Meet Warwick Business School’s MBA Class Of 2020

Julian Villalta

Warwick Business School

Endlessly curious and constantly questioning what we believe or accept as truth.” 

Hometown: San Jose, Costa Rica

Fun Fact About Yourself: In 2018, I volunteered to work with inmates from La Reforma, a prison in Costa Rica which was featured in Netflix’s docuseries “Inside the World’s Toughest Prisons.”

Undergraduate School and Major: Florida State University – Management Information Systems

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Equifax Inc. – Technical Project Manager

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Implementing Local Number Portability for a telecommunication client in Costa Rica. Costa Rica had only one mobile network provider but had recently opened the market for other competitors. Local Number Portability was a legislative initiative that allowed users to move from one mobile provider to another while maintaining the same number. As Technical Team Lead, I was tasked with leading the process. Part of my challenge was meeting the tight deadline we were given: a deadline that gave us significantly less time than the industry’s standard for implementing such a process. At the time, there was abundant media coverage in Costa Rica regarding this new process; thus, any delay or errors in our delivery would not only cause our client to incur fines but would also negatively affect its image country-wide. Under my lead, we delivered a well-designed implementation within a limited timeframe.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? It’s hard to say. Even though we are a relatively small cohort of 120 students, all of my classmates have distinct qualities. I would say that every single day as well as every conversation I have with one of my classmates I learn something new about them. Just recently, from conversations by the coffee machine, I learned that I have classmates who are musicians, photographers, entrepreneurs, hold two PhDs, and the list goes on. Every conversation we have is rich in knowledge, and a small chit-chat often turns into an enlightening conversation.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of the MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? Human behaviour has always fascinated me. WBS ties behavioural science into its MBA program through its many courses and workshops. The Leadership Plus module strongly focuses on understanding one’s own personality as well as the personalities of other people and how to interact with diverse personality types. There are also a number of electives students can take on this subject. I am especially interested in The Psychology of Investing. Of all the MBA programs I researched, none offered these types of unique topics.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? It is a given that all candidates who reach the interview stage are talented in many ways and have an impressive CV. Therefore, when I was asked how I could contribute to the cohort and to the school, I really had to think about which of my qualities sets me apart from the pack and which of my strengths are not easily replicated.

How did you determine which business schools best fit you? I am a firm believer in the importance of the role diverse cultures play in one’s personal and professional growth.  In my own experience, I was raised in a bicultural environment with a Costa Rican father and an American mother. My childhood was spent in Costa Rica and my high school and university studies in the United States. Later on in my life, I worked in both the public and private sectors in my country and spent ample time in Asia. When deciding on an MBA program, I knew I wanted to experience an unfamiliar culture. As a result, I sought out prestigious universities far from my home in Costa Rica. Prestige was an important factor because I believe that an academic institution offers more than just a degree; it’s a name and a network I will carry with me for the rest of my life.


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