Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Daniel Mendoza, Yale SOM

Daniel Arturo Mendoza Aceves (Daniel Mendoza)

Yale School of Management

“Easy-going and cheerful person committed to help, driven by my desire to make a difference.”

Hometown: Mexico State, Mexico

Fun Fact About Yourself: At first glance, people believe I am too serious, but after our first handshake my dimples betray my charismatic essence. Additionally, as a child, I dreamed to be a paleontologist (or something related to dinosaurs) to become a true John Hammond (Jurassic Park founder), revealing my desire to have an impact in the world.

Undergraduate School and Major: Bachelor of Arts (BA), Economics at ITAM

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Deputy Chief Economist at Scotiabank Mexico

The Yale School of Management is regarded as a purpose-driven program. What is your mission? How will your MBA at Yale SOM help you fulfill that mission? My mission is to spark the evolution of higher education in Latin America (Latam). I want to solve the education gap that we have. I want to create an institution that aims to strengthen the higher education ecosystem of Mexico and other Latam countries. I plan to do this by providing financing to Latam students studying abroad and in their home countries; supporting foundations and corporations that promote higher education; and partnering with educational institutions in the US and Europe that want to expand into Latam.

Yale naturally resonated with my goal; its 360-degree program is perfect to appreciate the dynamic in any firm or endeavor, new or mature. To illustrate this, by taking a holistic approach to funding, we can understand all stakeholders and bring them together to develop a Latam “brain trust” to propel regional economic and social development.

Additionally, as a researcher I learned how diverse background and experiences can promote better outputs. Therefore, Yale SOM’s Global Network courses, Global Network weeks, and the International Experience will enhance my global mindset and develop my teamwork skills and cross-cultural view to widen my perspective. Meanwhile, I can leverage how other countries have solved similar issues through the takeaways from these programs.

Finally, I will gain a strong foundation for pivoting my project with the “Leadership Lab,” as well as real-world insights from Yale Entrepreneurial Society (YES) and Yale Entrepreneurial Institute (YEI), hands-on experience from the Yale Venture Challenge, and fundraising opportunities from Blue Ivy Ventures.

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? The international experiences and entrepreneurship resources at Yale will help me to widen my perspective and boost my project.

Moreover, real-world “raw cases” will help me to better understand how companies address their problems. Also, I’m looking forward to the possibility of enrolling in the “Tsai CITY Accelerator” to refine my plan with the help of top advisors and talented teammates.

What quality best describes your MBA classmates and why? I call it team-proactiveness. I am a R2 applicant. Since I first connected with my classmates, they have been really open to helping us navigate these turbulent times and our arrival in New Haven. The uncertain environment we have experienced brought us closer to each other; we have worked together to overcome many obstacles, sharing experiences and always open to helping out. I have no doubts that this will create the best MBA experience, since even now, when we are not physically together, we have become close friends.

What club or activity excites you most at this school? I am excited to enroll in the Startups and Entrepreneurship Club as it will be a great place to meet potential business partners with complementary backgrounds. Also, the Fintech club will be really helpful for building possible solutions for my venture, while at the Yale Venture Challenge I will be able to pitch my idea.

Lastly, as previously mentioned, international experiences are one of my main interests, so hopefully the current situation will improve and we all can continue with these activities. Unfortunately, all sports activities are also suspended, but I will love to practice rugby as a member of the Yale Grad Rugby club.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: At the Central Bank of Mexico, I collaborated in the research and development of a policy framework to tropicalize new investment vehicles for Mexico (capitalization of US$4.4B+). This had the objective of fostering investment in infrastructure and energy in the country, while at the same time controlling for the potential risks that might arise.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career?  My 6+ years in my career built my analytical, critical thinking and my problem-solving abilities. In addition, I have developed a 360-degree view of the Mexican financial system, working with the main stakeholders of the investment process, the central bank and regulator, a broker dealer and its portfolio managers, and one of the major banks and its clients, such as companies, and institutional investors. Now, I need to improve my international experience, improve my skills to navigate in the global business environment, and strengthen my business skills so I will be ready to launch my endeavor.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? I applied to Yale, LBS, and Stern.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? “Describe the biggest commitment you have ever made.” I felt this question really made me reflect, not just list past experiences.

How did you determine your fit at various schools? First, I tried to understand their culture by talking with alumni and hearing from their experiences, as well as going to school events. Feeling a match with alumni and current students gives you a good idea of how well you will fit in the school.

Second, I evaluated how the school will help me achieve my goal or fill my gaps. For these, I analyzed the school resources and programs (on-campus and off-campus).

Third, I looked for the most diverse and international program  because you probably will learn as much from your classmates and experiences as from the professors.

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school?  During my third year at university, I joined TECHO to provide pre-fabricated houses for families living in deplorable conditions. Though I had no background or training in construction, I threw myself into the work: nearly non-stop activity for 3 to 7 days at a time; no toilets at the construction site; no shower at all. Yet these uncomfortable conditions helped me forge strong bonds with my fellow volunteers and the beneficiaries. It was clear that a safe roof over their heads would be key to making progress in their education, economic opportunities, and good health.

As a follow-up, another moment was helping children at ALCANCE from low-income families develop their creativity through interactive activities. Particularly, I remember adventures to Papalote Children’s Museum, which turned shy and reticent little children into excited chatterboxes, eager to share all the things they were learning from the incredible exhibits. This taught me that people are more likely to shine in the correct environment and with the right resources. Through my experiences in TECHO and ALCANCE, I learned how to be a supportive team member and a more empathic individual, and to inspire people to fight for their goals.

What is your favorite company and what could business students learn from them? I truly think Prodigy Finance and consulting firms are excellent examples of impactful companies. Both help their clients to reach their potential. First, I consider Prodigy Finance to be a good example of the duality between business and society; you can learn the model to make a profitable endeavor with a good impact in society, in this case through education. Second, consulting firms and business schools are excellent problem-solvers; you learn how distinct industries work and how to face the distinct problems they face.

What is the most important attribute that you are seeking in an MBA employer? Their culture. You spend most of your weekdays at work, so your workplace becomes a second home. It is essential that you match with your colleagues and felt motivated.


Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.