I am a first generation Mexican-American born and raised in farming and immigrant communities in Arizona. I earned my undergraduate economics degree from Arizona State University. After graduating, I worked for Bank of America Merrill Lynch as an investment banker.  

After my experience on Wall Street, I transitioned to working at Sponsors For Educational Opportunity (SEO) as an Assistant Director of Recruiting and Development.  At SEO, I leveraged my experience in financial services and passion for helping underrepresented youth to successfully restructure the investment banking career development program. While at SEO, I also started a new business venture – Violet Cycles, a company that offers women a feminine hygiene alternative to traditional underwear. 

HBS alumni have been the driving force behind my career success and future goals and ambitions. An alumnus by the name of Gary Trujillo became my mentor early in my life and introduced me to the HBS campus. On campus I had the opportunity to sit in on a classroom discussion and attend various events. I was beyond convinced that HBS was my first choice business school after that visit. 

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To be honest, I don’t think I ever felt ready to apply. But my support system made it clear to me that the worst Admissions could say was “no” – and that took off a great deal of pressure. 

Applying to HBS was an experience in and of itself. My mentors taught me to enjoy the process of applying. To embrace and connect with alumni and students. To participate in on-campus conferences and prospective student events.

I had a lot of anxieties about my application. My main concern was having the perfect story to tell about what I would do with my HBS degree post-graduation. I have a great deal of respect for Harvard Business School and the leaders that it shapes. I wanted Admissions to know I was committed to becoming a leader that made a difference in the world. 

Now as a graduate I realized how big of a burden I was putting on myself. As students, we are provided a variety of professional resources to help us craft our life goals. I was putting a lot of pressure on myself during the application process to have this all figured out before even having the HBS experience. 

I also worried about the interview preparation. I was told it’s a conversation and anything can be asked. There are a series of questions out there to practice with but at the end of the day it’s all about really knowing yourself well and reflecting on the experiences in your life that have had a real impact on your growth as a leader. Speaking with alumni really helped as their genuine curiosity in your life helps you think deeper about how to connect your experiences to the value you could bring to HBS. 

My biggest HBS takeaway so far is that you don’t come to HBS to be transformed into a leader. You already have that embedded in you whether you recognize that or not. You come to HBS to be enabled beyond your imagination. The access to learning experiences and courses that help you refine your ideas, polish your strategy, and build a network of resources that will unlock a whole new vision of your life that you didn’t previously think possible.