2021 MBAs To Watch: Gabriela Murillo Alencaster, Warwick Business School

Gabriela Murillo Alencaster

Warwick Business School

“Passionate and committed to society; constantly looking for projects that help build a better world.”

Hometown: Mexico City, Mexico

Fun fact about yourself: I don’t like airplanes; I am afraid of flying after being on a hot-air balloon accident.

Undergraduate School and Degree:

Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico City – International Business (Hons.)

Donghua University, Shanghai – 6 months exchange program (International Business)

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? P.M.I. Comercio Internacional S.A. de C.V. – Intermediate Distillates Junior Trader. I oversaw the Mexican distillate fuel commercial portfolio, explored arbitrage opportunities, analysed market forecasts, and conducted risk evaluations for wiser decision making in the oil and gas trading business.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2020? Not applicable

Where will you be working after graduation?

Although I am in the process of defining my path in the short term, I am strongly considering the consulting industry. As a long term goal,I want to start a non-profit organisation for abused women in Mexico.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

* I completed my Undergrad degree with Honors.

* I have the leading role of Co-President of the MBA Women in Business Club at the University of Warwick where we organise meetings with keynote speakers and coaching sessions for women to increase their strengths and skills needed to stand out.

* I developed a business plan and events’ logistics for “Fundación Gadike”, a non- profit organisation that is focused on helping children with terminal diseases from the Mexican poorest sectors.

* I collaborated with “Fundación Ponte En Mi Lugar”, who are dedicated to reinserting homeless people into the society by donating them food, clothes and blankets, organising events for them to show them a different perspective, providing them addiction and mental health support and finally helping them in finding a job.

* I  participated in the organisation of the group of MBA students that joined the unique initiative “Pack to School” in partnership with Coventry Food-bank to prepare 3,000 breakfast parcels for children.

* I am participating in the Three Peaks Challenge – Climb the UK’s highest peaks as a fundraising campaign to benefit the Meningitis Research Foundation.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school?  Being co-president of the Women In Business Club has left me with a strong feeling of fulfilment. Meeting the speakers and getting to know them and talking to them on a personal level has been entirely inspiring. The coaching sessions have been quite productive. Nevertheless, I must say that the most rewarding part is the sense of community built among the women in the MBA, and the networking that is happening between the speakers and MBA cohort.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I am proud of having become a supervisor whilst being the youngest member of the team during my working time at PMI Comercio Internacional.  There, I developed and managed a cost control project to handle and control the expenses of one of the company’s contracts with terminals, identifying the areas of opportunity on the daily operations that generated unnecessary costs, which translated into an estimated 30% savings per annum.

Why did you choose this business school? The University of Warwick allowed me to interact and work with people from around 40 different countries, expanding my vision (without the cliché but considering the challenge it involves). Also, WBS forges more than business leaders; they are committed to the development of humans and change-makers, matching my life vision and values.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? My favourite MBA professor was David Elmes because of his engaging lectures around the macro-economy, market structure, and competition of different countries. He has the ability to engage you into a discussion as if you were in the lecture theatre instead of an online environment.

However I have a special admiration for Dr. Maja Korica, her career path, passion, and extensive knowledge on organisational behaviour.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? A “Challenging conversations” workshop, where I worked on developing my emotional intelligence and dealt with a difficult situation smartly to change its outcome. This event showed me how engaged the school is with an integral format that considers emotional intelligence as a key part of becoming a business leader.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? It is not a misconception that time flies by. Thinking back, I would have scheduled more coaching sessions from the MBA outset to take advantage of this resource that the university offers to help us define the path towards our professional goals.

What is the biggest myth about your school?

Myth: There are not many things to do at the University or nearby.

Reality: There is always something to do:people to meet, places to visit; plus you will always have MBA work projects, reading, and a lot of enriching extracurricular projects.

What surprised you the most about business school? The first day I entered the building, it took me 15 minutes to get to my lecture theatre. It was not because it was far, but because the walls are full of inspiring quotes from different leaders that I could not help but read them. These quotes have been reflected in my lectures and in how my perspective has changed since that day.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? When I talk about something,  the passion I feel comes naturally. My interviewer noticed this passion, and all the nerves I may have had faded away. I believe this passion in business and management not only was the leading edge I had during the application process; it is also my principal thrust during the MBA.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I had the opportunity to meet the most inspiring people during my MBA making it difficult to answer this question. However, if I have to choose one classmate I would choose Humaya Hernandez. She is a Mexican-empowered woman and the kind of person who genuinely supports you because it is in her nature as a leader.

You can talk with her about every topic like politics, medicine, clean energies, feminism, films, or different industries’ insights. She always has something valuable to contribute to the conversation.

How disruptive was it to shift to an online or hybrid environment after COVID hit? Even though I started on a hybrid scheme, shifting to a fully online environment was particularly challenging. Staring all day at the same screen for lectures, assignments and projects, in addition to contacting friends and family in the same way, has not been easy and required extra energy to stay focused when looking at a screen. The feeling came together with isolation, headaches, difficulty understanding correctly, technical issues, closed microphones, and screen freezing. In spite of this, the fully online environment allowed me to participate in many extracurricular activities that otherwise, I could not have done due to the time constraint involved and has prepared me to what will be a new part of normality.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? Leadership is a natural trait in my family. I grew up seeing my parents occupy high management positions. I found their leadership not in their positions, but in how they inspired those under their supervision. In the same way, they always support and encourage me to learn and participate in diverse activities and thus, forged my character and personality.

Amongst other things, my father tought me to never give up and to embrace opportunities; and my mother taught me to be strong and resilient. Both influenced my decision to go abroad and pursue my MBA despite the many adversities I encountered in the way.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? One of the goals I have for my professional career is to create a non-profit organisation for abused women in Mexico.

I also want to write a book about the importance of assertive communication and emotional intelligence as a way of succeeding in business and life.

What made Gabriela such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2021?

“From the moment Gabriela walked onto the Warwick campus, she has embodied our values of curiosity, openness, restlessness, and excellence. Her drive to succeed is truly inspirational and I know has pushed her classmates along in their group work.

As well as her positive and ambitious mindset, Gabriela is a multi-linguist, fluent in English and Spanish but also able to speak Chinese and French, making her a real asset on our very international cohort.

Academically, she has excelled, just as she has in her professional career in the oil and gas industry where her negotiation skills saw her save her company $2 million by sealing a contractual deferment of short and long-term intermediate distillate purchases due to market shocks caused by the global pandemic.

Gabriela has been an inspirational co-president of the WBS MBA Women In Business Club, which has really gone from strength to strength under her stewardship. We have had a string of empowering speakers that have really enthused this year’s cohort. Indeed, Gabriela’s volunteering work is truly wonderful, helping the homeless and terminally sick children in her home of Mexico and working so hard in Coventry Food Bank for struggling families in the UK.

She has been such an enthusiastic contributor throughout the course and was a vital team member in the school’s participation in Said Business School’s Clean Energy Hackathon competition, something Gabriela is so passionate about.”

Monica Garcia-Romero
Director of CareersPlus and External Relations


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