2020 Best & Brightest MBAs: Carmen Elena Ferreyra Palomino, Ohio State (Fisher)

Carmen Elena Ferreyra Palomino

The Ohio State University, Fisher College of Business

“A proud Latina Peruvian; a reliable, curious, hardworking, service-oriented leader, and business professional.”

Hometown:  Lima, Peru

Fun fact about yourself: When I arrived at OSU, I started walking around campus just like any other student. I soon realized that everywhere I went, people were saying my name during a conversation. I looked around to see if they were referring to me, or I knew them from before (you never know!). I thought it was very unusual — my name is not so common in the USA. Then I realized that the official intranet at OSU is called “Carmen,” just like my name!

Undergraduate school and degree: Pontificia Universidad Catolica del Peru (PUCP), Bachelor of Science

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Before coming to Fisher College of Business, I was Customer Retention & Service Attention Manager at AUNA Group, one of the main insurance and healthcare groups in South America. It was a big challenge because most of my prior experience was in the banking industry. It was also a great opportunity because, for the first time, I led a team and operation of 100+ persons. I not only learned about the industry but also expanded my knowledge of implementing marketing analytics tools to meet customer needs. That experience – and successful results we achieved – couldn’t have been possible without the support of the teams I oversaw at that time.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2019? I interned at Nationwide Insurance in Columbus, Ohio, in the Marketing Analytics Department.

Where will you be working after graduation? I will work in a commercial program at Microsoft. After my previous experiences in business analytics, customer strategy, and marketing departments, this opportunity at Microsoft will allow me to learn about the industry and strengthen my strategic and analytical thinking. It will also allow me to diversify and consolidate my soft skills, such as leadership, teamwork, and communication.

Community work and leadership roles in business school:

  • Vice President, Fisher Graduate Finance Association
  • Vice President, Fisher Graduate Women in Business
  • Vice President, Fisher Graduate Latino Association
  • Director of Training & Treasurer, Fisher Board Fellows
  • Board Fellow, Central Community House
  • Graduate Assistant, Nationwide Center for Advanced Customer Insights
  • Volunteer intern at Startup, OYE Business Intelligence
  • Teacher Assistant of Strategy courses, OSU

Additionally, I had the opportunity to provide guidance and support to international graduate students at OSU.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? I am very proud to have served the community through different leadership roles in Fisher College of Business associations. In these roles, I had the responsibility of providing career development tools for fellow students. These included workshops focused on developing soft skills, events with the chief and manager keynote speakers, interview preparation sessions, and networking events with target companies and alumni. These programs and workshops reached more than 50% of graduate students. Seeing the positive impact my work made on people’s lives is one of the most satisfying benefits I experienced at Fisher.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? When I was working as a senior executive in banking, I designed and implemented a complete cross-sell strategy across different channels and segments based on analysis of customer acquisition behavior. This initiative helped the company increase the cross-sales by 150%, the margin per customer by 20%, and decrease customer churn by 25%, increasing profits from the new cross-sell customer base. The initiative and its results were presented to different committees in the company, including meetings with the C-Suite, and allowed me to receive a promotion supported by my boss, Juan Pablo Quiñones, and one of the executive vice presidents, Monica Garcia Junco.

I’m very proud of this accomplishment because it gave me complete exposure to different areas and business processes in the bank, and allowed me to perform different roles at the same time. I played an analytical role to find patterns and analyze the results; a creative role to define the value proposition for each combination/package of products; a sales role to pitch the idea to different sponsors; and a team-leader role to work with very qualified professionals from different backgrounds and areas to make this initiative a reality.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? I have interacted with many smart and qualified professors. For me, a great professor is someone that not only gives a great lecture but also cares about what I am learning and tries to provide support in and out of class. In that sense, my favorite professor is John Gray, who teaches Global Sourcing. I enjoyed his classes because he not only presents the concepts but also combines the concepts with new market trends. He brings relevant speakers and guides us during applied projects to complement and consolidate our knowledge during the course. In my case, I had the opportunity to have a hands-on project at Vertiv to identify opportunities in its supplier’s management, allowing me to use the concepts that I learned from his class.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? I enjoyed participating in the annual cultural events. It’s awesome to have a space in which you can do other things in addition to academic and daily professional activities. In one of the events, I performed Indian choreographies for five minutes! I had never done this before, but a group of women from the Human Resources Master program volunteered to help me and three others volunteered to dance. We practiced for many hours per week and had a lot of fun.

