Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Mercedes Beras-Goico, Wharton School

Mercedes Beras-Goico

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania / The Lauder Institute

“Optimistic and resilient Latina, passionate about empowering others through financial education.”

Hometown: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Fun Fact About Yourself: I am a fierce indoor cycler, having completed nearly 500 SoulCycle classes and counting!

Undergraduate School and Major: American University, Washington, DC — Finance and Accounting

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Citi Private Bank, New York — VP, Investments Latin America

What has been your first impression of the Wharton MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far. Tell us your best Wharton story so far. On our first day — and despite us not knowing each other – a familiar and welcoming feeling surrounded the Class of 2024. It became very clear that we are all here to lift each other up and not tear each other down. In pre-term activities such as the convocation, the networking and diversity training, and the leadership courses, we have all exhibited positivity through the openness to learn and be accepting of each other.

Specifically, meeting and getting to know my Learning Team has been incredibly special. We spent a day developing our teamwork skills outdoors through the McNulty Leadership Program and successfully worked through a ropes course blindfolded! We have such distinct backgrounds and personalities, but all share the same spirit of learning and encouragement which allows us to work so well together. Our Leadership Fellows also facilitated these activities with such dedication that they inspired me to apply for the program next year.

The next day, we were encouraged to share vulnerable stories despite having met so recently. This very intimate space, in which Wharton leaned us outside of our comfort zone, increased our trust in each other and readied us for the Teamwork Simulation exercise over the next couple of days. With my family living in a different country, finding closeness in Wharton immediately has been a pleasant surprise, which I welcome with a smile.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of the Wharton School’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? Wharton’s efforts to increase diversity and inclusion in our education are palpable. As a Latina woman, this is of paramount importance to me. From our faculty to our Leadership Fellows to our Cohort and Learning Team, it feels like we are a well-oiled machine of different and complementing ideas. The constant exposure to and debate with people from different cultural backgrounds will help in my journey to become an intercultural leader. Because of my focus on financial education for lower income women, I aspired to join a program that was executing on my same inclusion principles. Dean James’ efforts to breathe diversity into every single aspect of the Wharton education are tangible. Additionally, the opportunity to pursue a double degree in the Lauder Institute also exposed me to an incredibly culturally diverse team. After Wharton and Lauder, I am sure that I will be able to view the world in a diverse lens, which is crucial in developing the flexibility required to embrace change. In my opinion, this is an integral part of what successful leaders will need in a world where the regional business model is no longer enough.

What course, club, or activity excites you the most at the Wharton School? So many! I want to explore student clubs in three different ways: (1) something new, (2) something forward-looking, and (3) something fun! This is the moment to try new things and not be scared to fail. I have always wanted to learn tennis, so I will be joining the Tennis Club and taking advantage of lessons from my peers. This is also the moment to find and solidify my passions. Joining the Wharton Social Impact Club and the Women in Business Club will be monumental in molding my career. In addition, I want to become a better communicator and the Storytellers Club will allow me to do this in an incredibly fun way, while also deepening bonds with new friends. I can’t wait to start my extra-curricular experience at Wharton!

When you think of the Wharton School, what is the first word that comes to mind? Why? I would have originally thought of the word leadership or maybe even the word success. Having experienced Wharton first-hand, I can say with certainty that the word that immediately comes to mind is teamwork. It is paramount within the Wharton education to learn how to work effectively as part of a team. Learning teams are an immediate part of the pre-term experience. Through a live simulation, you can directly apply the concepts learned in class.

Additionally, Wharton’s focus on undergoing and reflecting upon those previous and current experiences also plays into the important role in becoming a better teammate. We have had the opportunity to explore our failures and our successes in every single leadership opportunity we have had as a team. Successful professionals understand their strengths and weaknesses and know how to trust other team members to accomplish their goals while executing upon the larger vision.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: In the Latin America Private Bank, I worked with high-net-worth individuals and families in order to manage their investments and more importantly help them plan for a secure future. My biggest accomplishment was working for years to build trust with my clients. More specifically, I spearheaded a Financial Learning Day for one of our families. This was such an important part of my learning and growing journey as a professional in the financial services industry. It taught me that profits are not the only metric; we also need to ensure our clients understand how to vouch for themselves and make the correct decisions based on the financial information we present to them. Along with my manager and banking team, we developed a full day of 101 knowledge on equity, fixed income, insurance, structured products, and strategic investments and presented it through an active day of in-person discussion in Mexico City.

This model was so successful in client retention and satisfaction that it was implemented across the board for other family learning days, also furthering my personal mission of financial education. This led to my promotion to VP during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it was a testament to my continued effort under pressure during a constantly changing remote environment. The promotion built many bridges for my career that remain present and will only get stronger with a Wharton education.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? The empowered Dominican women in my family have founded an NGO and microfinance bank called ADOPEM, with a strong focus on women. I want to better prepare myself to become a leader for this institution and bring it to the next generation. I also embrace the challenge of disrupting the global microfinance industry by building an ERP tool that directly impacts the low-income microentrepreneur. This application will help clients manage demand, seasonality, and profits; concepts which they may not yet be familiar with, so a component of financial education will be paramount. This platform will forge a new path for my family business and for other countries in which microfinance can be a tool to fight poverty.

After 8 years as an immigrant woman rotating through four divisions in one of the largest banks in the world, I learned to embrace change as a constant. Through its unparalleled balance of emphasizing both a rich curriculum and active community engagement, Wharton will further mold me into the multidimensional and impactful decision maker I want to be.

What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Why? I recently finished Simon Sinek’s The Infinite Game and it was crucial in helping me think about the bigger picture especially in business school. It taught me that the end goal is not to win, but to find ways to continue playing and be resilient and open minded, to take risks. I 100% recommend it, he also narrates the audiobook. Next up: our own Angela Duckworth’s Grit!

What other MBA programs did you apply to? HBS, Stanford, Kellogg, INSEAD, and LBS; but Wharton/Lauder was always my number one!

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into the Wharton School’s MBA program? Reach out. We are so excited to help you, host you, and guide you! When I was applying to Wharton, I scheduled many calls and zooms with students and alumni. It was crucial to explore if my future classmates and alumni’s fundamental values and goals were aligned with mine. I developed deep personal connections that led me to place Wharton as my top MBA school. I also lived in New York, so I took advantage of that opportunity to visit campus multiple times. It’s breathtaking!

Additionally, I used the application process as a long and arduous journey to get to know myself better and I encourage you to do the same. I explored my successes and failures and thought very clearly not only about what I wanted to do in the future, but also who I wanted to be. I am confident that Wharton will continue to help me in this journey of self-discovery and self-improvement.


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