Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Juan Diego Vasquez, Indiana University (Kelley)

Juan Diego Vasquez

Indiana University, Kelley School of Business

“I am a passionate entrepreneur and business strategist who dreams about changing the world.”

Hometown: Lima, Peru

Fun Fact About Yourself: I have ten rescued cats in my hometown and love them so much that I founded a company to provide for them a healthy and fun life.

Undergraduate School and Major: Industrial Engineering at Universidad de Lima

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Founder and CEO of Arquipets Peru

In the second half of the year, you will be completing an Academy devoted to areas like Marketing, Finance, Operations, Digital Enterprises and more. Which Academy interests you the most and why? Although I plan to enroll in four different academies, the one that interests me the most is the Business Marketing Academy for several reasons.

First of all, I am pursuing a double major in Marketing and Entrepreneurship & Corporate Innovation to become a more all-around manager and business strategist. With no formal marketing background, I am confident that the BMA is the right choice for learning and expanding my vision. It may not be evident, but business-to-business is ubiquitous nowadays and is the source of most operating profits for companies.

Moreover, Kelley School of Business is widely known for being a top marketing school, providing an exceptional curriculum experience, and nurturing a spirit of growth through collaboration. Through the BMA timeline, students dive into the Product Management role, visit various big players in the marketing industry, spend personal time with an executive board with more than 20 years of experience, and work on real projects with actual deliverables before heading to their internship.

Lastly, the academy director, Joshua Gildea, has vast business marketing experience in various industries and is an outstanding and devoted educator. I am very grateful to him since he reached out to me before the start of the semester for a meeting we then held in Peru. After introducing me to second-year students, Joshua took the time to explain the academy’s schedule, its methodology, and various core topics, which I found extremely interesting and valuable.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of Indiana Kelley’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you?  Besides Kelley’s outstanding values, core curriculum, academies, and electives, what convinced me to choose Kelley was the Me, Inc. program. Through an immersive process of self-discovery, Me, Inc. enabled me to understand how my personal story, strengths, weaknesses, values, ideal work environment, and leadership style connect with the next steps in my career. Before this program, my personal brand was not a priority. Nevertheless, now I understand its significance, and most importantly, I have a clear vision of how it will guide me through my future professional development, before the start of classes.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at Indiana Kelley? Kelley’s curriculum experience offers a variety of exciting courses. If I had to choose one, it would be an elective from the Entrepreneurship & Corporate Innovation Major and the Product Management Certificate Program called “Power, Persuasion, Influence and Negotiation.”

The course has caught my attention because it focuses on the role of the executive as a negotiator, mediator, and leader. In today’s environment of fierce competition and diverse interests, it is crucial to be a skilled and responsible negotiator. Skillful negotiations build long-lasting relationships and solutions for all parties involved, and competent mediators help people understand and focus on important issues that appease conflict and stress. Consequently, through a series of exercises, case studies, and discussions, students become more competent decision-makers and confident leaders.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: The biggest accomplishment of my career has been becoming an entrepreneur. After two years at IBM as a financial project manager on the largest project in the country and as a project office manager on three international projects, I felt ready and committed to fulfill my purpose of creating a company that provides genuine value to others.

In the beginning, I taught myself architecture, design, and woodwork to build original cat trees and walkways that would transform traditional homes into customized spaces for cats and humans. After testing several designs, developing sales and marketing strategies, and obtaining adequate resources, I founded Arquipets.

As the company grew, my main challenge was to train other employees and delegate functions while developing growth strategies, integrating new technologies, and staying up to date with the latest market tendencies. Still, working on my own remained essential, as it allowed me to understand the core business, comprehend the client’s profile and needs, and engineer more efficient processes.

Today, Arquipets is the pioneer and leading custom pet-design Peruvian company, allows for the employment of more than 20 people, and has built a cat shelter that saves dozens of lives. Likewise, the company is on track in an ongoing process of innovation, digital transformation, and expansion.

What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Why? I would highly recommend watching the TED Talk, “How Great Leaders Inspire Action,” from Simon Sinek. In his lecture, he explains a very simple pattern that inspired leaders and organizations use to act and communicate. First, they focus on WHY they do what they do, and then, on HOW they do it and WHAT they do. I realized that this pattern not only influences engagement, but also motivates anyone to start every task and every day with a higher purpose. For instance, when I chose Kelley, WHY was the most important question. I had no doubt, as I understood that Kelley’s values align with mine and that I would grow professionally by being true to myself. After this acknowledgement – highly motivated and with clearly set goals – I was able to figure out HOW and WHAT I had to do in order to attain admission, a fellowship, and other objectives I had in mind.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Indiana Kelley’s MBA program? For starters, I encourage potential applicants to begin their journey as early as possible. Gaining admission is not a simple process, as it requires a lot of preparation, reflection, resilience, and, most importantly, time. I hit the road only six months before the application deadline and felt there was not enough time to breathe. Balance in life is essential in order to achieve the highest results.

Next, you should aim at standing out from the crowd throughout your application. Of course, high test scores and GPA are crucial, but they are just the first filter for admission. Always be true to yourself, demonstrate why you pursue the MBA, and how you will add genuine value to the table. I find it key to have a clear set of goals aligned with a higher purpose that will bear fruit for others as it will for you. Kelley’s spirit is humane, so you must realize how your work will contribute to the common good.

Last but not least, get advice! Yes, you should do your own work, but if you want to be more effective, reach out by interviewing people who have walked the path you are newly discovering. It will help you channel your energy more efficiently, build your networking skills, and give a tremendous boost to your confidence.


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