I’m from Bogota, Colombia, and was living there before beginning my MBA at Kelley.
You had worked in several different corporate financial roles before you joined the MBA program. What motivated you to return to graduate school for your MBA?
I spent a significant amount of time working in my family’s business right before Kelley. When I started thinking about continuing my career elsewhere, I realized I was missing something in my background and an MBA seemed to be the right next step.
I wasn’t really sure about what I wanted to do after graduation but I knew an MBA would open doors in different directions, so for me, it was also about learning about what drives me and understanding where my skills can be a differentiating factor. Two years at Kelley helped me gain perspective to be able to make better career choices.
What factors led you to choose Kelley over other MBA programs?
I researched a good number of schools before making my decision, and I met a lot of people at MBA fairs and events. Plus, I did a lot of reading on my own. After having the opportunity to attend experience weekend in Bloomington, Kelley captivated me with a balance of great education, solid career opportunities, and a welcoming team-oriented environment. I felt I could achieve my goals at Kelley while at the same time enjoy my MBA time to the fullest before going back to “real life”.
What was it like to be an international student at Kelley and in Bloomington, Indiana?
In the beginning, I was a little hesitant about going to the Midwest but at the same time, I thought it would be an opportunity for me as an international student to differentiate myself.
Bloomington surprised us in a great way, it’s such a great little town filled with people, culture, and cuisine from all over the world. My memories from there always bring a smile to my face, not only because my daughter was born there, but just because the town has so much to offer. Additionally, the Latino community during my time at Kelley was incredible. I had a great time and made friendships that I’m sure will last a lifetime.
What were the most impactful aspects of your experience at Kelley, and what made them so?
Firstly, career services and Me, Inc: As difficult as it was for me to adjust to the intense US recruitment culture, the career coaching I received made a huge difference in my ability to sell my story to the companies that I wanted to work for. I used to joke with my wife that I had become an “interview machine” after so much time spent preparing for it at Kelley. It wasn’t easy, but to this day, the skills I acquired back then continue to help me in my career
Second, going back to balance, Kelley was a great combination of top-notch education, meaningful career opportunities, and a great environment to spend your MBA years in.
Tell us a bit about your career since leaving Kelley (including your current employer and title) and how your Kelley experience has prepared you to accomplish all that you’ve done.
I joined PwC’s M&A advisory practice right after Kelley working out of the Dallas office, where I spent around 2.5 years doing post-M&A integration and divestiture work, helping companies capture value out of their M&A transactions. I had the opportunity to work on several multi-billion-dollar deals while working with top executives from some of the largest companies in the US.
I was then recruited by Millicom, which is a telecommunications company with operations in Latin America and Africa. Under its Tigo brand, it’s one of the largest telecom companies in Latam and one of the best employers in the region. I started as a Chief of Staff to the Group’s Chief Technical and Information Officer helping him manage his interactions and communications with high profile stakeholders in the company and industry. After that, I spent about a year traveling to Central America where I led the synergy realization program for Millicom’s acquisition of Telefonica Movistar operations in Nicaragua and Panama.
Currently, I am Head of Global Investment Strategy at Millicom, based in Miami, and I’m responsible for the capital allocation process of more than $1 billion in capital deployed every year in Latin America and Africa.
What’s one piece of advice that you’d offer to a prospective student who is considering coming to Kelley for an MBA?
There’s no doubt Kelley will provide a lot of tools and open opportunities to boost your career, but you must do your part. Especially when it comes to recruiting, you must be willing to put in the work and keep an open mind to any opportunities that could present to you.
This not only means dedicating quality time every day to look for the right job opportunity, but also avoid over-idealizing your next career move. Too often I saw fellow classmates turn down recruiting processes without even researching the opportunity in detail. Your next job is important but remember, chances are it will be just another stepping stone in your career, and there are many ways to get to your goal.