Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Jaime Hernandez, Carnegie Mellon (Tepper)

Jaime Hernandez

Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business

“Humble, servant leader with a passion for creating an intuitive customer experience.”

Hometown: Caldwell, Idaho

Fun Fact About Yourself: I love all types of fishing.

Undergraduate School and Major: B.S. in Mathematics-Physics from The College of Idaho

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Signal Officer in the U.S. Army

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of Carnegie Mellon’s MBA curriculum and programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you?  I specifically chose to pursue my MBA at Tepper because of my passion for technology and analytics. I chose Tepper for its Technology Strategy and Product Management Track.  I wanted to go to a school with a great reputation among large tech companies. I specifically want to go into Product Management so the curriculum at Tepper really appealed to me because it’s so relevant to the fast-paced tech industry. Given my desire to innovate and contribute to the tech industry, there is no better place to be than Tepper.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at Carnegie MellonWow! That is a tough one because it would be hard for me to choose between the Veterans Club and the Latin American Business Club. During Diversity Weekend, I met current students and alumni who gave me a positive glimpse at what these clubs do and how close their communities are.  Even after the weekend, several alumni from the Veterans Club reached out to me and provided candid feedback and advice while speaking very highly about their time at Tepper. I’m really excited to join both clubs.

The Tepper MBA is known for intensive one-on-one coaching and personal development. What area do you hope to strengthen during your two years in business school and why? I hope to strengthen my presentation skills during business school. This is a skill that I know I need to continuously polish and add depth to depending on the audience. Tepper is the perfect place to improve on how to present data in a way that is easy to understand.

The Tepper MBA is also known for being highly data-driven Why does the program’s focus on quantitative analysis and decision-making appeal to you? How have been able to leverage this approach in your career so far? I’m naturally data-driven and wanted to continue to flex that muscle. My undergraduate degree was in STEM. I relied on this throughout my career in the U.S. Army. My quantitative analysis skills were critical because I was constantly making data-driven recommendations and decisions. Now, I’m doubling down and expanding on my strengths through new lenses and cases. Having the ability to manipulate, solve problems, and make recommendations with the backing of data is beneficial in every potential role. I am excited to use this strength in my next role in product management.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest accomplishment was mastering how to lead people when solving problems. And, I don’t mean “Lead” in the sense of leading those who report to you. I mean lead the thinking or leading the conversation and influencing actions. For example, during my time in the military, I had the privilege of serving as a Signal Platoon Leader, a Signal, Intelligence, and Sustainment Company Executive Officer, and a Division Planning Officer with the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) at Fort Drum. Success in each position relied on my ability to solve complex problems while influencing people without authority over them. I constantly faced new challenges and am grateful that I understood how to create relationships which helped me solve problems. I truly believe I received awards and was promoted to positions of increasing responsibility because of my willingness to understand the people and how I could leverage resources and knowledge to accomplish difficult tasks.

What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Why? I recently read How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. I highly recommend this book because it gets you thinking deeper about how you interact with others and what you can do to present yourself in an attractive way. After reading this book, I was able to reflect on my leadership experiences to help me form essays and STAR stories during the application process. Lessons from this book will also improve your networking experience by providing tips for making lasting connections.

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Carnegie Mellon’s MBA program? Be your genuine self during your interview. Carnegie Mellon has an extremely inclusive community that encourages you to express yourself. They are looking at how you will fit into the community as well as what you will add.