“Happy, optimistic and analytical person who thinks that success is a process and not the goal at the end of the road.”
hometown: Bogota Colombia
Fun fact about you: A misunderstanding in a conversation with my mother led me to show up in my soccer outfit and Crocs to a social event attended by a respected former president of Colombia. It was very embarrassing at the moment, but quite funny now a few years later!
Elementary school and major: Los Andes University, Industrial Engineer
Last employer and job title: Coca-Cola FEMSA, Head of Financial Planning
What makes Atlanta such a great place to get an MBA? Atlanta has the combination of social and work-related characteristics that make it the ideal place for an MBA. First, it’s a metropolitan population of 6 million going through a major growth and thriving process where most Fortune 1000 companies have either offices or headquarters. For me, that means a great job and business opportunities. Secondly, it is a very pleasant city with an exceptionally active social life and distinctive personality where one never gets bored, and reasonable cost of living perfect for an MBA student’s life moment. Third, to keep it short, it’s the greenest city I’ve ever been to, so you get the social life of a big city while enjoying the trees and nature of a rural place.
Apart from your classmates and your location, What was the most important part of Emory Goizueta’s MBA program that made you choose this business school and why was it so important to you? For me, the two attributes that set Goizueta MBA apart from other top programs are its unique leadership approach and purposefully small class size. GBS takes leadership education very seriously and evaluates it holistically, structured around three pillars: academic, experiential and reflective. What I like most is the adventure trail, which includes activities like Fort Benning and sailing on a boat in the British Virgin Islands as a final activity for the Goizueta Advanced Leadership Academy (GALA) program. You can also earn the Certificate of Advanced Leadership by taking an additional graduate course that combines academic and extracurricular leadership experiences. The combination of the different activities and programs focused on leadership offers a unique experience for the students in this field.
On the other hand, Goizueta MBA’s small class size (by design) offers a specially personalized experience where everyone (staff and students) will call you by your name. You will get to know your classmates well and develop deep relationships with some of them that result in a highly collaborative culture. In addition, due to the supervisory relationship, you have remarkably individual access to all MBA services (career management, professors, etc.).
What class, club or activity excites you the most at Emory Goizueta? The course would be Strategy Management because I want to strengthen this area the most during my MBA and learn a structured approach. The Goizueta Consulting Association is the club that excites me the most because it will be fundamental for me to learn how to look for a job in the USA, which is one of the tasks I am preparing for as an international student most pleased. The activity that excites me the most is sailing a boat in the sea with my group at the end of the GALA course.
Describe your greatest achievement in your career so far: The greatest achievement of my career so far has been contributing to the “new era” in the relationship between The Coca-Cola Company (KO) and Coca-Coca FEMSA Colombia, which began with a new strategic agreement to pursue a common holistic strategy and to align the incentives of the two companies from 2020 to 2022, which will guarantee profitable and equitable growth for the whole system. With this precedent, the agreement evolved in 2021 not only for Colombia but for all countries in FEMSA and extended to 2025. My role in this process was to evaluate and reconcile with KO the financial data resulting from the plans and Strategies resulted designed by commercial and marketing teams that ensure FEMSA achieves commercial goals. My responsibility was also to implement the agreement and ensure that the revenue was correctly distributed between the two companies. These types of agreements are a significant competitive advantage for the Coca-Cola system and will be the future of the bottler’s business model.
How has COVID-19 changed your perspective on your career and life in general? COVID has changed many things in business and life in general. For me, the biggest change in life would be not taking the opportunities for face-to-face interaction for granted and instead appreciating them. While administrative tasks can be completed 100% virtually, some face-to-face interactions are required to maintain a culture and build deep personal relationships. From my point of view, the challenge for companies and executives is to find this balance between virtual and face-to-face work.
What made you decide to do an MBA at this point, and what are your hopes after you graduate? There are several reasons for me to do an MBA, but the main ones are the structuring of my leadership, networking opportunities, the global business mindset I want to acquire and the skills (strategy, negotiation and problem solving) I want to develop. For me it is the perfect timing, both professionally and privately. I’ve been working for 6 years, the last 2 of which led a team of 3, so I’m looking to improve my leadership skills to be able to lead larger teams in positions of higher responsibility and start building my profile as a General Manager. Also, I have no significant commitments or ties in Colombia that prevent me from going to the US. In the long term, I would like to become Country Manager at one of the major players in the CPG industry in Latin America. So my internship and full time post MBA job will be geared towards that goal and it could be either a strategy consultancy or with a CPG company as part of their strategic planning team.
What other MBA programs have you applied to? I’ve applied to Chicago Booth, Kellogg, Yale and Cornell. I was included in the last 3.
What advice would you give to help potential applicants get accepted into Emory Goizueta’s MBA program? My advice is be yourself and tell your story with passion because there is no typical Goizueta MBA student. This unique experience and background you bring is the reason you are admitted and the value you add to the course. The other advice is to give yourself plenty of time to think and plan your application, as it is a process that requires a lot of introspection and reflection on why this is the right program for you at this moment in your life.