2020 Best & Brightest MBAs: Erick De Jesus Loyo, University of Maryland (Smith)

Erick De Jesus Loyo

University of Maryland, Robert H. Smith School of Business

“A personable individual who is extremely passionate about fostering lasting relationships and uplifting underprivileged communities.”

Hometown: Union City, NJ

Fun fact about yourself: Despite playing two different instruments since age 12, I never learned how to read music and so, everything that I learned was through listening to the same song, sometimes over 100 times in a row.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Montclair State University, B.S. in Business Administration, Finance concentration

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Deutsche Bank AG, Assistant Vice President, Corporate Investment Bank

Where did you intern during the summer of 2018? Merck & Co., Kenilworth, NJ

Where will you be working after graduation? Merck & Co., Finance Leadership Development Program, Senior MBA Associate

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:


  • Dean’s Fellowship Award recipient

Leadership/Community Involvement:

  • Executive Vice President, Finance and Venture Capital Association
  • Executive VP of Operations, Black MBA Association
  • Executive VP of Finance, Latin American MBA Student Association
  • Management Leadership for Tomorrow Fellow & Ambassador
  • William D. Bradford Awards Committee Lead
  • Commencement Speaker Committee Lead
  • Graduate Assistant, Office of MBA & M.S. Admissions
  • Volunteer Mentor, Strive for College

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? My proudest extracurricular achievement is my dual executive board-member role in the Black MBA Association and the Latin American MBA Association. As a Latino male, raised in a poor, predominantly Latino neighborhood in northeast New Jersey, I experienced a very similar upbringing – as well as the highly constrained standards of living and restrictive conditions – that my Black peers are forced to contend with day-in and day-out. Additionally, given my ethnicity, I was subjected to all the negative stereotypes that some associate with the Mexican population. As a result, I became hyper-sensitive about the issues and hurdles minorities in the United States are faced with.

My career at Smith has given me the tremendous opportunity to not only explore and understand race relations at a deeper level but also, the privilege to plan and execute programming that is relevant to both groups. Moreover, it allows me to partner and collaborates with the rest of my peers, faculty, and staff, which, at the same time, gives them the opportunity to reevaluate their own beliefs and explore ways by which they can help uplift minority communities and bridge the knowledge gaps that still exist in our society. I am extremely grateful to the past leaders of both organizations for allowing me the opportunity to perform these duties as well as my current fellow leaders who work tirelessly to organize our excellent programming.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Nearing my undergraduate graduation in 2013, I found myself pondering over the decisions that had brought me to this point and the uncertainty of my future. The program for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals known as DACA had been introduced during 2012, but the agency tasked with adjudicating applications within a 90-day window had already exceeded review of my submission by over three months. Graduation came and went, but with no end to the ordeal in sight, my only option was to apply for jobs and hope that if anyone gave me an opportunity, even with my limited experience, that I would have more time for my DACA to be granted. The opportunity never came, and my application remained in limbo.

During my senior year in college, as I worked diligently towards expanding my network, I had the privilege of interacting with some very senior folks in the investment banking realm. Although this was my first time being exposed to this function, I immediately aspired to follow on the footsteps of some of these gentlemen, and so I worked tirelessly to foster and solidify my relationships with them. And I could not be happier that I did. My DACA was finally granted 10 months after the initial submission. Around the same time, I received an offer from the Derivatives and Capital Markets coverage desk at the Bank of New York Mellon which kicked off my 5-year career in banking. I fully recognize that this might not represent a significant professional accomplishment in the eyes of many but, personally, to become a professional is unarguably the proudest achievement of my career. Without this, I would not have been able to lead a division-wide risk management project at JP Morgan Chase as the “London Whale” scandal and its consequences began to unfold. I also earned the full faith and confidence of senior management within the Corporate and Investment Banking (CIB) division at Deutsche Bank, due to my understanding of complex financial concepts, timely deliverables, and collaborative nature – or have the opportunity to work on and deliver, alongside my manager, an enhanced FX risk hedge model and strategy to the Treasurer of Merck & Co. during my internship. Nothing in my career, including business school, would have been possible if I had succumbed to my circumstances and that will always be my proudest achievement.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? Diwali Night, International Night, and the William D. Bradford banquet. These events reflect how the leaders and administrators of the Smith MBA program value the incredible importance of diversity and inclusion in a business-focused environment. Smith gives every student a platform on which to showcase their abilities and talents academically as well as the freedom to share the beauty of their culture with everyone else. Moreover, the opportunity afforded to the Smith MBA community at large to meet and interact with each other’s families and children was, by far, the most rewarding aspect of this business program.

Why did you choose this business school? Prior to starting my business school career, I identified two essential goals: developing highly acute business acumen and fostering genuine relationships with my peers and classmates. As my interactions with business schools’ staff, students, and alumni became more pronounced during the application process, I realized Smith met all the criteria necessary to achieve my goals.

It starts with the faculty – accomplished across business disciplines and with extensive research experience in every business function and several years of practical expertise in both the private and public sectors. By leveraging my access to the faculty at Smith, I was confident that I could build a stable business foundation and sharpen my skills and business acumen significantly. The second factor: a small, tight-knit cohort of students with different professional, ethnic and cultural backgrounds. This diverse world of knowledge, opinions and viewpoints would grant me the opportunity to listen, explore, and identify previously-held biases while building strong connections and friendships with my peers. Lastly, Smith’s administrators and staff truly showcased their desire to have me as part of this community and made themselves available to help whenever I needed them. I can truly say that I made the right choice.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Smith truly recognizes and values the contributions that each member of this community offers. As a result, it is essential that applicants identify the qualities that make them unique and discover their value proposition as part of the larger cohort. Continuous introspection is a critical and time-consuming aspect of this process. However, I highly encourage candidates – as I do every day in my role with the Office of MBA & M.S. Admissions – to pay special attention to the part of their story that is not highlighted, is intentionally hidden, or actively suppressed when speaking about themselves as a way to determine their uniqueness. Moreover, clearly articulating how they will incorporate their experiences, personal and professional, to make the business school experience more holistic and enjoyable for themselves and their peers is highly valued.