Why did you choose this business school? When I decided to apply abroad, I was looking for schools that would bring diversified options in the curriculum, significant financial support to international students, and robust alumni networking. Fisher was on my list because it has a small program with diversified specializations and associations. It was giving financial support to international students and it was under the umbrella of one of the biggest schools in the USA. After receiving the acceptance from Fisher and other schools, I believed Fisher offered the best combination of these aspects.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? I would tell them to connect with alumni and ask questions. Also, I would tell them that I enjoyed the program because of the community in the MBA program and because of the variety of tools and opportunities that the school provides. I considered both unique in comparison to other schools.

What is the biggest myth about your school? I didn’t hear a big myth about the school before arriving. However, there is an association between OSU and Buckeye football, something that is true. Here, people love and live for football. However, this passion brings people together in our school. This was something that in some way impressed me and reminded me of the family culture from home.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? While I had the opportunity to participate in different case competitions and hands-on learning projects, I think that I could do even more of that. They are very valuable as opportunities to apply and validate what you have been learning in the classes.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I feel very fortunate to have met awesome and unique professionals during my MBA. Each of them made the classes and my experience special and unique. If I must mention just one, it would be Isaac Reynolds. From the beginning of the program, he was not only very smart but also very empathetic and influential — characteristics that describe a good leader. Also, he is truly a positive influence and respects all people regardless of sex or cultural background. I am very proud to call Isaac my friend.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? Exposure to different events and environments pushed me to pursue business in a college abroad. When I was getting my undergraduate degree, I used to talk with my closest friends about studying abroad, mainly because one of my professors did his Ph.D. in the USA. (Only after I accepted the offer from Fisher, did I realize he did his Ph.D. at OSU!) He taught a session about the process he went through. At the end of my undergrad program, one of my friends was the first to decide to study abroad, and after that others started doing the same.

Additionally, when I was working at the bank, I started noticing that many of the managers and chief officers (including some of my bosses) did their MBAs abroad in schools such as Harvard, Tuck, Michigan Ross, Manchester, INCAE, and others. I started investigating the application process and chatted with some of them about their experience.

The combination of these experiences — and the support from my family, professors, friends, and mentors — were the biggest influences that pushed me to apply for MBA programs.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

  • Achieve a business technical background
  • Extended my career into the fast-growing financial services industry (Banking and Insurance)

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I hope my peers remember me as a reliable, goal-oriented, and curious person: someone who can have open discussions about different topics, and a person who can lead and help whenever is necessary.

Hobbies? I have a strong passion for sports and cultures. In the case of sports, I like to learn new sports (the last one that I learned was tennis), to practice them (e.g. swimming, running, playing soccer, etc.), and to watch different sport matches or tournaments. In the case of culture, I enjoy plays at the theater, going to museums, traveling to new places, and learning new languages (currently, I am learning French). Also, I like to watch movies, TV shows and documentaries, and I love hanging out with my friends and my boyfriend.

What made Carmen such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2020?

“Carmen has stood out as a leader from the beginning of her MBA journey. Over the last two years, Carmen has demonstrated an amazing work ethic, finding time to serve on the leadership of four different student organizations, maintaining very high academic standards, and relentlessly pursuing her career goals. Carmen also worked diligently within the Nationwide Center for Advanced Customer Insights, leveraging her background in insurance and adeptly employing her analytical and strategic skills to add immense value to her team. Her contributions to the program have been numerous, and she has been a pleasure to work with throughout her tenure.  Carmen is undoubtedly one of Fisher’s Best and Brightest.”

Roger Bailey
FTMBA Co-director


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