2020 MBAs To Watch: Jerry Richter, Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)

Jerry Richter

Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University

Adrenaline junkie engineer, that enjoys sunsets at the Peruvian coast, searching opportunities in every challenge.”

Hometown: Lima, Peru

Fun fact about yourself: In 2008, around the time I was opening my second auto service store in one of my entrepreneurial adventures, I came back from my holidays with dreadlocks. My team couldn’t believe what they were seeing.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Universidad de Lima – Bachelor of Engineering in Industrial Engineering

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? After four years as an analyst in the airline industry, I joined Irsamotors, a car dealer in an underprivileged neighborhood on the outskirts of Lima as a manager to lead the sales and marketing team and structure the commercial side of the business.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2018? Bain and Company, Sao Paulo

Where will you be working after graduation? Bain and Company, Sao Paulo – Consultant

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Latin American Business Club President: Leading the LABC was a great experience because I was lucky to have a highly-motivated team that only needed defined goals and coordination. During this year, we could structure and execute a strategy around six main pillars that we expect will continue over the future years.
  • Consulting Club Board Advisor
  • Admissions Ambassador

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? During Management Games, a business simulation, I formed a team. I served as CEO, and several of my friends were committed to doing a good job to get a good grade…but they had other priorities and were not planning on trying to win the simulation.

During our first board meeting, where we met our board members who were five retired directors and partners of important Forbes 500 firms, things didn’t go as planned. They rejected our initial strategy. I knew that our proposal was bold and could seem counterintuitive, but we had seen the numbers and built the scenarios looking for market opportunities. We were not succeeding in convincing them of our marketing positioning. Because of that, operations decisions could not be made. We kept finding resistance during half of the meeting.

I had to stand up for my team and express our total confidence in our analysis and ask for a vote of trust from the board to operate accordingly to the strategy we designed. After that situation, not only did the board give us their trust, but my team cohesion strongly grew to achieve the results we were hoping. That turning point defined our new mindset regarding the competition. After four months, we finished – winning the simulation with a huge distance over our closest competitor.

Not only did the board congratulate us at every future board meeting, but they also mentioned that it was one of the best performances they had seen and assigned us a perfect 100. I had board experiences in the past, but most of the time as a backup player in the meeting. Managing these relations, defining the messages we wanted to communicate, and taking a stance in the middle of a meeting was one of the most exciting and fulfilling experiences during my MBA.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? During my experience in Lan Airlines, I was in charge of implementing the lean principles to achieve a 10% efficiency on the maintenance technicians’ activities following a playbook left by a consulting firm after several months of analysis.

Motivating and keeping track of the transformation activities was my main purpose to get things done. However, with a management team that wasn’t committed to change (because it would mean higher goals for the Peruvian base) and a strong unionized staff of technicians, the project felt like trying to make a plane fly without wings or motors. Without being originally part of the maintenance division and a complete lack of technical knowledge, I knew I had to leverage other skills and take a different approach to succeed.

I contacted HR to understand who the leaders and most influential players of the union were and started to help them with little things using lean principles to make their days easier – with the goal of getting reciprocity in the future. I changed the playbook to prioritize high-value, low-effort activities and awarded publicly the executor of those results on a “Lean Transformation Wall” in the middle of the dining room. These little steps helped me get the ball rolling and lay out the whole plan. After some months, the project caught up with the planned timeline and we could succeed in implementing the whole playbook and achieve a 12% efficiency increase.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? I am a very big fan of Friday B**rs. Life at business school can become very busy and hectic, and having some time a week where everyone gets together and has a relaxing time cheered me up every Friday. It’s a perfect situation to wrap up a week, announcing a case competition winner, sharing worldwide food, petting therapy dogs, and chatting with family and friends. I believe we were only able to do this because we are a small community. It becomes very easy to talk to people you don’t know so well and build more meaningful connections. The coolest thing about B**rs is that is hosted by a different club every week, so it lets us show our goals, ideas, principles, and activities to the rest of the class. As Latin American Business Club, we had the opportunity to cater Latin food, play background Latin music, decorate, promote our Latin party, and explain our culture and countries to the whole Tepper community.

Why did you choose this business school? I was looking for a school where I could be part of a supportive and tight-knit community that works together to achieve our common goals, and I hoped that being part of a small class would generate that. When I came for welcome weekend to get to know my future classmates, I was impressed by how nice everyone was. The staff recognized me from the first moment without having to introduce myself or wear a nametag. I compared that to my undergrad experience, and I realized that here I would find a group of people who would help me thrive. During these two years, I was able to see that my expectations were exceeded, and I couldn’t be happier with my choice.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Be honest with yourself about what you are looking for and what you think is the place for you. Be truthful during your applications because there is a right fit for everyone. If you land in the right place, you will have an amazing experience and succeed.

What is the biggest myth about your school? We are marked by many as a program that specializes in analytics. Although it is true that you can learn a lot about the subject and we like to make decisions based on data, you have the opportunity to build the MBA you want at Tepper. The same way we come from diverse backgrounds, we head to a diverse range of careers, as well.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I regret not getting more involved with the entrepreneurship center. I’ve had the entrepreneurship bug since I was a teenager and have embarked on several projects in the past. Even though I am continuing my career in consulting, I might be interacting with entrepreneurs as clients in the future and having the right mindset and the empathy to understand their challenges and what they went through is going to be very helpful.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? The classmate I most admire has to be Adrian Martinez. His passion for going that extra mile and his commitment to constant personal development is something I try to imitate. I still remember when he confessed that he got nervous while speaking in front of big crowds, and we developed a plan to expose him to different public speaking opportunities – some of them that could be very personal. It is amazing how he always pursues improvement, even when stepping out of his comfort zone. Watching him motivates me on my lazier days.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My father was my biggest influence on pursuing a business career. As an entrepreneur with 35 years of successes and failures, he is my main role model. I see in him a responsible, creative, and kind leader, always willing to keep learning. That permeates through me. He knew coming to business school would give me the knowledge, that combined with our hard-working attitude, could make a positive impact on society through different organizations.

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

  • Use what I have learned to collaborate on the improvement of the Peruvian education.
  • Lead an organization of highly motivated people who have a positive (and measurable) impact on society.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? As a friend they can count on for help, may it be emotional support or motivating them out of their comfort zone.

Hobbies? I enjoy adrenaline sports and the outdoors a lot, so surfing, skateboarding, go-karting, and jumping from high places into the water. Right now, I am planning a two-week hike around the Peruvian Andes with some of my classmates. The faster the better!

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

“One of Jerry’s biggest areas of growth was his ability to influence. Early in his Tepper experience, he sought guidance on how to bring people together to work towards a solution. Whereas many students aim to stand out and be heard, Jerry’s intent was to be a supportive and empowering leader – not the one in the spotlight. As the LABC Club President and a Bain consulting intern, he quickly learned that two of the greatest strengths of a true leader is are inquiring and listening, rather than directing and telling. Jerry’s focus on, and deliberate practice of, being a leader with influence makes him one of Tepper’s Best and Brightest.”

Lauren C. Miller
Leadership Coach & Instructor, Accelerate Leadership Center
Carnegie Mellon University


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