Fernanda Sottil De Aguinaga
“Mexican engineer passionate about solving problems and finds deep satisfaction in enabling others to thrive.”
Hometown: Mexico City, Mexico
Fun Fact About Yourself: I’ve spent +15 hours climbing Mexico’s highest volcanoes, yet I’m afraid of using matches.
Undergraduate School and Major: Industrial Engineering and Business Engineering at ITAM in Mexico City
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Sr. Strategy and Operations Manager at Uber (Uber Eats)
Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of Stanford GSB’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? The only way for me to truly understand the essence of Stanford GSB was by directly interacting with the students. After many conversations with students and alumni, I quickly identified the distinctive human approach that Stanford emphasizes when forming leaders. Beyond acquiring and nailing some of my technical skills, I knew that Stanford would help me grow as an individual too – something that was absolutely crucial to me. Through different activities and courses focused on introspection, self-development, and vulnerability, I would be able to intentionally explore a part of my growth that I hadn’t prioritized during my professional career. This is why Stanford was so unique to me.
What has been the most surprising thing that you’ve learned about Stanford GSB so far? I can confidently say that my classmates are not only extraordinarily intelligent and talented, but they are incredible human beings. The support I feel around my community is hard to put into words. I’ve been very surprised how people in my class are eager to jump in and help each other, from providing resources and supporting connections, to listening to each other and providing selfless advice. My brief experience and Stanford has made me realize that our community will go beyond our two years at business school.
What quality best describes your MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? I believe that every GSBer is distinctive in their own way. Intellectually curious, passionate, well-rounded, genuine, and supportive are all adjectives I would use to describe my classmates. Nevertheless, one that I would emphasize is openness. My peers are all eager to learn from diverse ways of thinking and perspectives with a non-judgmental attitude of learning, encouragement, and support.
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I founded a company focused on companionship for the elderly, after identifying a clear unattended need by both public and private institutions in Latin America. I put together a business plan, recruited my cofounders and raised funding to try to solve for elder isolation and depression.
Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far? Beyond academic or professional accomplishments, I feel proud to say that I’ve ventured to go deeper in myself throughout these past months. This is something I hadn’t prioritized during the past 5-8 years. As cliché as it can sound, the GSB pushes us to find ourselves. I’ve been encouraged to reflect deeply on who I am and what I want to pursue in my life, the type of leader I want to be, and most importantly the why behind my aspirations. I’m being more intentional and engaging in more reflection of the decisions I’m making for my future career and while at the GSB.
What other MBA programs did you apply to? I was lucky enough to only apply to Stanford.
What has been the biggest epiphany you’ve gained about yourself or the world since you started your MBA program? I’ve learned that it’s OK to not know what we want. We go to graduate school thinking that we all should know what we want to pursue in our careers. Nevertheless, behind all our classmates’ talents and achievements, we realize that we all are facing extremely similar: different pressures, insecurities, and internal struggles. One of the most important parts of the business school experience is to really test ourselves in different environments to figure out what we want for our future (as well as why we want it).
What advice would you give to a prospective applicant looking to join the Stanford GSB Class of 2023? Focus on the why. I would recommend prospective applicants to really introspect and understand the drivers behind their choices. Revisiting the reasons on wanting to apply to graduate school, an MBA, or Stanford GSB will provide great clarity when going through the application process. I would also recommend promoting authenticity and transparency when working on their essays; by focusing on their core values and what they find dear to themselves, they’ll be able to identify what matters most to them in a truly meaningful way.
DON’T MISS: MEET STANFORD’S MBA CLASS OF 2022