2023 Best & Brightest MBA: Susana Jaramillo, INSEAD

Susana Jaramillo


“I’m a people’s person and love to lead diverse, creative and thriving teams!”

Hometown: Medellín.,Colombia

Fun fact about yourself: I studied acting for film in Los Angeles, and appeared in several movies and music videos

Undergraduate School and Degree: Universidad EAFIT – Universidad de Los Andes. Business Administration.

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? I was working at Ab-InBev in the Marketing department as a Brand Manager for Aguila, Costeña Bacana and Nativa (3 local beer brands in Colombia)

Where did you intern during the summer of 2022? I haven’t interned quite yet… but I’m aiming to get into the Consulting industry in one of the LATAM offices

Where will you be working after graduation? In the short term, I seek to continue fostering a CEO mindset and developing a vast array of marketable skills by entering into the consulting industry. This will enable me to consolidate various analytical and soft skills, such as leadership and multicultural work ethics, as well as strengthening my professional network. In the long term, I wish to transform knowledge into action by leveraging this skill set and network to become a more effective change-maker and leader in Colombia, and create a social entrepreneurship in my country.

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School: I’m currently and Ambassador of Robin Hood Campaign, an initiative to collect donations from the INSEAD community (students, alumni, staff, professors…) to be contributed to the Robin Hood Fund. This fund serves as the basis of a scholarship that is awarded to an incoming INSEAD candidate with demonstrated financial need, allowing them to come and experience the joy of being part of the INSEAD community.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? The most beautiful project of my professional life has been the creation and launch of an innovation within AB-Inbev: Cerveza Nativa, the first Colombian beer brewed from local cassava, in which I worked closely with farmers in creating an affordable and socially-driven brand. To make Nativa come to life, I had to lead a multi-disciplinary team: the Supply team to brew beer from cassava, Corporate Affairs to negotiate a tax-break with local governments to reach an affordable sales price, Procurement to establish contracts with hundreds of farmers to buy their cassava crops, Sales to build distribution plans with shopkeepers; and Creative partners to design a campaign to launch our brand.

From a business perspective, Nativa was a huge success: we sold out in just 6 days and became the second best-selling brand in just 3 months, bringing + USD $6M in Net Revenue in 5 months. But what made me really proud was the social impact achieved: we purchased more than 1,100 tons of cassava from local farmers, fortifying their economy and stability. We created a social program “Sowing by Contract” that has benefited more than 400 farmers across three provinces in the country, with plans to grow to more than 10,000 beneficiaries by the end of 2023 and we sold Nativa in more than 9,000 points of sale, improving shopkeepers’ incomes by 28.2%.

Why did you choose this business school? INSEAD is the business school for the world. It is a place where no country holds a majority and where you are immersed in diversity every day. It is because of its diverse environment that I chose it as the ideal school for my MBA. At INSEAD, students don’t just navigate differences and diversity, we learn to harness them to unleash creativity, identify blind spots, and compete globally. We learn how to become global leaders, and how to think holistically and inclusively.

What was your favorite course as an MBA? Apart from Organizational Behaviour (which I clearly loved), I would say Introduction to Strategy has been my favorite course, because it equipped us with tools, skills and intuition to think strategically and develop strategies systematically! Additionally, within the course we had Master Strategist Day, a 2-day fully immersive experience in which we worked in teams with a real-life organization to solve their most pressing strategic challenges. I enjoyed the experience a lot, and my team came up as a winner of the section which allowed us to present our ideas and recommendations to the jury and board of the organization to bring them to life.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? Culture week at INSEAD is the perfect reflection of how we embrace every culture and provide opportunities for everyone to explain their backgrounds and perspectives. It is a carnival (games, stalls, dances, food, and more!) of all cultures at INSEAD!

What is the biggest myth about your school? The biggest myth I ever heard is that “INSEAD is a business school only for consultants”, which is not true at all! We have people from all backgrounds and with all sorts of aspirations. Just to give an example, within my section we have a baker, a philologist, and a pilot… people who definitely bring a different perspective to the table and that push conversations forward with a different mindset. INSEAD is truly a place that welcomes people from all sorts of backgrounds, and people who want to work in all kinds of industries after graduation.

