Jacqueline Burgos (MBA 2014) grew up in Brooklyn, New York and received a BBA from Pace University’s Pforzheimer Honors College with a concentration in Accounting and minors in Economics and Latin American Studies. During her time at HBS she interned at Univision and The Raine Group. She currently works at Google in their Go-to-Market organization supporting the largest media advertising agencies in the world.

Tell us about your life before HBS.

Before HBS, I worked at HBO as a New Media Analyst in their Financial Planning and Analysis department. I absolutely loved my job, I had an incredible boss and thrived in the HBO culture. While at HBO my team worked on an analysis to understand the Latino demographic in the US and more specifically understand the business opportunity of reaching this audience. This analysis reignited a passion within me to create opportunities in Media and Entertainment to better represent and target US Latinos. The data was powerful – Latinos were the fastest growing ethnic group in the United States and not well represented in English language media. To make this industry change, I needed to understand how business leaders thought and to learn how to influence them. The Harvard MBA felt right – I was going to spend two years debating cross-functional business ideas in a classroom with 90 other talented peers.

How did your MBA prepare you for your first job after graduating?

I worked for Warner Bros. Television after graduating, joining a Management Executive program that Craig Hunegs had created for top MBAs. He selected one MBA every two years to work in his department, reporting directly to him with rotations across the Television studio with the goal of getting an in-depth understanding of the business and an opportunity to fast track your career at WB.

I definitely would not have gotten the job without my Harvard MBA, but more importantly I would not have had the confidence and conviction to present an idea to create an Over the Top platform that would target the growing Latino Millennial audience in the US. For the next nine months at WB, I worked with a cross-functional team of six executives on this new business and potential revenue generating opportunity for WB. We presented to the CEO, and the project evolved to what is now Stage 13 at Warner Bros., establishing a home for creators from underrepresented communities.

How have you been involved with the HBSLAA?

The HBS Latino Alumni Association (HBSLAA) has been incredible. I was introduced to Gabe Esparza (HBS 2000) when I was considering applying to HBS and he’s remained engaged in my career and life to this day. From being the last person to read my HBS essay before I submitted my application, to introducing me to Christy Haubbeger, a good friend and mentor in the industry, to hosting me with his family in Los Angeles, he and his wife Mina Pacheco (HBS 2004) have become more than mentors, they are family.

In order to give back to HBS and the Latino community, I joined the HBSLAA board in 2017 and launched the Latinas in Media Excellence Award with which we honored Justina Machado, lead of One Day at a Time, for her success in advancing stories of Latinos in Hollywood. The event overall was an opportunity to continue giving voice to the idea that Latinas are a powerful audience who, in some respects, remains underrepresented in Hollywood.

Have you been able to make the difference in the world that you aspired to when you applied to HBS?

While I’m proud of the work I’ve done to bring more awareness to the Latino demographic in the US, in Media and Entertainment specifically, there’s still a lot of work to be done in this space. As Christy Haubegger recently said: “We know that talent is evenly distributed in this world, but the opportunities have not been. The fact that Latinos in the US are 20% of the population and 23-29% of the box office, depending on the year, but remain less than 8% of the on-screen characters and even fewer executives in leadership roles means that we still have work to do.” Reflecting on the work remaining ahead, which I couldn’t agree more with, she shared: “The stories we tell in Hollywood matter; they shape what we think of ourselves and what we think of others not like us. The fact that we have not yet seen a Latino superhero on screen does not mean we are not capable of greatness; it just means that all the stories have not been told.” I am optimistic that we will get there. The Latino community has contributed tremendously to the history of the United States, there will come a time when Hollywood will properly reflect that.

Where are you in your career today, almost 10 years after starting at HBS?

After my time in Hollywood at WB, I spent a few years at Viacom as the Chief of Staff to the Head of Sales and fell in love with the sales and marketing side of the tech and media business. It’s always changing and the problems – from product monetization, streaming, to automation – have reinvigorated the problem solver in me. I now work at Google in the Go-to-Market team that works to better serve the largest media agencies in the world. Every day is different, and that keeps it exciting!

What advice would you give someone considering applying to HBS with your similar background?

Apply! Don’t count yourself out. I am surprised by how many people I’ve met who are incredibly qualified but question whether or not they would make a good fit at a top MBA program. If you think you might not be the “right fit,” apply anyways! You may be exactly the missing piece to HBS’s ever-evolving classroom mosaic.