Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Santiago Gamboa Peralta, Indiana University (Kelley)

Santiago Gamboa Peralta

Indiana University, Kelley School of Business

“Someone passionate about healthcare, an amateur historian and golf fanatic, with a bit of dark humor.”

Hometown: Bogota, Colombia

Fun Fact About Yourself: I possess deep medical knowledge due to six semesters of medical school.

Undergraduate School and Major: Bachelor in Business Administration. Colegio de Estudios Superiores de Administracion – CESA. Bogota, Colombia.

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: EY, Senior in the Valuation, Modeling and Economics Team

In the second half of the year, you will be completing an Academy devoted to areas like Marketing, Finance, Operations, Digital Enterprises and more. Which Academy interests you the most and why?

Of the available academies, there are three which are of my interest: Consulting, Capital Markets and Supply Chain & Digital enterprise. My objective in coming to business school is a change of industry and function. As such, I am willing to try new functional areas. This perspective can be given through multiple experiences in school. I am aware that eventually I will have to choose only one of the academies. None-the-less, at this time I am not sure which of the three mentioned is more appealing.

A consulting role is definitively an option post-MBA but there are many ways to arrive into consulting. As such, I don’t know if I would like to narrow my options that much from the beginning. Having worked in financial consulting for the past five years, I already have a grasp of the function and experience. Maybe I would like to try different things before making a full commitment towards consulting academy.

Capital markets have always been fascinating for me. However, the Colombian market is somewhat small, given the limited investment options and jobs available. On a personal level, I am too risk averse to start trading on my own. I would like to learn more about capital markets and investment strategies in general in order to have a feel of how I might feel investing on a personal and professional level in the future.

Supply chain & digital enterprises are booming right now. It seems that process efficiency and technology are everywhere. These are areas which are also appealing to me, principally supply chain. I have never been able to look deeply into these areas but would like to learn more.

In conclusion, it just seems that I am currently in an exploration phase, all options are possible and interesting. It just seems like the proper time to search, take a breath and a pause, and analyze before choosing a single academy definitively.

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? There were many factors included in the decision. Some were objective and other were from the gut. During my campus visit, I felt an immediate connection with Kelley, a charming feeling of contrasts, seriousness and warmth from students, faculty and staff. The collaborative environment is felt as soon as you step on campus, and the program offers two unique features: the Me, Inc program, a unique leadership program with its focus on self-knowledge will allow me to align my personal and professional goals, and the Plus Life Sciences program, which aligns to my objective of pursuing a career the healthcare industry. I also loved the possibility of exploring fields I am not too familiar with, for example capital markets, entrepreneurship and supply chain and operations.

What quality best describes your MBA classmates and why? I haven’t yet met them in person. To date, I will say will and adaptability. I mention will since everyone is returning to school at this point with all uncertainties must have a will to change his life and live a totally different experience to that of any MBA cohort prior to us. I include adaptability, as we are all learning daily — learning to learn, learning to interact and meet, learning to network and create connections. And we’re doing this all within this new reality and virtual scenario.

What club or activity excites you most at this school? From a professional perspective, I am excited for the healthcare and toastmasters’ clubs. I cite Healthcare since it is the sector into which I want to transition. I include Toastmasters since I am not a very good public speaker and this is something I definitively want to improve.

From an affinity point of view, I am very excited for the beer & wine clubs and the golf club. I mention the first two since I would like to know more about wine tasting and pairing and I’ve included golf because I have played it my entire life and I am very passionate about it. I intend to keep playing while at business school.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: In 2019, I led one of the teams analyzing several companies within a large scope project regarding the creation of a financial holding comprising over 20 government-owned companies. I constructed the financial model for the resulting merger of four of those companies.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I have always been extremely fond of medicine and healthcare, to the point that I attended med school for six semesters before realizing that treating patients was not something I was up to for the rest of my life. Nonetheless, I never abandoned that passion for the sector while I pursued undergraduate studies in business administration. Today, after almost four years in financial consulting, I envision myself returning to that passion from the business perspective. This is what led me to pursue an MBA at this point in my career, the will to transition industry as well as advance into a position with more seniority and client exposure.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? McCombs – UT at Austin. Kenan Flagler – UNC. Smith – University of Maryland. Krannert – Purdue

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process?Why leave medical school to pursue a career in business? Why return to this industry at this point?

How did you determine your fit at various schools? I started by looking at rankings, but these turned out to be not a truly valuable resource as they are somewhat variable, depending on what is measured. MBA fairs are a great resource for a first approach to look at “everything out there.” The personal interaction with the recruiter is an invaluable source in obtaining more information on the program and a feel of what the culture in the school will be like (open or close, collaborative or competitive, etc.). This enabled me to read between the lines and beyond the brochures. Reaching out to alumnus and current students can give a clear perspective on what the program used to be like versus what it is, along with telling you what has changed and what the alumni network is like. For me, the best resource was a campus visit; the sense towards culture and fit (both on a personal and professional level) is unequaled and was what helped me make my decision towards which schools to apply to and later to which school to attend.

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? My defining moment occurred approximately four years ago when a friend came out to me. I saw that moment as an opportunity to start my own journey to come out of the closet and truly begin to be myself. The journey has had its ups and downs, but has also allowed me to get to know myself better and be who I am today. This moment has allowed me to strengthen and know myself on a deeper level than ever before. It has allowed me to be prepared for business school as I come to it being at peace with myself and having a pretty good idea and what I want to obtain from it.

What is your favorite company and what could business students learn from them? I am not a person of favorites, I don’t think I have a favorite anything. Instead, there are things I like from different spectra. Regarding companies, I like Google and Microsoft for their constant innovation models; Amazon and Netflix for being disruptors in their industries and creating completely new business models; and Coca Cola, PepsiCo, Nestle and P&G for being the biggest players in one of the most competitive industries.

I would say that business students can learn from these companies to identify something someone else needs, find something that you are passionate about, and solve that need through that passion. Each of the companies mentioned is a leader or a top of mind in their market. This is what we can learn, find a passion and work towards it, enjoy the process because work should be enjoyable. Finally don’t worry too much about money; if you are good at what you do and you enjoy it, money will come.


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