Meet the MBA Class of 2023: Maria Espitia, University of Washington (Olin)

“Latin-born, resilient, intuitive with a positive attitude and always looking to help others.”

Hometown: Monteria, Colombia

Fun fact about yourself: Although I was born in Colombia, the first language I learned was English when my parents moved to the United States. I learned Spanish when we moved back to Colombia when I was 8 years old.

Undergraduate School and Major: College of Estudios Superiores de Administración (CESA), Business Administration

Most recent employer and job title: Project Manager at Arrendar SAS

What has been your favorite part of St. Louis so far? What made it such a great place to get an MBA? Forest park. While St Louis offers a wide range of activities such as a botanical garden, zoo, and museums, among others, Forest Park has been my favorite spot since my first visit. It is popularly known as the “heart of Saint-Louis”. I like to go to Forest Park to play tennis and take long walks; it helps me not to think about school while enjoying the beautiful scenery.

You will complete your Global Immersion next spring (Update: Class of 23 is now scheduled to travel in Fall 22). What excites you the most about this trip abroad? I look forward to working with several different companies on different continents to help them solve business problems while learning about new cultures with my classmates.

Aside from your classmates, global immersion and localization, What was the key element of Olin’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school, and why was it so important to you? I sought a school that would provide a tight-knit community to develop strong relationships with classmates and faculty while providing a personalized education, and Olin met the criteria. Its class size allowed me to form close personal bonds with all my classmates and professors, which enriched my knowledge and perspective. In addition, the MBA program starts earlier than most programs, which gives me the advantage of taking foundation courses well before the start of recruiting season, which has allowed me to be better equipped. for interviews.

What class, club or activity have you enjoyed the most so far at Olin? I am the team leader for a consulting project with a company based in St. Louis. Our goal is to determine the financial feasibility of a new service. This experience allowed me to work with a cross-functional team, including members in different countries and time zones, and strengthened my leadership and project management skills.

Describe your biggest achievement in your career so far: I was working at Arrnedar, a real estate company, when COVID hit. It was a difficult time for all of us. We had a lot of tenants who couldn’t afford to pay rent. The owners who depended on us; they needed us to support their business. As we needed to please both parties, tenants and landlords, we renegotiated new rents for 100% of our tenants. A lower rate that would work for them was better than nothing; this was the scenario they faced. As a result, we’ve saved over $200,000 per month for homeowners that we otherwise wouldn’t have received. Most importantly, we have been able to care for people and their families, keeping them in their homes so they don’t have to disrupt their lives. I am very happy that we were able to help the 130 owners, not to mention the 15 employees of the company; we were able to keep them on the payroll. I’m quite proud of it.

Describe your greatest achievement as an MBA student so far: Getting an internship offer from the company of my dreams.

What advice would you give to help potential candidates gain admission to Olin’s MBA program? Focus more on essays and networking and stress less on the GRE. Take the time to network with as many students as possible; these conversations will give you insight into the program that you can’t find online and help you determine if Olin is right for you. During the application process, we tend to believe that the GRE/GMAT score will significantly define the school’s decision. We forget that more of our history needs to be shared; tryouts provide a great opportunity to show who we are and why we would be a good candidate.

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