Meet the MBA Class of 2024: Gabriela Gonzalez, Stanford GSB

Gabriela Gonzalez

Stanford Graduate School of Business

“Passionate Colombian who lives for a challenge, whether it’s running marathons or building companies in emerging markets.”

Hometown: Medellín, Colombia

Fun Fact About Yourself: My ideal job has evolved over the course of my life, but it has always been something related to sports, whether it was being a horse jockey to being president of FIFA.

Undergraduate School and Major: Economics, Universidad EAFIT (Medellín, Colombia) + Minor in Quantitative Economics

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Frubana (series C startup in the foodtech space) – VP of Procurement

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? It was the strong focus is on developing leaders with exceptional soft skills who care about developing others and building inclusive cultures and not only about the bottom line. This mixed with the opportunity to be part of a very strong ecosystem of entrepreneurship where people are shaping the future with their ideas.

What has been the most surprising thing that you’ve learned about Stanford GSB so far? Even though I am surrounded by diverse, extraordinary people with incredible achievements, deep inside, we all have similar fears (of not being good enough) and crave the same thing (a sense of belonging, of being accepted and validated).

I can’t believe how much being here can make you believe in your ability to achieve anything. It is not because they explicitly tell you so, but because you are in an environment that is so inspiring and full of resources that you start believing it. It generates a huge responsibility to decide thoughtfully what you want to pursue.

What quality best describes your MBA classmates you’ve met so far? Give an example why this true. Intentional: They acknowledge what a huge privilege it is to be at the GSB and want to make the most out of the opportunity. They are very intentional about designing their own journey based on their background, aspirations and priorities. For instance, when you ask any classmate how they are going about their career plans, most likely, they will tell you about a personal framework that they are using to prioritize and make decisions every day at the GSB that brings them closer to their purpose. What I love about this is that every framework is different and authentic and you get to learn from them all.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: It was being the first woman promoted to the senior leadership team in one of the most promising startups in Latam as VP of Procurement (one of the core areas of the business). This gave me the opportunity and challenge to represent women in a male-dominated environment and to start a conversation about diversity, equity and inclusion at the company.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as an MBA student so far? During my first quarter at the MBA, I managed to build up the courage and self-confidence to come out to my dad, completely embracing my identity as a queer woman. The diverse environment at the GSB helped me find psychological safety and provided me with a very supportive queer community for the first time.

What has been the biggest epiphany you’ve gained about yourself or the world since you started your MBA program? I realized how much I cared about the opinions of others and to what extent this put a huge pressure on me to behave in a certain way in order to be liked. Here, I have understood that this comes from a need to have control, but the truth is that I don’t control what other people think or feel about me. As a result, my best strategy is to be authentic and embrace the differences that make me unique.

What advice would you give to a prospective applicant looking to join the Stanford GSB Class of 2024?

The class is really diverse, and there is no right or wrong strategy or thing to say in the application that will guarantee your acceptance. Your best strategy is to really be authentic and vulnerable in your essays by taking the time to do the introspection and asking yourself “Why” multiple times. The application process itself can be a very powerful journey and give you the foundations to then prioritize your time during the MBA.


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