2020 MBAs To Watch: Tory Paez, Georgetown University (McDonough)

Tory Paez

Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business

A passionate, curious, and determined changemaker, looking to make the world a better place.”

Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio

Fun fact about yourself: While completing a service fellowship with Catalyst, a nonprofit organization focused on enhancing diversity and inclusion in the workplace, I published an article with Business Insider called “5 Things to Say Instead of Sorry!”

Undergraduate School and Degree: Miami University (Ohio) – Business Management & Organizations

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school?

United States Peace Corps – Community Economic Development Advisor in Isla de Chira, Costa Rica

Prior to the Peace Corps, I worked as a Customer Experience Consultant at West Monroe Partners, a business management and technology consulting firm for nearly four years.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2019? Ernst & Young, Digital practice in Chicago, Illinois

Where will you be working after graduation? The Bridgespan Group, Consultant in Boston, Massachusetts

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

Co-President of Emerging Markets Network; Board Member of Design + Innovation Club; Impact Consultant for the Anacostia Watershed Society; Business for Impact Student Leader; Member of Georgetown Consulting Club; International exchange at ESADE Business School; Consortium for Graduate Study in Management Fellow; Forté Fellow; Peace Corps Coverdell Fellow

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? While serving in the U.S. Peace Corps, I became extremely passionate about agriculture and food. After witnessing the challenges first-hand in my remote community, I used my MBA to learn more about sustainable food systems. I worked as a DuPont farmer’s market employee for Black Rock Orchard throughout the entire first year of my MBA and attended the MBArk2Boulder Conference, an event on food leadership, on behalf of Georgetown’s Business for Impact. Further compelled to learn more, I spent three weeks prior to starting my international exchange in Spain at an olive farm called CO Project Farm in Serra Tomar, Portugal. CO Project Farm is a change-making incubator, where workers experiment, fail, and try again. As a design volunteer, I worked on the farm’s digital strategy, developed product offerings, designed business use cases, and most importantly, worked the land each day. The farm served as a blueprint for systems regeneration, sustainable living, and zero-waste. To me, it was a transformational experience and represented how change occurs with creative optimism, resilient curiosity, and measurable impact.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? As a Peace Corps Community Economic Development Advisor, I united 18 different community associations, grassroots organizations, and local entrepreneurs to form the Isla de Chira Tourism Collective. Members expressed the desire to develop tourism infrastructure and enhance the tourist experience. Utilizing a human-centered design approach, our first project was to create a comprehensive tourist map. In addition to developing an innovative map, I partnered with the collective’s organizations to build their online presence and list their companies on platforms like Google Maps, TripAdvisor, and Facebook. Working with small business owners, we literally put Chira on the map! Because of this work, I was selected to travel to San Francisco during my service with Google’s Local Guides summit to identify Google Map improvements for rural and remote locations.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Dr. Lee Pinkowitz, my professor for Financial Markets & Corporate Decision Making. This tough finance class was part of our Georgetown core experience. Even with a business background, I struggled throughout the semester, but Dr. Pinkowitz always made time for students, whether it be office hours or review sessions. His commitment to his students’ success and understanding is simply unparalleled.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? Each spring, Georgetown’s Student Government Association hosts the McDonough Cup, where all MBA students compete on various physical, intellectual, and fun challenges. I jumped into the tug of war last minute. It was such a blast—everyone was so into it. Our first-year team beat out the second years and flex students!

Why did you choose this business school?I chose Georgetown University because of its focus on social impact and its location in Washington DC—a hub for public policy, international development, and social impact. I was planning to harness the MBA experience to unite my past experiences in consulting with my passion for doing good in the world.

This decision proved to be fruitful. While completing my MBA, I interned with the United States Agency for International Development, where I explored sustainable development opportunities in Ecuador, a small mission of the organization. I also was able to complete an academic tutorial project with the International Finance Corporation of the World Bank Group to evaluate the economic fitness of Brazil and Mexico to forecast unique development paths and investment opportunities.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? Be yourself throughout the application process. One of Georgetown’s core tenants in “cura personalis”—care for the whole person. Georgetown reviews your entire application, wanting to understand what makes you YOU and why you would be a good contributor and fit for the program.

What is the biggest myth about your school? I had heard that Georgetown’s program was globally-focused. This isn’t a myth…my experience confirmed it! I completed an international exchange at ESADE Business School in Barcelona, Spain for the fall semester of my second year. It was such a great opportunity to learn from a non-US perspective. This March, I am traveling to Ghana for a required course called Global Business Experience, where all second-year MBA students travel to different cities around the globe for consulting engagements with local companies. Georgetown provided me with the opportunity to travel with the purpose to grow both professionally and personally.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why?I came into my MBA experience straight from completing my Peace Corps service and getting married. I was feeling good! I wasn’t mentally prepared for the rigor that the first year requires between academics, recruiting, and extracurricular activities. I wish I would have done a bit more to be in the right headspace for the intensity of that first year.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Audrey Voorhees. She is a strategic thinker, incredibly authentic, and fiercely passionate about making the world a better and more inclusive place. She has contributed so much to organizations like Georgetown’s Net Impact and Beeck Center, as well as Ashoka. I have been so lucky to meet such an amazing friend in this program!

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? My incredible husband, Dan Edlebeck. We applied to business schools together. Opportunities took us to different cities, me to DC and Dan to Boston. He is currently wrapping up his MBA from Babson College and we will be graduating one day apart from each other this May!

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? First, I want to work abroad again. Second, I want to serve on the board of a nonprofit focused on sustainability.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? A hard-working, passionate, and kind friend—who also always had healthy food to share.

Hobbies? I am an avid runner and yogi. I love reading and knitting, but don’t do either enough! And traveling…I spend all my money on traveling.

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

“Tory Paez is someone who goes above and beyond in all she does. Exemplifying excellence, she joined McDonough on three fellowships (Peace Corps Coverdell, Forté, and the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management). Her passion for social impact shone throughout her time on and off-campus. She was a student leader with the Emerging Markets Network, Net Impact, Design + Innovation Club, and Business for Impact. She cares deeply about designing innovative solutions in the private, public, and non-profit sectors. During Tory’s time as a student, she did a pro bono consulting project for a local nonprofit.

A common theme for Tory has been using her language and cross-cultural skills to make the world a better place. Prior to her semester abroad in Spain, Tory took the initiative to work on an olive farm in Portugal to learn more about sustainability. Tory succeeds in making an impact and always contributing with energy and a smile. Students look to her as a role model. She will be joining a prestigious social impact consulting firm following graduation.”

Karen Kouagou
MBA Career Advisor


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