SVMP 2000 HBS MBA 2009
College: California State University at Northridge
Major: Electrical Engineering, Bachelor of Science
Work Experience: Consultant
Interests: Running, dancing, languages and travel.
How did you get interested in SVMP?
Having expressed interest in business on my third year of engineering studies, a friend referred me as a program that could help me "see" how I could accomplish my interest in parallel to my technical ambitions. My motivation to join was having had success with similar groups such as INROADS Inc.
Describe what the week was like?
No expectations other than to expect the unexpected. I could hardly contain my excitement. Being from the west coast, the old buildings, the bricks, the Bostonian accent - was all new to me. But when I met the other participants and the professors I knew I was in the right place. That was the social bond, next came the intellectual bond. Some of the cases I understood others I remember not making much sense, whereas others were confused on cases that were obvious to me, collectively we knew everything - or at least it felt that way. It was the first time the power of integrating diverse disciplines was made clear to me. I wanted more.
How would you describe the classroom experience?
Exciting. I tend to quickly find myself either completely at ease or uncomfortable. Getting acquainted with the participants first made it easy to feel at ease, and the professors, they immediately put you at ease, but there was a deep fundamental respect toward them. I listened to every word with intense admiration.
In what ways did you personally develop during that week?
- I was sold on the MBA. I felt that I had developed a personal bond with a group of outstanding people that would for the next few years (directly but mostly indirectly) push each other to achieve this dream we had all signed up for that week. It was our oath to achieve a goal others would consider us ridiculous for going after.
What factors made you feel you could come right out of college and pursue an MBA?
I knew I would pursue an MBA but I did not think I could right out of college. I was pretty certain that a few years of work would teach me valuable lessons, but I was also certain that there were other lessons only learned in the environment an MBA could offer, the same environment I had seen during the week of the SVMP program. I am a very "by the gut" kind of person and my gut said I was made for that kind of environment.
What do you think prospective candidates should know about the program?
It's not a program for those exploring every single possibility out there for minorities. It requires some level of call it gut feeling or reasonably well thought out plans of why business savvy will be important for you and those you will impact in the future.
How have you enjoyed HBS?
I enjoyed the challenge and amazing circle of friends I developed.
How empowering is an MBA in terms of opening all kind of opportunities in many fields?
After wrapping up at HBS I certainly saw the world through a different lens, now more wiser, stronger and increasingly risk taking. I owe it to the experience to go out of my comfort zone proportionate to what I have gained - doing it any other way would just make the whole experience not worth it. Currently in Dubai, going from one start-up to another venture. Meeting people, seeing places, admiring not only new cultures but my own country even more each day - things that could only be possible because of the opportunities and credibility HBS has provided making it possible for me to get out and explore.
Final thoughts on you SVMP experience?
Now that you have benefited from both the SVMP and the HBS experience, what are your dreams for the future?
Open new markets for Latinos and ambitious young people all over the world. I am specially invested in the idea of globalization not only on the business level but on a social level, which in simple terms means getting each American to travel and understand the world beyond their own boarders.
What do you remember as the highlights of SVMP?
The negotiation case, it was exhausting to match wits with someone at the same intellectual level but with a different point of view.
Did you feel that the SVMP experience was representative of the HBS experience you are living now?
It was in structure but within the SVMP program that was fully composed of minority youth there was a sort of safety net. I don't think that minorities are not competitive among each other, but there is an unspoken almost immediate support network formed. This is not unlike any bond created with people outside the minority community but in my opinion it may not be immediate (I should mention that I do feel also that the more one is exposed to diverse communities the easier it becomes to form similar bonds almost as quickly outside the minority community). That is what occurred at SVMP, but it was well timed given most of us were very young and developing, I was a very different person then. The lack of a safety net combined with the intensity of the real program made the HBS experience 10—100 more challenging but equally rewarding.