Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Esteban Socarras, Stanford GSB

Esteban Socarras

Stanford Graduate School of Business

“Short king passionate about all things media & entertainment.”

Hometown: Santa Marta, Colombia and Asheville, NC

Fun Fact About Yourself: I have a weird obsession with lists. I keep a list of every movie I’ve seen (since 2014, sorted by year), every restaurant I’ve been to in each city I’ve lived in, and every vacation itinerary of each trip I’ve taken.

Undergraduate School and Major: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Economics and Global Studies

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Content Strategy & Analysis Manager at Netflix

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of Stanford GSB’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? I was really attracted to Stanford’s focus on personal development and interpersonal dynamics. So much of being a leader is about how well you know yourself and how you interact with others, and it was clear to me that Stanford’s curriculum understood this. There are several classes in the core curriculum, such as Leadership Labs, Managerial Skills, Managing Groups and Teams, and Leading with Values, that directly focus on these invaluable skills. Additionally, I knew myself to be a relatively risk-averse person, and the GSB has a strong culture of risk-taking and optimism that I wanted to learn and grow from.

What has been the most surprising thing that you’ve learned about Stanford GSB so far? I’ve been really blown away by the Career Management Center (CMC) here at the GSB. Every time I go to the CMC for career guidance and support, I feel like I leave with a clearer vision of what my career post-GSB could look like. The advisors are incredibly helpful at big-picture brainstorming and reflection to help you hone in on potential career paths that may make the most sense for you. To the extent you are coming to the CMC with a clearer picture of the types of opportunities you are interested in, they are also very helpful at connecting you to the most relevant companies, faculty, and alumni for your job search. I knew the GSB had career support, but I didn’t expect the level of care and attention that the CMC dedicates to your career search or the incredible strength of our passionate alumni community.

What quality best describes your MBA classmates you’ve met so far? Give an example why this true. My peers at Stanford are incredibly accomplished, driven, curious, and kind. What’s been most striking, however, is the level of vulnerability and self-awareness that people bring to the GSB. As impressive as my classmates are, they are equally open to acknowledging when they’re wrong, when they make a mistake, when they’re insecure, or when they’re unsure of their paths moving forward. Seeing my classmates open up about these vulnerabilities everywhere, from coffee chats to the GSB TALK tradition, I’ve gained a new appreciation for what genuine leadership looks like. This growth mindset is infectious, and it has encouraged me to challenge my assumptions, seek guidance from my peers, and lead with humility and vulnerability moving forward.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: At Netflix, I supported our film acquisitions team with the prioritization and acquisition of high-profile films during the pandemic; co-founded an inclusion & diversity tracking initiative aimed at better understanding Netflix’s progress in programming diverse stories and hiring underrepresented talent; and completed an international rotation in Mexico City where I used my Spanish professionally and supported the company’s Latin American content efforts. This breadth of experience has empowered me to devote my time post-GSB to continue to work in the entertainment industry, supporting efforts to see more of us reflected authentically onscreen while navigating the many challenges the industry faces today.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far? I recently started a part-time business development MBA internship with Illumination Entertainment that I’ll do through the winter and spring quarter. While it’s been challenging to balance the internship with my responsibilities at Stanford, it’s also been an incredible opportunity to apply the real-time learnings I’m getting from classes at the GSB such as Media Economics and Product Launch to some of the projects I’m working on at Illumination.

What has been the biggest epiphany you’ve gained about yourself or the world since you started your MBA program? I came to Stanford thinking that these 2 years were meant to be used to explore every possible career path available to me. Since there are so many resources available to students at the GSB, I wanted to make sure I leveraged as many of them as possible. What I’ve learned is that there is no one path through business school. Some use the time to explore a wide range of industries and functions, while others (me included) come in with a more specific career focus.

More broadly, as opposed to looking at what everyone else is doing, I’ve learned to trust my gut and be highly intentional about the activities I choose to involve myself in. I’ve never had more FOMO than I do at Stanford, but you will quickly learn it’s impossible to join every major club, social outing, company event, or class trip, and the more you take agency over your schedule and prioritize what matters to you, the more you’ll be able to get out of the GSB experience. This prioritization skillset is something I will take with me well beyond my time at Stanford.

What advice would you give to a prospective applicant looking to join the Stanford GSB Class of 2024? I can’t overstate how much the diverse perspectives and backgrounds of my GSB peers contribute to healthy debate inside and outside the classroom at Stanford. Because of this, I would encourage prospective applicants to not count themselves out or assume that the GSB is not interested in their candidacy just because it is a highly selective program. Particularly if you come from a non-traditional background, know that your experience is valid and can be highly additive to the Stanford community. Don’t shy away from what makes you unique or try to fit into a box of what you think the admissions committee is looking for. Speak from the heart about your background, goals, and motivations as much as possible in the application.


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