Laura Sandoval
Home Region

New York, NY

Undergrad Education

University of Florida

Previous Experience

Zarbee's Naturals (Johnson & Johnson), General Mills

HBS Activities

Latino Student Association, Women Student Association, Marketing & Advertising Club

“My advice: aggressively chase your dreams.”

In the late ‘80s, Laura Sandoval’s mother emigrated from Peru to the United States to find a better a future. “We faced some tough immigration challenges,” Laura says. When her father later joined her mother in the US, she said, “My father went from being the CEO of his own company to being a janitor in an auto shop. It took him seven years to get his residency.”

Laura seized every educational opportunity she had. At the University of Florida, she considered a career in law, but later developed an interest in marketing. With her father’s encouragement, she began to take her interest in business administration seriously. “It was a practical path and one I could enjoy,” she says. “There’s a part of me that’s analytical, and an even bigger part that’s creative. Marketing appealed to both.”

Moving to “completely new territory-- the Midwest,” Laura accepted a marketing communications role at General Mills. There, she worked on two snack brands, Larabar and Food Should Taste Good, before rotating to a sales marketing role in Philadelphia. “My biggest lesson during that time? The critical importance of relationship building,” says Laura.

Addressing the “triple bottom line”

After a stint in ecommerce with Zarbee’s Naturals (now a consumer brand of Johnson & Johnson), Laura turned her attention to an MBA. “I saw big gaps in the pursuit of the ‘triple bottom line: finding ways to use business to benefit people, profits, and the planet. A lot of companies don’t bring the three together.”

Seeking the skills necessary to lead companies toward all three objectives, Laura came to HBS. “There are business skills I need to refine in accounting, finance, and leadership,” she says. “The network is also important. This is a place where I could very well meet potential investors and partners. To add to that, HBS has such far reach and brand recognition. As a first-generation Hispanic woman, the HBS degree gives me the extra credibility I need to make and influence change in this world.”

Laura is active in the Latino Student Organization (LASO), the Women’s Student Association (WSA), and the Marketing & Advertising Club. “The people here are important to me. I had initially thought they would be unapproachable, but I feel so welcomed and supported by my classmates.”

This summer, Laura will intern with Proctor & Gamble as a brand and general management intern, and plans on working in the CPG industry after graduation, with a long-term ambition to start her own business.

“I almost didn’t apply here because I didn’t think I’d get accepted – why waste time on a long shot? But I’m glad I accepted the risk and took a chance. My advice: aggressively chase your dreams. Don’t self-select yourself out of an opportunity because you think you might not qualify.”