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First Peru, Then the World

Leonidas Cuenca gains skills and credentials for global consulting

Leonidas Cuenca
Senior Associate, APOYO Consultorìa

Vanderbilt MBA 2018

Perhaps it was in 2011 that Leonidas Cuenca realized he had an aptitude for consulting. He worked for a firm hired by the Peruvian government to devise a new plan for taxation of the country’s mining industry. The youngest member of the team, Leonidas developed the financial model and tax rates for the firm’s presentation.

When the team’s leader was ill on the day of the big client meeting, Leonidas wound up presenting and successfully defending their proposal to Peru’s prime minister, the minister of economics and the minister of mining. He’s proud that their team’s ideas resulted in new legislation that increased tax collections by $1 billion over four years without damaging the competitiveness of the mining industry.

After that, Leonidas set his sights on a bigger stage. “I majored in Economics in college and have a master’s degree in the subject,” he says. “Those degrees would be enough to work in a Peruvian consulting firm, but not in an international one. An MBA will be the key to opening the door of the international labor market for me.”

Among the reasons he chose Vanderbilt: The “personal scale” and small size of the program, Leonidas, says, meant “I could interact directly with talented faculty and customize my experience to my personal needs.” For example, he says, he’s been able to work as an unpaid intern for a Nashville health care company to learn more about the industry. Meanwhile, interacting with classmates from other parts of the world has improved his knowledge of global business.

Not least, Leonidas says, Vanderbilt’s reputation gives him access to job opportunities from major companies that recruit at Owen. In fact, at the end of his first year, he landed an internship with one of them: Deloitte Consulting.

Fun Fact: Leonidas has fed tigers and walked with a lion in a Buenos Aires zoo.

“An MBA will be the key to opening the door of the international labor market for me.”