Fernanda Castro Villegas
“I am a businesswoman passionate about wealth generation through technology and science applications.”
Hometown: Heredia, Costa Rica
Fun Fact About Yourself: I love to hear people’s stories and understand how they think.
Undergraduate School and Major: Biotechnology Engineering, Tecnologico de Costa Rica
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: PROCOMER, Financing manager
Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of the MBA curriculum or activities that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? The main factor that made me decide to be part of the UC Davis Full-Time MBA program is their concept of collaborative leadership. I believe that growth and change can only be achieved by people working together. By minds that look for a good greater than themselves and who can collaborate to achieve success. That success will multiply and bring good for others too. Collaborative leadership nourishes others’ strengths and enables an environment for learning and growing. I wish to build my network with other leaders ready to collaborate and together make the world a better place. The UC Davis Full-time MBA gives me the resources to get closer to my dream.
What quality best describes your MBA classmates and why? I’ve discovered resilience and strength in my classmates. 2020 was difficult for everyone. Despite the physical distance, my classmates and I have worked together to create relationships and learn new things. In the months that we have been together, we have explored job opportunities, learned frameworks, created business proposals together, and explored each other’s strengths and leadership styles. My cohort is all around the globe, but we feel and support each other as we were side by side.
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: So far in my career, my biggest accomplishment was spearheading the first investment round ever hosted by PROCOMER, my last job in Costa Rica. In my country, the venture capital industry is still growing, and the startups and enterprises do not have as many opportunities to raise capital as here in the U.S. My job was to facilitate the connection between the two worlds: the entrepreneurs and the investors. I was happy to create the bases for the first event of this kind, which created the connection between six startups and eight investors (including two international). In my path through PROCOMER, I facilitated almost $900,000 for early-stage companies and established the relationship between the Costa Rican enterprise’s pipeline and more than 26 investors around the world.
What has been the biggest surprise in your first three months of business school? I love to learn. In these three months, I was particularly surprised by how much knowledge I have gained since the beginning of the MBA program. I believe that the quality of the program is really high and that the experience and dedication of the professors is outstanding.
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? Most of my education was centered on biotechnology and its scientific applications. I fell in love with business during my biotechnology studies thanks to the startup world. Without imagining it, my university startup led me to the venture capital world. In this environment, I grew fond of businesses and technology applications as a way to change people’s lives. I worked with several enterprises in Costa Rica helping them structure their proposals to investors and accompanying them in the process of raising capital. It was over this path that I decided that to have a greater impact in the business world I needed to increase my skills and knowledge. That’s why I decided to pursue an MBA and study abroad. This experience will make me a better professional. I will be a more competent bridge between technology and people: A better change maker.
What other MBA programs did you apply to?
The MBA in Tecnologico de Costa Rica
What do you see yourself doing ten years from now? I want to build my career oriented toward business development and strategy for technology enterprises in the health sector. In 10 years, I will be spearheading the business strategy to take health-tech innovation to the worldwide market. My purpose in life is to create wealth and enable realization for others. With this plan, I will be able to build in this direction. Health is the foundation of change. We need healthy people to discover what needs to be changed and execute to actually change it.