2023 MBA To Watch: Nahuel Cabranes, Brigham Young University (Marriott)

Nahuel Cabranes

Brigham Young University, Marriott School of Business

“Highly-motivated learner who will go above and beyond to make those around me succeed.”

Hometown: Buenos Aires, Argentina

Fun fact about yourself: When I was a teenager, I got into the sitcom Friends. I started watching it in English with Spanish subtitles, but after some time I realized I was able to understand what the characters were saying without having to read the subtitles. That is how I learned English— through American sitcoms. As far as writing and reading, I started purchasing books as a teenager and basically taught myself how to speak and write English. Do not ask me about grammar rules, though!

Undergraduate School and Degree: Universidad Argentina de la Empresa (UADE), Bachelor’s in Business Administration

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? Regional Leader for Internal Controls at 3M Argentina.

Where did you intern during the summer of 2022? Microsoft’s Finance Central Team in Redmond, Washington. I was part of the finance data and experience team, where I participated in a project that involved revenue forecasting using machine learning and analytics tools.

Where will you be working after graduation? Microsoft, Finance Manager (Redmond, WA)

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

International Mentors Track Lead

Cardon International Sponsorship recipient

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? During my time in the program, I was able to mentor and connect to each new international student that was admitted to the program. It was a great opportunity for me to not only get to know such amazing talent that was coming into the BYU Marriott MBA program but also contribute to their success. There was so much from my own experience that worked and didn’t work. l wanted to share with them my experience to help them be a success. My responsibility rested on making sure they were assigned to a right mentor and make sure they had all information available for their success. At the same time, it was an opportunity to know them and be their friend in this new stage of life. One of the most valuable things of the MBA program is this opportunity to meet new and amazing people.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? One of the achievements I am most proud of is when I joined 3M, I started as a FP&A (financial planning and analysis) analyst, which was a new role for me, and I had to learn a lot of things really fast. My boss, Gustavo Rodriguez Smerilli, was incredibly supportive and mentored me along the way. After a couple of months, he went on vacation out of Argentina, and I was left alone to be in charge of the FP&A function until he was back from his vacation. But he got sick and couldn’t get back, and then COVID hit and he couldn’t make it back in the country. What was supposed to be just a few days without my boss ended up being me having to manage the entire function alone with two months of training. I was able to perform to a desired level until my boss was able to come back. Right after, the company made an internal restructure, and I was given a new regional role in charge of internal controls due to my performance during that time.

Why did you choose this business school? Ten years ago, I was able to come to BYU for three semesters. I knew the BYU Marriott School of Business was very difficult to get into and very competitive in all their business programs. Making it to the BYU Marriott MBA was always in the back of my mind. I wanted to get in not only because of how amazing the program, professors and placement were, but also because of the kind of character this university focuses on. I love having as our vision to “transform the world through Christlike leadership.” This is important to me because it doesn’t only matter what things we do, but how we do them. We need more leaders that reflect Christlike attributes in this world.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? Ian Wright. He teaches the international finance class in the MBA program. I had his first class as a BYU professor. He has a PhD from Stanford and came from London (along with his family) with vast experience in finance, having worked at Goldman Sachs and BlackRock. I know he is leaving money on the table coming to teach, but his values and care for us are more important than money. His way of teaching is highly practical where we learn the principles and apply them in a real, professional way. Dr. Wright is someone who I deeply respect and admire as a professional, professor, and person.

What was your favorite course as an MBA? Business strategy has been my favorite course from the MBA program. It is taught by Timothy Gubler, who is an amazing professor of strategy. The class focused on learning tools we could apply in business settings along with cases that were meant to break our paradigms and make us think out of the box. I am lucky enough to be his teaching assistant this last semester of the MBA program so I can revisit this class and enjoy it again.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? There is an organization in the MBA called “MBASA” (MBA Spouses Association), which is a sponsored organization by BYU Marriott for the spouses of the MBA students. This organization is amazing because of all the activities that they do to help the spouses and families feel integrated and welcome. There are service activities, gatherings, committees, and so much support that comes from MBASA. It has been one of the greatest things about the program, having come to a new country with a family.

I think this organization and their activities reflect this value of integration the MBA program has. It is about everybody, and everybody must feel valued and welcome.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? Something I would do differently is to take time to enjoy the place where I have been lucky to do my MBA. Utah is an amazing state, but I have not taken advantage of the fact I have lived here for two years. I have yet to learn how to ski or do much sightseeing. I am starting to get FOMO (fear of missing out).

What is the biggest myth about your school? One of the biggest myths was that everyone who comes to the BYU is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Although I do recognize there is a big portion of the people from this program that belong to this church, there are so many others from different backgrounds that come and make this program great. My mentor when I came to the program was Madhavan Padhmanavan, who is not a member of the Church but came for the same reasons as all of us—the values and rigor of this program.

What did you love most about your business school’s town? I loved how well-suited it is for families and I also love how I have been able to find everything from Latin America that I have needed. I was able to not miss a day of drinking mate during these 2 years because of the stores that sell it.

What surprised you the most about business school? I have been amazed how everybody in the BYU Marriott School is so invested in our success. I have felt so much support during this time that it will definitely leave a mark on me in all aspects of my life.

What is one thing you did during the application process that gave you an edge at the school you chose? I think my professional background definitely gave me an edge due to the companies and roles I have had. I came to the program with eight years of work experience in multinational companies such as 3M and Philip Morris in finance and information systems roles, but that came because I was working full time while completing my bachelor’s degree.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Raul Rojas Renteria. He and I are long-time friends. We met when I lived with my family in Peru, and we found out we were coming to the program together because of an online meeting the school organized to admitted students. He is someone who excels as a husband, father, and professional. He is one of the smartest and most humble people I’ve met in my life. We have done class projects together and is the kind of person that will find a positive aspect out of any circumstance. He is now coming back to Peru as a McKinsey consultant, and I could not be prouder of my friend. I feel blessed and lucky to be able to be associated with him.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? One, returning to Latin America is a must! I want to develop an international career and contribute the progress of my region. Two, lead an IPO for a company.

What made Nahuel such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2023?

“Nahuel was willing to take intellectual risks and had innate curiosity that enabled him to genuinely do so. He is friendly and thoughtful, but many students are. But many students are afraid to be wrong and not willing to engage if they don’t know something for sure. That’s what differentiated Nahuel.”

Dr. Ian Wright
Associate Professor of Finance
Undergraduate Finance Program Director


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