“Extroverted and straight-forward Venezuelan rum connoisseur that is determined to achieve his goals.”
Hometown: Caracas, Venezuela
Fun Fact About Yourself: I’m learning Mandarin! With English, Spanish and Mandarin I’ll be able to communicate with close to 3 billion people in the world
Undergraduate School and Major:
University of Miami Herbert School of Business, M.S. in Business Analytics
LeTourneau University, B.S. in Accounting
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Sourcing Manager at The Hertz Corporation – Donlen
Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of the school’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? Being from Venezuela, at a young age, I learned the value of energy and oil in society. More specifically, I learned the importance of the good management of oil and natural resources. Rice is a globally-ranked university and, in my point of view, it has the strongest energy and finance program. Also, Houston is the fourth-largest city in the U.S. and has a large concentration of energy companies and banks. One of the key things I was looking in an MBA program was that the knowledge I acquired could be used right after I graduated and in my long-term goals. In the future, I’d like to help Venezuela from the finance-energy point of view so that the economy can recuperate and help build a better country.
What club or activity excites you most at this school? There are three clubs that I’m really interested in: The Finance Association, the Energy Club, and the Beer Club! I believe that being surrounded by smart people with similar interests fosters growth, so the Finance Association and the Energy Club will help me immerse in these two worlds while at Rice. However, another big piece of the MBA is the networking and exploring, so I believe the Beer Club will be a lot of fun.
What makes you most excited about getting your MBA at Rice? What makes you most nervous about starting business school? For me, the most exciting thing about joining Rice is the learning. Rice is a leader in research, so the classes are rigorous and full of knowledge. I’d like to take full advantage of the diverse classes offered at Rice Business so I can gain valuable new skills that might be used in the future!
On the other hand, what makes me nervous about starting my MBA is adapting to the COVID-19 circumstances. These are unprecedented times and people across the globe are adapting as quick as they can. However, Rice has an amazing approach for hybrid learning and student events. I’ve felt engaged with my classmates even before classes start. Our class has had many sessions and opportunities to meet each other on Zoom, Slack and WhatsApp. The level of collaboration for recruiting events and classes even before classes start is incredible.
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: For a long time, my biggest accomplishment in my career had been to achieve a manager role at a Fortune 500 at a young age through constant effort. However, very recently with Hertz’ bankruptcy on May 22, that point of view changed. The process of going through a bankruptcy and being a leader within the company is an experience that not many people have been a part of. I led conversations with different suppliers and fellow employees within the company to keep operations going. I was also involved in conversations with the restructuring lawyers and consultants. I learned a lot, and I was also humbled by many changes that have been made, affecting the company and the employees. This knowledge has not only been a lesson for my personal and professional life, but also my biggest accomplishment in my career so far.
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? The main reasons why I decided to pursue an MBA at this point in my career were to develop my advanced management skills and access a quality business network. In my previous role, I was able to gain hands-on management experience for projects, but I knew that in order to be an excellent manager I was going to need formal-advanced learning. There were areas where I could definitively have used that training on my previous role, such as cross-cultural and cross-generational management. Working with people from all ages and from around the world is a great experience and a lot of fun, but to manage them well is important to have the right tools!
On the other hand, going to a top MBA program gives me the opportunity to network with like-minded people from diverse backgrounds, top professors who are experts in their area, and a network of alumni in different industries. The Rice MBA environment fosters growth, camaraderie, and advancement – and that is definitively something I’d like to be a part of!
What other MBA programs did you apply to? I only applied to Rice Business.
What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? The most challenging question I had during the admissions process was during my admissions interview by a second year. He knew I had done a lot of research about the culture and the program, so he asked, “Do you think you’ll be a good fit at Rice’s culture?” This made me think and realize that I really would be a good fit. Everything I had learned from talking to admissions and visiting campus led me there, the answer was a clear YES! Two weeks after that, I received my acceptance letter to the Rice Business Class of 2022!
What have you been doing to prepare yourself for business school? In order to prepare for business school, I have been refreshing some accounting and finance concepts from my undergrad time, while actively talking to the career center. I want to feel prepared for the class kick-off even if just a little. For that reason, I’ve dusted off my old books and have fully updated my resume under the career center advising template.
What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? My defining moment was when I moved to the U.S. in 2010. I had just migrated from Venezuela one year before finishing high school and had to start again in a new country. Funny enough, the airport were I first entered was IAH – Houston. The political and social situation in Venezuela made us move to the U.S. in search of the American dream. From that moment, I knew I was going to go into business and get my MBA from a top school to go back one day to Venezuela and help re-build the country.
What is the most important attribute that you are seeking in an MBA employer? Why? The most important attribute I’m looking for in an MBA employer is mentorship and room to grow. Having room to grow but no mentorship would be terrible because although I’ll be able to use my MBA knowledge, there will always be the specific corporate spice that I’ll be missing. On the other hand, with good mentorship but no room to grow, I’ll grow into a great professional but will have limited exposure and career growth. I believe that this growth-mentorship combination will be key throughout my career, and not just after the Rice MBA. After I leave Rice, I’d like to keep growing and learning.
Pretend you have just graduated from business school. What will you need to have done to make your experience successful? There are two major things that will make my experience successful:
1) Creating a strong bond with my classmates and faculty at the school. I truly believe that people and friends are one of the greatest assets a person can have through life. Classes will be over in two years, but the experiences, laughs, frustration, events will be there forever. That is why I’d like the colleague support, professor mentorship, and Rice experiences to set the tone of my MBA experience.
2) Securing a position with a company that values me for who I am and what I know. I believe that the tools of the Rice MBA will be key for helping me grow my career from a professional standpoint. Many great companies recruit from Rice University, so I know there will be opportunities. However, I just hope I’ll be able to discern the best fit for me when the time comes.
DON’T MISS: Meet The MBA Class Of 2022: The COVID Cohorts