomplished its sales objectives and it has come to represent a very important percentage of the units sold throughout the Bank.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Fearless about challenges and excited for the new adventures to come.

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? It is an intensive and international program in more than one campus that will make me able to step up in my career and my network. I am looking forward to taking some electives courses such as Digital Transformation, Digital Disruption Strategies, and Fintech. That will enrich my knowledge and management skills in the digital sector, where I want to continue working after graduation.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I plan to join the Fintech Club, where I can contribute with my work experience as a Product Owner in Scotiabank’s Digital Banking as well as I can learn from experiences and initiatives from other countries. We can even gather a team to participate in the Product Games.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? Who inspired me the most during my life? It was a hard question for me because there were so many people and positive and negative experiences that have helped to shape who I am now. But I chose my parents because without my mother’s support and my father’s successful career as an example to my siblings and me. Without them, we would probably not be who we are right now, personally and professionally.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? After almost three years in Digital Banking and feeling too comfortable in my position, I realized it was time for the next challenge to advance in my career. To do so, I consider investing a year learning and improving my management skills. Therefore, I decided for an MBA at INSEAD where I can learn from experiences and points of view from all over the world.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? NA

How did you determine your fit at various schools? First, I looked for the class profile and program curricula. The fact that INSEAD was the most diverse one and had an accelerated 10-month program was key for my decision. I was also interested in taking several Digital elective courses – such as the ones INSEAD has- to help me grow in my career in the digital sector.

Moreover, I researched student clubs to understand the culture of each school. I got interested in INSEAD’s Fintech club in both Fontainebleau and Singapore, which enhances the international experience. Finally, I got a better understanding of the culture during the interviews. While my INSEAD alumni interviewers were telling me about their experience as students, I realized INSEAD was a perfect fit for me.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? In the ’90s, Peru was going through a rough period of economic crisis and terrorist crime. My father got a job in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. We lived there for almost two years, learned the language, and adapted to a different environment from home. This was my first international experience that started with my better understanding of the world.

Where do you see yourself in ten years? In ten years, I will be running my own company in Peru’s digital sector. I believe there are a lot of challenging opportunities available for the taking, as digital experiences and products focus on people’s needs are new for Peru. First, I want to gain as much experience as possible. After I finish the MBA program, I want to continue my career abroad where I could gain more management skills and learning experiences that would contribute to creating this company. I also want to contribute with my experience as a mentor to younger peers who are interested in a career in the digital field.

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