University of California Riverside School of Business, A. Gary Anderson Graduate School of Management (AGSM)
“I am passionate about sports and data. I enjoy traveling and finding nice coffee shops.”
Hometown: Medellín, Colombia
Fun Fact About Yourself: For about a year now, I’ve sought out small and cute coffee shops near me to get a coffee once a week—it really provides some needed “me time.” I like supporting small businesses; they provide great ambiance for relaxing, sipping coffee, and doing some homework. I am also a huge sports and travel fan: I traveled part of Europe by myself and went to the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France; it was one of the best trips ever!
Undergraduate School and Major: Harris-Stowe State University, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Marketing
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: UCR Volleyball Team, Data Analyst
What word best describes the UC Riverside MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far? Diverse. I’ve met people of different nationalities, cultures, and educational backgrounds. Most of my close friends at UCR are from cultures other than my own, which has expanded my world view and gives me the added benefit of having friends to show me around amazing places. All the students I have met are also very supportive, and we try to help each other as much as we can. It really feels like a community. I am making great connections during my time here. In my Organizational Behavior course, we studied in a group during the entire quarter. Having worked on so many projects together, we built strong connections. One of my friends from the team encouraged us to apply for teaching assistant positions. Thanks to his advice, I am now a teaching assistant.
Aside from classmates, what was the key part of UC Riverside’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? During the admissions process, I had many questions, and the admissions team answered all of them. The people were the key to choosing UC Riverside. Location and connection with major companies was also important to me: I will soon begin an internship as part of the business intelligence team at Fox News, Fox Business, and Fox Weather. I was living in San Diego when I decided to get my MBA, and I found Riverside to be an ideal location. Being close to Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego is perfect for me because there are major companies across Southern California.
What course, club or activity have you enjoyed the most so far at UC Riverside? I’ve enjoyed my Information Systems course because coding and visualization are new for me. In the few months that I have been at UCR, I’ve learned Python, R, and Tableaux, which I thought would take me years, but I was able to accomplish this quickly with the help of faculty, friends, and activities. I also participate in the Tennis Club once a week, and it is an excellent opportunity to meet other UCR students and have a good time playing sports.
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Creating my own company is definitely the biggest accomplishment of my career thus far! I am one of the founders of homekreate.com, an online marketplace in Colombia. During the pandemic, like most people, I had a lot of free time at home. I spent the first couple of months enhancing my digital marketing skills. My next step was to create a marketplace and sell various product categories. Along with my team, we contacted small entrepreneurs in Colombia and helped them expand their online presence via our website. We used the dashboard I built, which includes sales, Google Analytics information, Google ads, supply chain, and other areas; I gather information in Excel, take it to SQL, and study it with Tableau and Power Bi. Therefore, our marketing campaigns and the budget have been better allocated. Currently, I’m exploring more business applications with Python.
Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far? Being a data analyst in a sports environment with the UCR volleyball team has been one of my most significant accomplishments. Sports have always been part of my life, and I was on the women’s soccer team during my undergraduate years at Harris-Stowe. Data analysis for volleyball is a great opportunity for me to combine my new passion for data with a life-long love for sports. I analyze game and practice information in Data Volley 4 to understand trends and advise actions, helping improve decision-making, players’ performance, and team cohesion.
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? I have already added some work experience but wanted to enhance my analytical skills to advance in my career. This year, I was introduced to data analysis, and I felt it was an area where I could have a better career. I noticed that I had a passion for the topic and was ready to learn. When I was about 5 years old, I loved Play-Doh; starting something with no form and creating shapes with your own hands was a great feeling. When I “play” with data, I feel the same thing. I enjoy seeing my final graphs and the sense of accomplishment. Working with data might seem very structured, but I believe it requires a great deal of creativity to push the boundaries of what is being asked. Right now, I’m looking for summer internships, and the main criterion in my research is that the company benefits the community and my work with them will create good in the world.
What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into UC Riverside’s MBA program? Tell your story. We all come from different places with different goals. Show who you are and why you want to be here.