Our Stories

Picking a Winner from Another Continent

Vanderbilt proves the right choice for Ecuadorian financial analyst

Alejandra Martinez
Generalist Associate, McKinsey & Co., Bogota, Colombia

Vanderbilt MBA 2019

Picking an MBA program isn’t easy—especially if you’re on another continent and don’t have an opportunity to visit the campus. Fortunately for Alejandra Martinez—who was working as a financial analyst in her native Quito at the time—she was able to talk with a couple of fellow Ecuadorians and Owen alumni who recommended the school to her.

Even without a personal visit, she could do her own research. “I saw an article in Poets & Quants that talked about the Vanderbilt MBA being ‘one to watch,’” she says. So Alejandra applied, and Vanderbilt’s response sealed her decision. “The scholarship I got,” she admits, “was hard to turn down.”

With six students from Latin America in her class, Alejandra notes, “we have a good support network of people from our culture.” At the same time, that number is small enough, she says, “that we definitely need to open up and get to know everyone in our class. This has allowed me to build great relationships with people who don’t speak my language and grew up in a completely different place.

“I know that, in other schools, Latinos tend to form their own group and rarely hang out with people outside of it. At Vanderbilt, I’ve been able to meet people who take me out of my comfort zone, and I’ve had the opportunity to travel, party, talk, work out, and work with people who teach me a lot about the human condition and how we are all similar.”

While she’s headed back to South America after graduation (though to Colombia rather than Ecuador), she’s not the same person who arrived in 2017. “The MBA has changed me completely,” Alejandra says. “I wouldn’t be going to the job I’m going to without Vanderbilt, and it has opened my eyes to numerous different life choices I could take—some of which had never crossed my mind before.”

Fun Fact: Alejandra dated her husband for seven years before they married—and he came with her from Ecuador to Nashville.

The MBA has changed me completely.