“Searching for a way to leave the world a better place than I found it.”
Hometown: Panama City, Panama
Fun Fact About Yourself: I once met Alessandro Del Piero (One of my idols growing up as a soccer enthusiast) during a layover at an airport. Nice guy.
Undergraduate School and Major: Universidad de Navarra, Mechanical Engineering
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Banco General (Panama’s largest private bank) – Strategy and Finance Analyst
Aside from your classmates and location, 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? The key part of the programming that led me to McCombs was the hands-on experience that I was going to be exposed to. McCombs offers plenty of opportunities to work with real life companies on real life situations. Through the MBA+ Project, Venture Fellows and Board Fellows (to name a few), I will gain invaluable experience that will set me up for success both in the internship and post-graduation.
What club or activity excites you most at this school? I am most excited about the Venture Fellows program because if selected, it will allow me to experience Austin’s vibrant and fast-growing entrepreneurial ecosystem, collaborate with and assist a VC firm and its portfolio companies to achieve success.
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest accomplishment was leading a cross-functional, multi-cultural team in a strategic project that aimed to improve the efficiency of the retail banking sales division and increase revenues. After working with over 400+ salespeople, managers and executives, the implementation resulted in a 20% year-over-year increase in sales for the retail banking division.
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? After five years of post-undergraduate work experience in Panama, it became clear to me that I needed to further hone my business and interpersonal skills in a multi-cultural environment. I needed to gain perspective and understand the way of thinking of the brightest minds in the world, learn from them, and help in any possible way I could. An MBA was one of the strongest, most complete paths to achieve these objectives.
What other MBA programs did you apply to? Vanderbilt Owen, University of Toronto Rotman, Tulane Freeman, NYU Stern, LBS
What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? What skills or personality traits do you feel you need to improve prior to the start of the MBA program to maximize your performance and relationships during the two years?
How did you determine your fit at various schools? First, I needed to understand the context (city) in which the school was located. I spoke with people who had lived in Austin, both students and otherwise, and visited the city. Then I needed to get a feel of how current and past students felt about their experience in school. Through many coffee chats, it became clear to me the level of passion and love with which all students spoke about UT Austin and McCombs. Last but not least, I wanted to find a place where sports were a central theme to both the school and the city. The 40 Acres and Austin certainly passed that test with flying colors. Texas Fight!
What have you been doing to prepare yourself for business school? I’ve been taking courses via Udemy and similar platforms to properly prepare for the core classes. I have also been reaching out to second-year students and professors to get their insights and advice on how to tackle the program to maximize the experience. And last but not least, I took an unpaid internship to learn more about other industries.
What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? My defining moment was when, at my job, I had the opportunity to work with a team of consultants from one of the biggest, most prestigious firms during a six-month project. This opportunity enabled me to see that I needed to learn so much more about business and life – and that surrounding me with the best and brightest was the way to do it. This experience reinforced me of my strengths and made me reflect on my limitations, which will help set me up for a greater chance of success at the MBA.
What is your favorite company and what could business students learn from them? My favorite company is Nike. Business students (and the entire world) could learn from them two things (and much more): 1) The importance of teamwork as a driver for success; and 2) the huge impact of standing up for what is right, even when no one seems to be standing with you, and remaining adamant.