What is the biggest myth about your school? The biggest myth about my program is that we are somehow at a disadvantage during the recruitment process due to our small-sized cohorts. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Firms are, irreversibly, changing their recruitment strategy. They no longer seek to create economies of scale at individual business programs but rather make more substantial resource commitments towards the large recruitment expos that are organized throughout the country during the fall such as the National Black MBA Conference or Prospanica’s convention. These career conferences allow recruitment teams to scour a vast array of diverse candidates from a multitude of business programs throughout the country and allow them to foster deeper and more meaningful connections with applicants since the events are executed over a three-day span for students.

The benefits are two-fold as this creates overlap among different schools, which allows for additional networking opportunities across peer groups. Additionally, the services that our Career Office provides are distributed much more effectively and equitably among our fewer number of students.

This includes the extensive and holistic training sessions for career conferences, alumni and company-sponsored recruitment events, panels hosted on-site at Smith and career-specific treks to New York City, and Silicon Valley. It is also worth mentioning that Smith offers a variety of options for its MBA, specialty master’s, and executive education programs, which increases the size of our network exponentially and opens up a vast number of doors to industry professionals who will go above and beyond for our students. We call it “Terps helping Terps” and it is a very real tradition.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? If I had the opportunity to rewind time and do things differently, I would make certain to step outside of Van Munching Hall and take advantage of the different activities and events that the University of Maryland students can enjoy. These include beautiful running paths along Lake Artemesia, to the dance and musical performances at our Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, the Latin dance lessons at Stamp, our Division I sporting events, our hiking, snowboarding, canoeing, camping, and wine tasting events, I would unquestionably incorporate more of those activities into my MBA experience.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Jeremy Stratton is undoubtedly one of the most courageous, disciplined, and family-oriented individuals I have the privilege and honor of calling my friend and classmate. His military experiences in the most dangerous combat zones in Afghanistan are truly out of a horror movie when he narrates them. One event is deeply engraved in my memory. He and the platoon he led were in a heavy-fire confrontation with Taliban forces for several hours while machine-gun and RPG fire were heavily concentrated just feet away from his position. The physical and psychological ramifications that experience of that magnitude can have on an individual are crippling. Still, Jeremy has managed to direct all those negative experiences towards raising his baby girl and newly born baby boy and to be a supportive husband and an excellent MBA student. His vast military experience translates flawlessly into business strategy, which is one of the reasons why I have worked in over six different teams with him throughout the business school including our last case competition at Katz Business School. Jeremy is an extremely accomplished individual in our program and will be an extremely accomplished professional with IBM post-graduation.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? It is unquestionably my mother. Raising, providing for, and educating two young children as a single parent even with the support of family and friends is an extraordinarily arduous responsibility. When you do it in a foreign country where you barely know the language, have limited family support, a non-existent friend circle and without the possibility to work in anything outside of the service industry, this becomes a gargantuan – nearly impossible burden to bear. My mother did just that. She endured awfully long workdays every week for several years. She fed us, nursed us back to health when we were ill, and fervently supported us even through the most challenging times. All she ever asked for in return was a relentless pursuit of education as she always knew this to be the great equalizer. Thus, not only is this my way to demonstrate my incomparable and unconditional appreciation for her efforts and resolve but also how I communicate to her that I, too, believe that education can lift generations out of poverty as the great equalizer.

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

  1. To directly influence and positively impact the strategic objectives of my firm
  2. To promote, advance and execute meaningful initiatives that elevate underrepresented minorities to influential positions within the organization

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? He was an energetic individual who always tried to infuse a sense of community and camaraderie into our class and a supportive figure to everyone in times of need.

Hobbies? Recognizing that I had not been involved in any activities outside the walls of Van Munching Hall, I committed to attending every Maryland Terrapin – football and basketball – home game. So far, I have only missed two. Aside from that, I keep up with my gym routine, I have participated in intramural sporting activities with a few of my classmates. Netflix is not a hobby, is it?

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

“Erick is by far one of the most driven and passionate students we have had in the Smith MBA program. He developed an unparalleled work ethic early on in life, being raised by a single mother in New Jersey, and overcoming many challenges that others will never experience. Erick’s drive from an early age led him to Montclair State University as a first-generation college student and was able to secure positions at JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank AG through networking and perseverance. Meeting Erick, you would never know the challenges he has overcome – he is outgoing with a positive attitude, and you quickly realize the high standards he has for both himself and those around him. He encourages and supports his classmates to do more and be better versions of themselves. Erick has taken on leadership positions in both the Black MBA Association and Latin MBA Student Association and is passionate about continuing to improve Smith’s diverse and welcoming community. He is a perfect fit as a GA in the Office of Admissions – meeting with prospective students and helping them throughout the admissions process. He is always willing to help anyone who needs it, whether it is helping classmates plan club events or prepping for job interviews. He secured his full-time job offer to Merck & Co shortly following his internship there and has continued to stay engaged with the Office of Career Services supporting his classmates and their searches. You can’t miss Erick’s Maryland pride – he organizes group outings to Maryland basketball and football games and wears his Terp gear daily!”

Wendy W. Moe
Associate Dean of Master’s Programs


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