Babson MBAs Take Miami by Storm
This year, two MBA students were awarded the Graduate Affinity Scholarship to participate in the annual Miami Treks and Connect event. Pedro Dorta (MBA’18) and Eduardo Patitucci Saieh (MBA’17) share their impressions of the events in a two part blog. If you are interested in learning more about the Babson Miami Treks or the Graduate Affinity Scholarship, feel free to contact Lily Awad.
Part 1: #Babson@Miami, Pedro’s Perspective
By Pedro Dorta, Graduate Affinity Scholar and MBA Candidate, 2018
The experience of travelling to Miami to connect with Babson alumni and hearing about their success stories after graduating from Babson has been an eye opener. I am very glad I decided to take a leap at this opportunity and I am also very thankful to Babson for having granted me the Affinity Conference Scholarship which helped alleviate much of the travel expenses. The application for the scholarship, although a selective process, is quick and incentivizes student to take advantage of the networking experiences that Babson offers outside the school.
At Miami, we started off the day at the Apple Latin America offices. Due to stringent security policies, we were asked to keep all details of our trek confidential and to refrain from taking any pictures. Fair enough. At Apple, we were treated to various presentations from the enterprise team, training team, leadership team and finance team including a Babson MBA alumni, Andre Kita. Through these presentations I learned about the Apple culture which values the entrepreneurial spirit in the day to day of the business. Afterwards, we had a brief Q&A where each member of the Apple team kindly took their time to respond to our questions.
Our meeting at Apple ended at 12:30. We then had an hour and a half to prepare ourselves for our next meeting at Transcendent Investment Management where we would be greeted by Juan Zuluaga (MBA’16). Juan provided us with seats at his conference room where we had a very casual conversation about what it was that he did and what his company excelled at, followed by a brief Q&A. We were all very thankful to Juan and his team for taking their time to talk to us and to open their doors to us.
Early in the evening, we all gathered at the East hotel in Brickell, where we attended the Babson Connect event. This event brings together alumni, students, prospective students and friends of the college. There, we shared drinks with many Babson alumni and told stories of our experiences at Babson as well as our goals and aspirations. Meeting with Babson alumni was definitely a great experience. There are so many people that have graduated from Babson, understand where you’re coming from, and are more than willing to extend a helping hand. It was a very humbling experience, especially because we were able to connect with so many different people from so many different backgrounds with so many important pieces of advice to offer.
Suffice to say that the first day was very action packed. The next day would not be so different. We started off at 9 am with a visit to the Lafise Group’s downtown Miami office where we were greeted by two Babson alumni – Marcela Zamora Eraña and Eduardo Eraña. They are currently part of the second generation that is running the Lafise Group. And they are also married! At their offices they told us about their line of business and how they are involved in many Latin American countries. Their best days are when they can have a breakfast meeting at Panama, a lunch meeting at Costa Rica, and a dinner meeting at Nicaragua.
We finished the day with our last visit to the Latin American offices of Visa where we were greeted by many Babson alumni, including Gilberto Chaparro-Vega (MBA’11) and Juan Mendoza (MBA’13). They gave us some important advice about what the Visa culture entails and how to be diligent with our resumes and interviews in order to land a successful job. They also explained how important it is to stay connected to the Babson alumni network. Later on, we were surprised with a visit from Eduardo Coello – the president of Visa Latin America. Eduardo kindly took time from his busy day to talk to us about what Visa does and how it is using cutting edge technology to innovate ways in which we conduct business transactions.
Overall, this experience was very eye opening as well as very humbling. Seeing so many Babson alumni take time away from their busy schedules to welcome us into their offices and explain to us what it is they do was very overwhelming in a positive way. Such gestures of kindness only makes you want to excel in what you do. It also showcases the importance of first impressions as well as the power of networking. As Babson students, we are very lucky to have access to such a huge network of alumni that are more than willing to help us, and as future alumni, we must uphold the same traditions and put forth the same amount of effort those before us have done. By following these traditions, we pay respect to the Babson name and all the things that Babson College has provided us with. Once again, I’d like to thank all the alumni who took their time to talk to us as well as the Graduate School dean for providing the Graduate Affinity Scholarship and the Graduate Center for Career Development for organizing the treks. I am grateful that Babson provides the space for students to grow and develop as professionals and as future leaders.
Part 2: #Babson@Miami, Eduardo’s Perspective
By Eduardo Patitucci Saieh, Graduate Affinity Scholar and MBA Candidate, 2017
Miami was the perfect location for Babson’s January Connect. With its warm weather, it served as a brief escape to the freezing temperatures of New England. Miami a city that continuously reinvents itself, offers enormous opportunities to Babson Grads that are looking for new and interesting careers in Latin America. The Babson Miami Connect offered current students the opportunity to meet industry experts and be participants in panel discussions. Company treks to Apple, Visa, Lafise Group, and Transcendent Investment Management showed us the importance of the Latin American markets in the American economy.
The Babson Connect in Miami was a great educational experience where we got to participate in a panel with industry experts such as Carlos Herrera, Chief Operating Officer Aeropost Network, Julie Greiner, Former Chief Corporate Officer, Macy’s Inc. and Vanessa Valera Nolte, Co-founder Holstein Housewares. We also had the opportunity to meet alumni, prospective students, and business owners.
On our first trek day we visited Apple and Transcendent Investment Management. At Apple we were greeted my Manny Cernuda, Account Executive for LATAM and Claudia Allouche, Sr. Recruiter LATAM who gave us an amazing presentation about the culture at Apple on how Finance plays an important role on their strategy and how the LATAM markets are managed from the Miami HQ. It was incredible to see that even though apple is a multinational company with a Market Cap of almost 700 Billion dollars they still operate as a startup. At Transcendent Investment Management we had the immense pleasure to talk to the Founder and CEO Jordan Kavana. Mr. Kavana explained to us in great detail how his company was able to be successful through a unique business model and how it evolved to from “Fix and Flip” to “buy and hold” as market conditions changed.
On day two we visited the offices of Visa and Lafise group. At Visa we were greeted by the Lead recruiter Aldo Ferri and Sr. Business Leader, Gilberto Chaparro (MBA’11). Mr. Gilberto gave us an excellent presentation on all the services Visa currently offers and the future of payments. As IoT builds a network between every high tech gadget we interact with on a daily basis, payments will be made more seamlessly and from any device. At Lafise Group we learn how a small family company can grow to become one of the biggest banks and insurance companies in Central America. One of the key takeaways was that in order to grow your company the most important aspect is the people you surround yourself with. People are the key for growth and without the proper people in the right place your company will never achieve to the next level.
What we all learned from the Miami Treks and the Babson Connect is the importance of networking and its impact on our careers. Having a big a diverse network will always have an impact on your job search success and growth within an organization. It was a great opportunity to attend the Miami connect and the company treks and it is all thanks to the Graduate Affinity Scholarship that made it all possible.