Meet the MBA Class of 2025: Kevin M. Hernandez, University of Chicago (Booth)

Kevin M. Hernandez

University of Chicago, Booth School of Business

“An educator at heart who is passionate about social change especially for underrepresented minorities.”

Hometown: Hialeah, Florida

Fun Fact About Yourself: I can do a split (without splitting my pants).

Undergraduate School and Major: Williams College ‘17.5 B.A. Political Science and History; Johns Hopkins University ‘20 M.Ed.

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Colegia — Product Manager

Aside from your classmates and location, what was the key part of Chicago Booth’s MBA progrmming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? The pay-it-forward culture is one of the most important values that led me to choose Booth. However, the freedom to choose my own path is a close second. While it is important to understand the quantitative approaches and master data analysis and modeling skills, I wanted the opportunity to continue practicing my leadership and other qualitative skills such as storytelling and negotiating. Booth’s flexible curriculum will give me the freedom to choose my future specialization and the courses I want to take, whether that be marketing (probably not) or managing and leading teams (I hope so!).

The Booth 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 you been able to leverage this approach in your career so far? Tackling problems, including generational issues, with both qualitative and quantitative lenses is crucial to understanding the root of the issue and creating a holistic solution. It is essential to not only be passionate about the problem that one is trying to solve, but to be able to use data to support the solution process. As an educator, I have analyzed data from state tests and informal assessments to specialize education for every student — quantitative analyses helped me and the rest of my team ensure that every student got the education they deserved!

What course, club or activity excites you the most at Chicago Booth? One of the many course topics that excites me, and hopefully one that I’ll have enough points to successfully bid on, is Artificial Intelligence. AI, especially these last several months, has revolutionized how we think about personalizing services and has helped us focus on what is important. This last year, I have spoken with K-12 and college leaders about what they are looking forward to about integrating AI into their schools and some of the concerns they have. By taking an AI course, I will be taking a step towards using AI to create more holistic support to students and, hopefully, enact some policies to make different services and rights more equitable for students.

What has been your first impression of the Booth MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far. Tell us your best Booth story so far. I did not quite feel like the “typical” business school student. I am a first-generation Latino who is coming from a background in education — throughout the application process and even after my acceptance – I felt as though I did not belong. The first admissions officer I spoke to at Booth helped me understand that I did, in fact, belong and would thrive at Booth. I was introduced to several current students who had that similar feeling of imposter syndrome and they explained how, while that feeling may never go away completely, Booth provided all of the support they could have asked for (and more!). I was even able to meet with professors and faculty members and express these feelings. These relationships have developed into mentorships — something that I am hoping to do for other students.

What makes Chicago such a great place to earn an MBA? Honestly, Chicago has a bit of everything! You are a 30-minute bus or train ride from anything you want to experience. I value being able to immerse myself in different cultures — whether that be through food, meeting people from other countries, or immersing myself in different experiences. Chicago has so many communities that you can do just that. Additionally, as a student, you can learn about all different kinds of industries and experience them first-hand. You can see exactly what you are learning about (marketing, finance, strategy, etc.) right in downtown Chicago. The only issue is that I have two goals and they go against each other:

  1. Explore all of the amazing restaurants Chicago has to offer.
  2. Continue fitting into the same pants that I have!

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far? My biggest accomplishment so far was teaching in Monticello, Florida. I helped students realize their potential and that they can do things that their parents were not able to for many reasons, such as going to college.

What do you hope to do after graduation? My end goal is to create my own to-and-through college consulting firm that focuses on supporting underrepresented minorities applying to college and for different types of financial aid.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Wharton, CBS, Haas, Yale, GSB, and HBS

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Chicago Booth’s MBA program? In general, my advice would be to be yourself throughout the whole process. Do not try to mold yourself into being someone else just because you think you would have a higher chance of being admitted. Be yourself and never self-select out!


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