“A proud Navy veteran on a mission to serve, lead, and inspire.”
Hometown: Los Angeles, California
Fun fact about yourself: I was recruited as an extra on the tv show, The Last Ship, and waited on-site for 10 hours before the producer canceled the entire scene. However, I got a paycheck from Hollywood!
Undergraduate School and Degree: California Maritime Academy, Bachelor of Science, Marine Engineering Technology
Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? I was in Sydney, Australia, designing computer-simulated wargames and instructing missile defense for the Australian and U.S. Navy.
Where did you intern during the summer of 2019? A.T. Kearney as a Summer Associate in Dubai, UAE
Where will you be working after graduation? A.T. Kearney as an Associate in Dubai, UAE
Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:
- 1st Place, 2019 IESE MBA Capstone Project
- 1st Place, 2019 Hult Prize Competition (school level)
- First-Year Director, Business Communication Club
- Founder & Coach, IESE Toastmasters Club
- President, IESE Consulting Club 2019 – 2020
Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I co-founded a Toastmasters Club with my friend, Jesus Biquez, who is also passionate about public speaking education. As the club mentor, I coached the leadership team to organize club events and training sessions. Jesus Biquez, as the club president, set a positive example to take risks, make mistakes, learn, and grow further. Together, we created an environment where people push each other to confront their anxieties and develop communication skills. Many club members later shared how Toastmasters really improved their presentation skills and self-confidence.
What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? As a defense contractor, I designed and directed a 5-day computer-simulated wargame exercise to prepare the Australian Navy fleet of warships for strategic deployment in the Asia Pacific. I learned how to engage with senior leaders in the organization, lead workshops with subject matter experts, and negotiate training requirements with key stakeholders. But above all, it was a privilege to support the Australian military forces to improve their capabilities in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations, and high-end warfighting.
Who was your favorite MBA professor? Weiming Zhu, professor of Operations Management. Weiming’s teaching approach helped me to appreciate operations management, a subject that I was not particularly interested in at first. Every class was highly engaging and a lot of fun. Before exams, Weiming led additional review sessions (not part of the MBA scheduled classes) and stayed for as long as we needed help. Like many other professors at IESE, Weiming is inspiring and truly cares about our learning and professional growth.
What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? At the end of our 1st year MBA, we had a ‘capstone’ project where we worked on a real consulting project. The project was designed to consolidate all of our learning in core business subjects. My team designed a marketing strategy for one of the world’s largest sports apparel companies. I enjoyed this project because it was challenging, relevant, and I worked with great people: Claudia Rios, Gonzalo de Diego, Guilherme Andrade, Jumpei Nagasawa, Lionel de Bayser, Matthijs Knijnenburg, Rami Tabbah, and Heidi Tsan.
Why did you choose this business school? IESE has the best MBA program in the world that is highly international, primarily uses the case method approach, and emphasizes a culture of service:
- International perspective – Throughout the 1st year, I met with my team of 9 every day to review 3 cases and share learnings. My teammates are from Peru, Spain, Brazil, Japan, Germany, Netherlands, Jordan, and Taiwan. Our diverse backgrounds contributed to many disagreements on the case solution, but also provided invaluable different perspectives.
- Case method approach – In class, we take on the role of the case protagonist and share our perspectives and experiences in solving a business problem. This process enables us to learn from other people’s successes and failures to become more effective leaders.
- Culture of service – Student clubs are very active, from organizing treks abroad to organizing the largest student-run conference in Europe (Doing Good Doing Well Conference); IESE students, faculty, and staff commit countless hours to serve the community.
What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Meet with current students and alumni to ask about their experiences. If possible, visit IESE and attend a class to experience the case method in-person. If you can’t visit the campus, then attend an admissions event in your region, or cold-call through LinkedIn. Everyone that I reached out to was more than willing to speak on the phone and share their experiences. You’ll get a good sense of whether IESE is the right fit for you and, if you’ve decided to apply, it could help you craft stories for your application & interview.
Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I would meet with professors outside of class more often to follow up on a class session, get feedback on an idea, or learn more about a particular topic. During my 4th term, I enrolled in an “independent study project” on leadership and received mentorship from Professor Sebastian Reiche. I reviewed various leadership styles in different organizational settings and Sebastian provided invaluable feedback on how I could continue developing my leadership skills.
Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Sandeep Yella. Sandeep and I lead the consulting club together. I admire his vision, which has brought many positive changes to our club, and his dedication to our classmates, with countless hours spent on leading club initiatives and giving practice interviews. Sandeep has been a source of motivation, challenging me to better myself every day.
Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My Uncle. He is a first-generation American and successful entrepreneur who founded and led many small-to-medium size companies. After retirement, he continues to be involved in various charities in support of children in under-resourced communities and has recently enrolled in a Ph.D. program to further his learning and impact. My uncle convinced me of the advantages of attending a top international business school and working in management consulting to become a more effective entrepreneur.
What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? Start my own business and write a business case for IESE on my experience as an entrepreneur.
In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? Someone reliable, purpose-driven, and always willing to help.
Hobbies? Cooking BBQ with friends, watching YouTube (from news to science & technology to car reviews), and going on scenic walking tours with my wife.
What made Rene such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2020?
“Through his dedication, inspiration, and spirit of service, Rene has been a remarkable contributor to the IESE community through his demanding role as president of the Consulting Club. He has been committed to leading his peers of 44 VPs in running countless workshops and mentoring first-year students and the new MiM consulting club. Through his strong vision of the Consulting Club, he has inspired others to support fellow students and embolden them to contribute not only now but to future students as well. Accomplishing these with interest for others’ needs and expecting nothing in return, he has lived IESE’s value of “Spirit of Service” and well-deserves admiration.”
Associate Director – Consulting
Career Development Center
IESE Business School