What did you love most about your business school’s town? Fontainebleau is a place full of local traditions, nature, gastronomy, and a tight-knit and welcoming community. Honestly, it is a town with the perfect blend between the perks of a small city and the closeness to a metropolis such as Paris.

What surprised you the most about business school? What really surprised me is how fast time flies away! You spend so much time applying to business school, planning, dreaming and getting logistics ready. When you actually start your program, you realize times goes by really fast. My best advice to any MBA student would be to enjoy every second of every day (regardless of the daily stress associated with exams, academics, recruitment… etc.). Remember this year will never come back, and every second and every experience counts!

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? During the application process, I focused a lot in portraying the reasons why I considered I could be a true representation of the INSEAD diverse community (nationality, gender, background, career path and interests) combined with my passion and achievement in diversity and inclusion (e.g. starting DEI campaigns at AB-InBev), which are very aligned with INSEAD values. Additionally, I payed close attention to explaining my desires of achieving social impact through my profession which lined up with INSEAD’s Business as a Force for Good ethos.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I really admire Kathryn Hagerty, for her international background, great ability to connect with people, and the way she leads several academic and social activities, such as Crack the Case Workshops, wine tasting sessions, and trips around Europe! She is a true representation of an empowered and inclusive woman and I learn a lot from her every day.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? The first item on my bucket list would be to Fund an NGO that improves the living conditions of children in Colombia and the second one would be to work for a top consulting firm to achieve sustainable and inclusive impact on a large scale.

What made Susana such an invaluable member of the Class of 2023?

“I am writing to strongly recommend Susana Jaramillo Escobar, our outstanding and inspiring MBA student, for the Poets & Quants Best & Brightest MBAs. Susana is a Colombian social entrepreneur who is passionate about to promote diversity and inclusion in Colombia.

As a social entrepreneur, Susana has created an impressive impact on her community. Susana worked at AB-InBev in Colombia as a Brand Manager, in which she led several DEI campaigns, and created an internal platform called AllHumans. As part of these initiatives, she developed a 12-step framework in partnership with World Federation of Advertisers (WFA), Meta and Kantar, designed to be used at every point in the creative process. She also founded ‘For Every Body’, an online community on Instagram with thousands of followers, which aims to raise awareness about the lack of representation and inclusion in advertising and social media. This problem is especially true in Latin America, where according to a study conducted by IBOPE, 61% of people do not recall advertising that demonstrates diversity and 77% indicated that media ads poorly depict the diversity of its population. Susana established this online community to help shape culture and society, leveraging the power to this medium to influence how people perceive others and themselves.

Susana has a true passion for social impact and has demonstrated an unwavering dedication to creating positive change in her community and beyond. She aspires to found an NGO that improves the living conditions of children in Colombia. She loves children and wants to make a real impact by changing their lives and providing them better opportunities. I admire her for her vision and think she is an exemplary student.

Susana’s significantly contributed to our MBA program by promoting awareness to diversity and inclusion and by serving as an ambassador of Robin Hood campaign, which aids INSEAD prospect students with financial needs. As a social entrepreneur, Susana is both a leader and a team player. She knows when to be in front and when to support others. As her OB1 professor, I have been fortunate enough to witness Susana’s impressive academic abilities and her outstanding commitment to social entrepreneurship. Always brining a fresh perspective, her comments stimulated interesting discussions around cultural differences, gender inequality and leadership. She has participated in various group projects and has consistently demonstrated her willingness to go above and beyond to ensure that the group delivers high quality work while remaining inclusive. Her team members have praised her for her leadership, warmth and competence and motivation toward achieving their goals.

Beyond her impressive academic and professional achievements, Susana is a kind, talented, driven, and emphatic individual. She is always willing to lend a helping hand to her classmates and colleagues, and she has a natural leadership skills and talent for building strong relationships and fostering a sense of community wherever she goes. I thoroughly enjoyed having her in my course.”

Ella Miron-Spektor
Prof. Ella Miron-Spektor
The INSEAD Dutch Alumni Fellow of Leadership, Diversity, and Governance
Senior Editor, Organization Science; Co-director, INSEAD-Israel Fund


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