Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Carlos Martinez, Emory University (Goizueta)

Carlos Martinez

Emory University, Goizueta Business School

“Happy, optimistic and analytical person that thinks success is a process and not the target at the end of the road.”

Hometown: Bogota, Colombia

Fun Fact About Yourself: A misunderstanding in a conversation with my mother resulted in me showing up in my soccer outfit and wearing crocs to a social event that a respected former president of Colombia also attended. It was very embarrassing in the moment, but now some years after, quite funny!

Undergraduate School and Major: Los Andes University, Industrial Engineer

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Coca-Cola FEMSA, Financial Planning Head

What makes Atlanta such a great place to earn an MBA? Atlanta has the combination of social and labor attributes that make it the ideal place to get an MBA. First, it is a 6 million people metropolitan city that is going through an important growing and flourishing process, where most Fortune 1000 companies have either offices or headquarters. For me, this means a , great job and business opportunities. Second, it is a very enjoyable city, with an exceptionally active social life and a characteristic personality, in which you would never get bored, and a reasonable cost of living, perfect for the life moment of an MBA student. Third, to keep it short, it is the greenest city I have ever been to, so you get the social life of a big city, while enjoying the trees and the nature of a countryside place.

Aside from your classmates and location, what was the key part of Emory Goizueta’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? For me, the two attributes that differentiate Goizueta MBA from other top programs are its unique approach to leadership and its intentional small class size. GBS takes leadership education very seriously and assesses it in a holistic way, structured in three pillars: academic, experiential and reflective. What I like the most is the experiential avenue that includes activities such as Fort Benning and sailing a boat in the British Virgin Islands, as the closing activity for the Goizueta Advanced Leadership Academy (GALA) program. You can also get the certificate of Advanced Leadership by taking an additional capstone course that combines academic and the co-curricular leadership experiences. The combination of the different activities and programs focused on leadership give a unique experience for the students in this area.

On the other hand, Goizueta MBA small class size (by design) gives a specially personalized experience where everybody (staff and students) will call you by your name. You will get to know your classmates well and build deep relationships with several of them that result in a highly collaborative culture. Additionally, you will have access to all the MBA services (career management, professors, etc.) in remarkably individualized way due to the staff-to-student ratio.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at Emory Goizueta? The course would be Strategy Management because it is an area that I want to strengthen the most during my MBA and learn a structured approach to it. The Goizueta Consulting Association is the club that excites me the most because it will be fundamental for me to learn how to seek a job at the US, which is one of tasks I am most anxious about as an international student. The activity that excites me the most is getting to sail a boat in the sea with my group at the end of the GALA course.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: The biggest accomplishment in my career so far was contributing with the “new era” in the relationship between The Coca-Cola Company (KO) and Coca-Coca FEMSA Colombia, which started with a new strategic agreement to follow a common holistic strategy and align the incentives of the two companies from 2020 to 2022, guaranteeing profitable and equitable growth for the whole system. With this precedent, the agreement evolved in 2021 to be not just for Colombia, but for all of countries in FEMSA and outstretched to 2025. My job in this process was to evaluate and align the financials with KO that resulted from the plans and the strategies designed by the commercial and the marketing teams, guaranteeing FEMSA met the economic targets. My responsibility as well was to implement the agreement and assure the income was being distributed correctly between the two companies. These types of agreements are a significant competitive advantage for the Coca-Cola system and are going to be the future of the bottler business model.

How did COVID-19 change your perspective on your career and your life in general? COVID changed many things in business and in life in general. For me, the greatest change in life would be not taking for granted and instead valuing the opportunities for in-person interaction. While the administrative tasks can be done 100% virtually, some in-person interactions are needed to maintain a culture and build deep personal relationships. In my perspective the challenge for companies and for leaders is going to be finding that balance between virtual and in-person work.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? There are several reasons for me to get an MBA, but the most important ones are structuring my leadership, networking opportunities, the global business mindset I want to acquire, and the skills (strategy, negotiation and problem solving) that I wish to develop. For me, it is the perfect timing, both professionally and personally. I had been working for 6 years, the last 2 of them leading a team of 3 workers, so I want to lever up my leadership abilities to be able to guide larger teams in higher responsibility positions and start building my general manager profile. Also, I do not have significant responsibilities or attachments at Colombia that prevent me from going to the US. Long term, I want to be country manager for one of the big players in the Latin-American region in the CPG industry. So, my internship and the full-time job after the MBA will be targeting that objective and it could either be strategy consulting or at a CPG company as part of its strategic planning team.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? I applied to Chicago Booth, Kellogg, Yale and Cornell. I got accepted to the last 3.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Emory Goizueta’s MBA program? My advice is to be yourself and tell your story with passion because there is not a typical Goizueta MBA student. That unique experience and background you bring will be the reason to get admitted and the value you will add to the class. The other advice will be to give yourself sufficient time to think and plan your application because it is a process that requires a lot of introspection and reflection on why this the correct program for you in this moment of your life.



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