Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Javier Araujo O’Neill, New York University (Stern)

Javier Araujo O’Neill

New York University, Stern School of Business

“Hyper-curious eternal optimist, from a Honduran/Irish American background, with a passion for entrepreneurship and innovation.”

Hometown: Miami, FL

Fun Fact About Yourself: Lenny Kravitz blessed my marriage.

Undergraduate School and Major: Florida International University: B.A. in Economics, M.S. in International Real Estate

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: J.P. Morgan Chase & Co, Associate

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of NYU Stern’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? NYU, as a wider university, houses some of the most artistic and creative collectives in the world. I believe this “poet DNA” organically embeds itself into NYU Stern’s more quant, data-driven curriculum. Many aspects of business today tend to be mundane or outdated and require the type of creativity or out-of-the-box thinking that Stern provides its students to foster innovation. As I began to explore different MBA programs, I was keen on finding a school that challenges the status quo. Stern’s belief to embrace change, if not create it, immediately resonated with me.  

What course, club or activity excites you the most at NYU Stern? This is going to sound cliché, but I am excited about everything. I understand how lucky I am to be in the position where I am. Very few people in the world get the opportunity to ever stop working or reset and be introspective with their careers. I am excited to take advantage of the entire experience both in the classroom and outside of it.

On campus, I am looking forward to allowing my curiosity to get the best of me by choosing amongst the 200+ electives that are offered through both Stern and other NYU departments. Off campus, my wife and I are aspiring foodies. Lucky for us, New York City offers the largest variety of fine cuisine in the world, and we want to try it all.  Outside of New York, I’m also excited for Stern’s DBi or “Doing Business in…” program, which allows students the opportunity to explore how business is conducted in another country.

What excites you the most about living in New York City and how do you see it enhancing your learning experience? MBA programs are intentionally an immersive experience. They allow students to not only enhance their knowledge in the classroom, but also forge close relationships with their classmates and future leaders. The ability to have this immersive experience in arguably the most important city for business in the world allows for unprecedented access, exposure, and cultural experiences – all of which I’m excited for. I see Stern’s location in New York City as an opportunity in the classroom. Some of the world’s most successful business leaders live and work just a couple minutes commute away, making it easy for them to come in regularly as guest speakers. This proximity also gives students the ability to consistently network with employers and future colleagues to get a feel for different company cultures before graduation.

What does EQ (Emotional Intelligence) mean to you and when have you seen its value in your career? Emotional Intelligence was readily present in my upbringing. I am a Hispanic American raised in Miami who, as a teen, moved to Latin America. There, I finished high school and began my undergraduate studies. Although I had a Latin background, I had never lived in Latin America much less Mexico, a country where I have no ties too (my parents are from Honduras). It was during this time that I realized how important it is to not only respect other cultures but also take a receptive approach to understanding cultural differences. In my opinion, this is the definition of emotional intelligence. The more you understand cultural, racial, or religious differences, the better form of communication or breakthrough you will have both personally and professionally.

As I have progressed in my career, I have leveraged my receptive nature as tool to bridge the gap between diverse backgrounds I have come across. This has allowed me to forge close relationships with my peers and clients while respecting and appreciating foreign cultures.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I tend not to look in the rear-view mirror often and instead focus on the future. I can’t clearly pinpoint one exact accomplishment that I am most proud of, but I can acknowledge that there were a series of special professional and personal relationships that helped propel me to where I am now. On a professional level, I am lucky to have had an excellent set of mentors at different stages in my career who always reminded me that one is measured by the influence they have on others whether for good or bad. Early on, I decided to adopt this lesson and have applied it to every job or professional relationship I have had. If one day someone cares to measure my career, I hope it’s based on whether or not I left a positive impact on my colleagues and business.

How did COVID-19 change your perspective on your career and your life in general? COVID-19 has been an especially challenging time for many not only physically but mentally. When the pandemic began, it provided me with a commodity I had never had, which was the ability to work from home. At the same time, it led me to explore the different career and business opportunities being created by our economy’s reliance on technology as practically the entire US market was working remotely. As I sat at home, I thought about my next professional move and what the global economy would look like over the next 5-10 years and the only answer I came back with was “dominated by technology”. As my curiosity continued to get the best of me, my introspection morphed into my desire to break into the technology sector and I found the MBA as the only viable option to make this career pivot.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? My decision to leave banking was not an easy one. I enjoyed my role and was fortunate enough to have a support system of colleagues who wanted nothing but to help me succeed. That said, my experience in financial services over the last five+ years exposed me to the challenges facing the sector, including the impact of the digitalization of the economy.

As I contemplated both my future in banking and how to take advantage of this digital transformation, I thought of no better way to make a calculated transition than with an immersive, self-examining experience such as an MBA. After school I hope to join a company that aims to take advantage of the upcoming disruptions in our ever-more digital economy.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? MIT, Columbia, Darden, McCombs

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into NYU Stern’s MBA program?  Have purpose, even if you don’t know exactly what you want. Adding an introspective element to your application may allow you to find yourself in the process.


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