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Real Humans of Harvard Business School MBA Class of 2022

Sofia Baqueiro Castillo, HBS MBA Class of 2022

Age: 30
Hometown: Mexico City, Mexico
Undergraduate Institution and Major: B.S in Chemical Engineering, Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico City
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): Uber Program Management, 5 years

Why business school? Why now? 
About 2 years ago I realized I wanted to do a career pivot. Through my career at Uber I realized I wanted to shift into a role closer to product development and that I wanted to do it in the sustainability industry. I decided to pursue an MBA to close the knowledge gap required for a career change, to learn about the industry and how it is positioned globally and to become a well-rounded professional.

Why HBS? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend?
When I was looking at the variety of programs available I looked at the course offerings and how they aligned to my long-term goals. I wanted a program that valued innovation as well as team leadership since those are 2 key attributes for a Product Manager. HBS offered exactly that through it’s globally recognized academic program.

It is my intent to lead teams, I want to ensure that I am a leader that is able to understand different perspectives and that can drive a company’s mission to success. HBS’s mission of educating leaders who make a difference in the world resonated with me, since I aspire to be that type of leader.

What do you think is your most valuable or differentiating contribution to the Class of 2022?
I was lucky to be a people manager for the past 3 years of my career. I can talk about the challenges of navigating a male-dominated industry and how to overcome them. I believe there is still a huge gap to close when it comes to women in leadership positions, especially in emerging markets like Latin America. I believe it’s important to position more women in these roles and I’m excited to not only represent but contribute to that cause.

Fun fact that didn’t get included on your application?
I love Broadway shows! Last year alone I watched Moulin Rouge! 4 times.

Post-MBA career interests?
My ideal job after graduation is as Product Manager within the sustainability industry. I want to lead and collaborate with teams that will develop ground-breaking innovation to solve the climate crisis we face.

Advice to current prospective applicants:

  –One thing you would absolutely do again as part of your application process? 
Visiting the schools was extremely important for my process. Being on campus, sitting down for some classes, and getting to know current students gives you a sense of your overall fit with the school. It can help you answer the questions: do I see myself here? or will I thrive in this environment?

 –One thing you would change or do differently?  
Managing the application process while working 60-hour work weeks is complicated, to say the least. Time management is extremely important. I would encourage prospective students to present the GMAT/GRE as soon as possible, even if you plan to apply to business school in a couple of years so that afterward your energy can be focused on finding the best program for you and telling your amazing story.

  –Part you would have skipped if you could—and what helped you get through it?
The work-life-applications unbalance. For a while, I tried to continue to do everything in my life, but the reality is that throughout the application process you will have to make some tradeoffs. Thinking that you can keep up with everything will lead to burnout. It’s important to constantly evaluate your priorities and stay healthy during the process!

What is your initial impression of HBS’s students/culture/community?
I am extremely grateful for being part of HBS’ Class of 2022. We are a class that embraced challenges and uncertainty by choosing to start this journey during COVID. I have been amazed at the quality of the virtual academics and the will and creativity of my class to build a strong community in these unprecedented times.

One thing you have learned about HBS that has surprised you?
The level of detail and planning that HBS goes into to design the classroom (section) experience. HBS groups people together, all the way to who you sit next to, in order to build extremely diverse classes that will foster peer to peer learning.

Thing you are most anxious about in your first year? 
Building strong connections to my classmates in this COVID world, bringing the spontaneity of the face-to-face world to a virtual setting.  Also, my Finance courses!

Thing you are most excited about in your first year?
I’m extremely excited to connect with people from all over the world, with diverse perspectives, cultures and backgrounds. I’m looking forward to discussing the most important topics we face as future leaders in class while learning from my professors and my peers. Also really looking forward to the beautiful HBS campus in the Fall!

Posted in: Real Humans of MBA Class of 2022, Real Humans of MBA Students

Schools: Harvard Business School

About the Author

Christina Griffith  

Christina Griffith is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia. She specializes in covering education, science, and history, and has experience in research and interviews, magazine content, and web content writing.

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