2020 MBAs To Watch: Orlando Gutiérrez, Wharton School

Orlando Gutiérrez

The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

Combining creativity and pragmatism to serve others and meaningfully improve the way communities live.”

Hometown: San Juan, Puerto Rico and Pembroke Pines, Florida

Fun fact about yourself: When I was ten years old, I was ranked as the #2 bowler in Puerto Rico within my age group

Undergraduate School and Degree: University of Florida; BSBA in finance from the Warrington College of Business

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Pre-MBA Intern as a Real Estate Acquisitions and Development Associate at 13th Floor Investments, a Miami-based real estate development firm.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2019? Colony Capital in Los Angeles, California and ASB Real Estate Investments in Bethesda, Maryland

Where will you be working after graduation? To be determined, in the real estate investment and development industry

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Alan R. Braxton Memorial Fellowship Recipient
  • Robert Toigo Foundation Fellow
  • Pension Real Estate Association Scholarship Recipient
  • Wharton Real Estate Club Senior Vice President of Careers
  • Wharton Hispanic American MBA Association Vice President of Alumni Engagement
  • MBA Career Management Real Estate Career Fellow
  • UNC Real Estate Development Case Competition Participant
  • Data-Driven Dynamic Marketing Strategy Teaching Assistant

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? Having the chance to be a Teaching Assistant for MKTG 612 (Data-Driven Dynamic Marketing Strategy) was a great experience that was “full-circle” in a way. Prior to enrolling in Wharton, I would listen to Wharton’s Business Radio SiriusXM radio station on my way to work every day. My favorite program, “Wharton Moneyball”, was on Wednesday mornings and hosted by Wharton Professors Eric Bradlow, who teaches MKTG 612, and Cade Massey, who teaches Influence, a popular course I will take next quarter.

I am proud of the opportunity to work with one of the faculty members who inspired me to join the Wharton community. MKTG 612 focuses on marketing from the lens of data-driven customer analytics, which I find has many exciting and innovative applications in real estate, where developers must create a product that meets the needs of the residents (i.e. customers) in the community. After graduation, I look forward to continuing to listen to Business Radio on my way to work.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? While my primary responsibilities as an associate pre-MBA were focused on supporting transaction origination and execution, I found helping and training new analysts and interns to be truly rewarding. Whether it was going over a financial model, previous presentation, internal best practices, or discussing how to manage a challenging situation, helping team members early on is a way to add meaningful value to those around me in small ways in their current roles and beyond.

Anecdotally, I recently received a call from a colleague – an analyst who I used to work with when I was an associate. He called to catch up and update me on his new role at an investment banking firm. In that call, he also thanked me for taking the time to train him. I was humbled by his statement that I had been the most influential person from a professional development standpoint in his career. An enthusiastically collaborative disposition is a key pillar of teamwork and leadership that transcends any particular industry, and one that I seek to carry with me as an MBA Career Management Real Estate Career Fellow on campus and post-MBA.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Professor Asuka Nakahara has taught REAL 821 (Real Estate Development) to hundreds of students who are now leaders in the real estate industry. He has also won multiple “Excellence in Teaching” awards for his work in the course. Many students like to joke that his class is like taking on a part-time (or arguably full-time) job over the course of the semester. Part of the reason it feels that way is because Professor Nakahara does an excellent job of delivering practical real estate industry and broader life lessons that come from his experiences as an executive at Trammell Crow Company. Furthermore, Professor Nakahara invites real estate executives to the course each week to talk first-hand about their experiences in real estate across industry types and cycles, which further enhances the student experience in REAL 821.

Why did you choose this business school? Going into the business school application process, I had three specific guiding principles to achieve my goals during my time as an MBA Student:

  1. Become a better and well-rounded real estate industry professional.
  2. Expand my global horizons.
  3. Develop as a leader

As a prospective student, my belief was that Wharton was the best place for me to achieve my goals holistically. The Zell/Lurie Real Estate Center, McNulty Leadership Program, and Global Immersion Programs are just a few examples of the breadth and depth of resources Wharton has across my areas of focus during my MBA experience. Fast forward nearly two years and I feel strongly that Wharton was the right community for me. #mywharton

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Be authentic throughout your application. Regardless of the outcome, you want to be accepted and join a community by presenting who you are, and not who you think the school wants you to be. This holds true for any MBA program application.

What is the biggest myth about your school? That it’s purely a finance school. While Wharton does have unparalleled finance academic and professional resources, the curriculum offers 19 major options across 10 academic departments, only one of which is finance.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? Because there are 19 major options in the curriculum, dozens of student clubs, dozens of career/cultural treks, and countless events throughout the year, all led by over 800 students per class, there are literally thousands of combinations for how to spend your time. It is impossible to explore every single resource and opportunity during the MBA experience – and that is ok.

I would try to come to this realization sooner and be ok with FOMO (Fear of Missing Out), which in turn allows you to be more present and intentional in the activities you do participate in. I used my three guiding principles when deciding how to spend my time, but even with the help of such a guide, doing so can be a challenge.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? While there are countless classmates I could name, the name that came to mind is my friend and learning teammate Seong Lee (WG’20). Beyond working on the same team for group assignments during our first semester, Seong has been instrumental to my growth at Wharton as someone I can bounce ideas off of and learn a great deal from given his past experiences in real estate capital markets in Hong Kong and the US. As a teammate, Seong exhibits a collaborative disposition and dependability that is truly outstanding. He manages to be a great contributor and positive influence on campus for all of those he interacts with, all while raising his six-month daughter alongside his wife.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? I am the first in my family to pursue a graduate degree, and my parents were each the first in their families to pursue and graduate with bachelor’s degrees. The generations before me – and their stories and sacrifices – are a continual source of inspiration and motivation that influence my path, including the decision to pursue business school as part of a broader journey.

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

  1. Be a part of a dynamic team that delivers real estate-driven solutions to address challenges and customer needs of the 21st century.
  2. Contribute to and/or create programs that are vehicles of academic and professional development for promising students in my community(ies).

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? I would like peers to remember me as someone who is kind, thoughtful, and adaptable, yet resilient and resolute.

Hobbies? Travel, especially within the context of learning about a city’s history and experiencing how it shaped its urban development, architecture, and way its residents live and interact every day. Other hobbies include learning new languages, playing basketball, and bowling.

What made Orlando such an invaluable member of the Class of 2020?

“To me, Orlando embodies what it means to be a real estate student at Wharton – passionate about the industry, intellectually curious about the study of real estate, plugged into the trends affecting the industry, and active in his pursuit to understand real estate from the different lenses of development and investing. When I ask his classmates what comes to mind when they think of Orlando, most describe his humility and intelligence. On every real estate trek, Orlando asks the most thoughtful and perceptive questions, impressing both his peers and the professionals in the industry so much so that multiple people on every trek always remark on the thoughtful consideration Orlando puts into every question he asks or points he raises.

At Wharton, Orlando contributes on multiple levels to the real estate community. He has served as the VP of Careers for the Wharton Real Estate Club for two years, working closely with the Career Management office on strategic initiatives in real estate for industry outreach, educational programming, and career preparation workshops and panels for his fellow students. He also serves as the Real Estate Career Fellow where he helps students, most of them career switchers, with application materials, interview prep and overall recruiting advice. His commitment to helping others and bringing out the best in his classmates is unparalleled. Orlando is deeply passionate about improving the ways communities live and thrive and he has contributed greatly to the real estate community at Wharton. He will undoubtedly continue to make an impact as he begins his post-MBA career in real estate.”

Colleen France
Real Estate Career Advisor
Wharton MBA Program



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