Meet the MBA Class of 2022: André Mota, Wharton School

André Mota

Wharton School of Business & University of Pennsylvania Law School (JD/MBA)

“Grounded and driven, I aspire to build systems that meet the implicit needs of communities.” 

Hometown: Sacramento, CA

Fun Fact About Yourself: While growing up, I competed nationally in Taekwondo, placed first at the U.S. Junior Olympics twice, and made the U.S. Junior Olympics team. Taekwondo was a family effort; my siblings also trained and competed – and very often kicked my butt!

Undergraduate School and Major: UC San Diego (Undergrad, B.S. General Biology), Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (Grad, M.S. Health Policy)

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: MBA Intern at Healthify (Summer), SEO Law Fellow at Cravath, Swaine & Moore (Summer), Consultant at Manatt Health (Full-Time)

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? I was drawn to Penn’s interdisciplinary environment – specifically the distinct cultures and networks at Penn Law and Wharton and the robust academic and extracurricular offerings at both. Wharton ranked at the top of my list because of its strengths in finance, entrepreneurship, social impact, and healthcare – the disciplines where I am most interested. I believed that I could best build a foundation across these disciplines and convene a powerful network at Penn Law and Wharton.

What quality best describes your MBA classmates and why? My Wharton classmates are incredibly collaborative. We have a unique and diverse blend of personalities and are committed to progressing the Wharton legacy and creating impact in society.

What club or activity excites you most at this school? I am most excited by the Social Impact Initiative at Wharton. Community-based impact has informed and accelerated much of my personal and professional goals, and I hope to use my time at Wharton to explore the various social impact opportunities.

What makes you most excited about getting your MBA at Wharton? What makes you most nervous about starting business school? I am most excited to use my time at Wharton to deeply explore my interests in finance, social impact, and healthcare. This journey will include the many courses, extracurricular activities, and informal relationships I hope to build at Wharton. I am most nervous about managing my time and (somewhat diverging) interests across Penn Law and Wharton and finding a balance between the two.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest accomplishment in a professional role was the design and implementation of an enterprise digital health strategy at the leading children’s hospital system in the U.S. Since executing the strategy, the hospital system has fueled its research efforts, established partnerships, and implemented technologies to enhance the patient experience.

My biggest accomplishment in a non-professional role is the launch of the Scholars Equity Network, a non-profit organization committed to the development of leaders from underrepresented communities through civic engagement, economic development, and mentorship. It’s an initiative that my peers and I have built over the past two years and just launched in 2020, with a commitment of over $1 million from the Gates Foundation.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? After working in policy and strategy consulting for a few years, I became fascinated by how the law and business were powerful tools to shape society and generate impact. I became fixated by how a JD and an MBA would allow me to merge disciplines and build a dynamic network. After a career in law and/or business, I hope to transition into a public service or public office role.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? I applied to the JD/MBA programs at Columbia and Harvard.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? What about a community is important to you, and how do you create community? This question was asked by a Wharton admissions officer and is telling about Wharton’s focus on cultivating leaders and community!

How did you determine your fit at various schools? I considered culture, academic offerings, extracurricular activities, and legacy. To evaluate schools, I relied heavily on one-on-one conversations with current students and alumni, supplemented with online research. These conversations informed my understanding of the distinctive cultures across schools. Coming into the JD/MBA program, I kept my career goals broad (e.g., corporate law, finance, healthcare, public office) and determined that both programs would meet my career aspirations.

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? I come from a working class, multi-racial, and immigrant background, and my father was an entrepreneur and small business owner. A series of experiences in my childhood, juxtaposed against my experiences in privileged academic and corporate institutions, led me to pursue law and business. These experiences have created a sense of resilience, resourcefulness, and humility – traits that I believe will be beneficial in business school and throughout my career.

What have you been doing since you were accepted to prepare for business school? I was accepted to Wharton almost two years ago and have been quite busy since my acceptance! After leaving my full-time role, I summered in the M&A practice at Cravath; completed my first year at Penn Law; was accepted onto the Law Review; completed a summer internship at Healthify (a Series B health tech startup); and helped to lead the PA 30 Day Fund, which has raised millions of dollars in private funds and provided forgivable loans to hundreds of small businesses impacted by COVID and economic uncertainty in Pennsylvania.

What is your favorite company and what could business students learn from them? One of my favorite companies is Healthify, the startup that I worked for over the summer. Healthify is a technology startup that builds accountable networks of community-based organizations to manage the non-clinical needs of patients. From Healthify, business students, entrepreneurs, and leaders could learn how to establish and maintain a distinctive culture focused on impact; rapidly pivot business models and respond to market needs as an organization matures; and preserve passion and drive in the face of success and adversity.


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