2022 MBA To Watch: Andrea Coello Kunz, National University of Singapore

Andrea Coello Kunz (Andrea)

National University of Singapore – The NUS MBA

“A globe-trotting Mexican consultant who continues to learn from great individuals and challenging situations.”

Hometown: Mexico City, Mexico

Fun fact about yourself: I love collecting and sharing fun facts about different topics, like the process that ingredients pass through to get to our plates, the reason a popular character came to be, or the history behind long-standing traditions.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Universidad Iberoamericana – BSc. in Food Engineering

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Deloitte Risk Advisory – Corporate Governance Senior Consultant

Where did you intern during the summer of 2021? Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, my cohort’s calendar was modified and we had classes during the summer, so I couldn’t do a summer internship. However, I am currently interning with the Asia Pacific Corporate Strategy & Development team at Visa.

Where will you be working after graduation? That has not been completely defined yet, as I’m still in some recruitment processes, but will continue in a strategy-oriented role.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: I have loved supporting the different initiatives. From beach cleaning mornings organized by the school to fundraisers led by the NUS MBA clubs, I have tried to participate as much as possible to give a little bit back. Even during my internship, I have enrolled in volunteering activities, though most were done virtually due to the pandemic situation.

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? It was my consulting project with an AI company here in Singapore. For me, this project was an opportunity to tackle a real-life challenge with the different sets of skills and knowledge provided by each of my teammates. I cannot say it was easy, but after several meetings and long working hours, we felt confident and proud of what we have achieved together and presented our results and proposals to the company’s CEO. I can’t express the delight – and relief – I felt when the CEO congratulated us, and I even received a message from the company saying that they are currently using some of our proposed features within their product portfolio. The most rewarding part was sharing this achievement with such a hardworking and talented team.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? My biggest accomplishment so far was participating in the development and implementation of a new comprehensive value map, which helps companies to evaluate the maturity level of their operational and corporate governance practices, allowing the identification of critical points to be considered in their journey towards continuous improvement. Even though it was a long journey – with a lot of brainstorming sessions, revisions, and last-minute changes – it was an opportunity to take every single theory, client experience and technical skill to create something new that could provide added value for current and new clients.

Why did you choose this business school? The most important factor was the global viewpoint that the program offered, allowing myself to understand the Asian business environment without losing focus of the global perspective.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Dr Prem Shamdasani aka. Dr Love. Both as a professor in his two intensive modules and as a faculty supervisor for our consulting project, he knows what he is teaching, he loves the topics, and he is passionate about sharing his knowledge and experience with the students. He always tried to make his classes entertaining without losing focus of the lesson. His time-constrained activities were challenging and his feedback was always given in a timely and valuable manner.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? That would have to be the “Launch Your Transformation” bootcamp. It allowed us to connect with our cohort, particularly our teams and learning partners as we faced situations that brought us out of our comfort zone. Role-play activities, reflection moments and feedback exercises were just some of the things we did that full week.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? The one thing I would have done differently is participating as a candidate to become part of the Student Council. I underestimated what I could offer to the cohort as someone coming from an extremely different environment, and thought I needed a deeper understanding of the market and the key players in the region to provide greater value for club members. I now believe I could have done it… maybe some extra work hours, but it would have been worth it.

What is the biggest myth about your school? When I chose this school, people told me I would be the only Latin American and would only take classes with people coming from Asian countries… and they were partially right. There were only 2 Latin Americans in our cohort, and more than 70% of the students came from Asian countries. However, I took this as an opportunity to share about my culture and attain the Asian perspective I was looking for in this program.

What surprised you the most about business school? When I decided to do an MBA, I was conscious about the different topics and skills I would have to develop during the program. However, once I started the modules and spoke with my classmates, I’m more aware than ever about how little I really know, how much there’s left for me to develop, and how this was just another step in a never-ending journey.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? I believe I have a profile that is different, both due to my nationality and my experience in a function not many consultants become involved in. I do believe NUS wanted to provide their students an environment with diverse knowledge and a better understanding of the world we live in, so I think I brought a little of Latin America with me, and that was interesting for the admissions team.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I think a person who showed me that hard work pays back and there are no excuses for pursuing greater heights was Ardelia Djati Safira. Throughout this journey, I saw her take on and excel in different roles: student, mother, entrepreneur, finance intern and the first-ever female President of the NUS MBA Student Council – all while being a kind and level-headed friend that will always have your back.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? Since I was in high school, my dad has always been pushing me to grow and keep moving forward, and I have always considered him to be a role model. Having initially attained an engineering university degree – and the problem-solving mindset that comes with it – he also sought an MBA to ‘round up’ his profile and use the acquired skills and tools to lead teams to pursue new goals together, and he has continued to do so. He has always said that we should take what we have received from the previous generation and leave something even better for the next one.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? First, I want to see if the bridges I built during the MBA can be translated into more tangible outcomes, as I want to participate in one of the many Asia-Latin America business relations that are being forged – strengthening both markets. Secondly, I want to lead a big team and challenge myself even further.

 How has the pandemic changed your view of a career? Living and studying during the pandemic has allowed me to reassess the meaning of distance, as we were presented with contrasts between the closure of international borders and the higher frequency of online interaction with teams in other countries. There is still no set view on what the “new normal” will be, but this has been a pivotal moment for how business will continue to develop and how new technologies will bring us together, even when we’re physically apart. Both with new opportunities and challenges, as graduates and professionals, we still have much to do on how we will shape our personal and collective realities.

What made Andrea such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2022?

“Andrea has been an amazing student with the kind of journey that we hope every NUS MBA student will have. She has been involved in many different projects and activities and has reflected on and internalized the key learnings from those activities. She successfully tackled the twin challenges of relocating to an Asian country and being in a class with very few students from her home region. I am impressed with her achievements so far and am confident that she will reach even greater heights in her career.”


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