Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Elias Castro Orrego, Dartmouth College (Tuck)

Elias Castro Orrego

Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College

“A genuine and trusted friend, spunky team builder, and passion-driven professional that loves traveling.”

Hometown: Lima, Peru

Fun Fact About Yourself: I love eating, especially Peruvian food, but I do not know how to cook.

Undergraduate School and Major:  Universidad del Pacifico, Economics

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Laive S. A., a consumer-packaged goods company, and the 2nd largest dairy producer in Peru: Sr. Marketing Lead – New Business & Innovation.

What aspect of the school’s culture or values resonates most with you and why? From the first moment I visited the campus, I knew Tuck was different from other schools. I fell in love with Hanover, a very different location from the other elite MBA programs. Being in a more rural area and having a small and diverse class helps students to truly be engaged in campus life and therefore create a cohesive community.

Aside from your classmates and culture, 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 looking for a program that would help me develop a more holistic view of how a company operates, and Tuck has the curriculum and professors to help me achieve that goal. The courses and programs Tuck offers will allow me to close the gaps that I have. Tuck’s First Year Project (FYP) and Global Insight Expeditions (GIXs) programs will provide experience with real-life business problems. Courses such as Ramon Lecuona’s Strategy in Emerging Markets, David Sally’s Negotiation, and Scott Neslin’s Customer Analytics, will help me acquire the tools to successfully design and implement business strategies and transition from an intuition-based decision-making approach to a data-driven one.

What quality best describes your MBA classmates and why? Resilient. COVID has brought us great challenges that I think as a class we have been able to handle. I am proud of the Class 2022 because despite the circumstances, every day we put so much effort to build this well-known close-knit community full of friendly and creative people.

What club or activity excites you most at this school? I am determined to truly live this MBA experience. That is why I have joined not only career-focused clubs such as the Consulting Club and the Marketing and Brand Management Club, but also sports and cultural affinity clubs. In addition, I have recently joined “The Box” team as a Junior Manager. The Box is Hanover’s first food tuck and is run by and for students. I am excited to be able to contribute to my community with this initiative.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: In Laive, I started working as a Marketing Coordinator. In this position, I led and launched a campaign for one of the company’s brands: Yopi. Yopi is an incredible children-focused brand. With this campaign, we wanted to strengthen the relationship with children and shoppers. This campaign was winner of two Effies: the Gold Effie Award in the media iea category and Silver Effie Award in the snack category. I was also recognized with the Best Employee of the Year Award after having the highest overall performance evaluation in the company and a promotion to Marketing Lead.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? When I started thinking about pursuing an MBA, I realized that I had two options: continue working in Laive or to start an MBA. The reason I wanted to pursue the MBA was to close certain knowledge and skills gaps. The MBA is a fast track that allows me to close these gaps quickly. Doing so will help me develop a more holistic view of companies’ operations, sharpen my leadership skills, and gain greater international experience and exposure to different business perspectives.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Michigan Ross, Northwestern Kellogg, and Wharton.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? The most challenging question was “How would your best friends describe you in three words?”  Tis was followed by another similar question: “How would your colleagues describe you in three words?”

How did you determine your fit at various schools?  I think I really did a good job of researching. To put together my list of target schools, I started filtering three things:

Location: I wanted to do an MBA in the U.S.

Program: I wanted to do a two-year full-time program.

Ranking: I wanted to do my MBA at a top-tier school.

Then with this reduced list I decided to subscribe to the different schools’ newsletters. This allowed me to know a little more about each school and to be able to attend the different in-person and virtual events that they offered. It also helped me remove some schools from my list.

Lastly, what determined my final list of schools was speaking with students and alumni. From these interactions I could really feel the spirit of each school and understand the courses or activities that the university offers and the difference among them. I ended with a five-school list, but during the application process I decided not to apply to one of them because I felt no connection with that school while completing the application.

What was your defining moment and how did it prepare you for business school? I studied economics and majored in Finance. I was more than sure that either private equity or investment banking was the path I had to follow. I got a job in one of the most recognized PE firms in Peru and that firm gave me the opportunity to work on a marketing project in one of its recently-acquired companies. I always thought that my professional life would be focused on finance, but I found marketing to be a way to implement my analytical and numerical capabilities and develop creatively. Since then, I have worked in marketing departments and loved it. As a marketer, I have been able to develop business plans and run the business for my brands. It’s given me great experience and prepared me well for business school.

What is your favorite company and what could business students learn from them? It is hard to tell you the name of just one company. I admire companies that have customer-centric purposes and never stop innovating. For me, these two characteristics are fundamental, and we students must remember them when we have the opportunity to lead a company. If you do not really have a genuine purpose, the human component will not work for a clear purpose and consumers will not connect with your brands. On the other hand, innovation must be constant and part of the culture of organizations — otherwise, we will stay in the past.