From giving up apologizing to taking up golf, the business world can hold many challenges for women–and an MBA can provide a toolkit for turning those challenges into opportunities.
That was the message from six Florida International University (FIU) College of Business alumni as they shared experiences and advice at FIU’s first Women’s MBA panel. Held at FIU Downtown at Brickell on November 16, 2014, the event was designed to allow FIU Business graduates from diverse backgrounds to show women like them how to navigate both career and personal success.
“This event was part of our commitment to helping women reach their full potential and develop opportunities in the business community,” said Mike Langley, recruiting manager for Professional MBA programs. “We want to remain Worlds Ahead in attracting diverse, high-quality candidates.”
Insights from participants in the forum:
Paulette Acevedo, (PMBA ’14), Assistant to Deputy Mayor Alina Hudak, Miami-Dade County:
“I had a great mentor in Congress—she was the only Hispanic female Chief of Staff in the U.S. Senate. She reviewed my resume, and explained that I was missing business experience. She asked if I had ever thought about getting my MBA. Now that I have the degree, I understand the MBA’s advantages. Even in government, it’s so helpful when pursuing leadership roles.”
Erbi Blanco-True (PMBA ’10), Consultant, True Consulting Group:
“As the only female on the trading desk at an investment firm, I worked long, hard hours, but struggled to attract clients. That’s because the deals weren’t getting done at the office–they were getting done on the golf course. So, I decided to take golf lessons. I was horrible at the game – but I learned that sometimes you have to play “their” game to succeed in “their” world. By being fearless, I earned clients’ respect, and their business.”
Janine Carro (PMBA ’12) Realtor Associate, EWM Realtors:
“Seven out of the top 10 residential real estate agents in my company are women. I am often told by men that residential real estate is a tough industry to work in because sellers and buyers can be emotional in the decision making process. I think this has something to say about a woman’s emotional intelligence and ability to manage behaviors during business negotiations and transactions.”
Darlene Fernandez (PMBA ’14) Administrator, Dalco Electric, Inc:
“In law school, I was taught to research and analyze, study, and think independently. It’s very isolating. FIU’s MBA engages you in a much different way–you learn from both your professors and classmates. I’m a single parent with two kids at home, so finding the time was a challenge. But if I can do it, others can do it too.”
Melanie Garcia (PMBA ’13) Senior Manager of Business Development, The Latin GRAMMYs:
“Before I received my MBA, I found myself apologizing for things my male counterparts would never even consider apologizing for, like a late email. The MBA gave me a whole new level of confidence. I’m a businesswoman and I’m confident in my abilities. And I’m unapologetic about it.”
Camila Valdez (PMBA ’13) Senior Marketing Manager LATAM, Citrix:
“In business it’s all about taking the conversations to the next level and gaining credibility. The MBA at FIU strengthened my skills and allowed me to better manage those business conversations. I went from marketing a specific product in certain countries to managing the entire Latin America region with a team of very skilled professionals reporting into me.”