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Real Humans of Citi: Elizabeth Jimenez, Dartmouth Tuck MBA’19, Senior Vice President, Strategic Risk

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In this installment of our Real Humans: Alumni series, we meet Elizabeth Jimenez, who is a first-generation high-school, college, and master’s graduate in her family. Her decision to attend Dartmouth Tuck‘s MBA program was fueled by her desire for a more challenging and meritorious career path and the positive experience she had visiting with Tuck students. Read on to find out how Tuck gave Jimenez the tools necessary for her new career in strategy and risk.

Elizabeth Jimenez, Dartmouth Tuck MBA’19, Senior Vice President, Strategic Risk at Citi

Age: 33
Hometown: The Bronx, NY
Undergraduate Institution and Major: Williams College, Political Science and Arabic Studies
Graduate Business School, Graduation Year and Concentration (if applicable): Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, Class of 2019, focused classes on Strategy and Finance
Pre-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 5 years, Government Consulting and Nonprofit Strategic Fundraising
Post-MBA Work Experience (years, industry): 4 years, Financial Services

Why did you choose to attend business school?
I decided to attend business school for several reasons. The biggest reason was career optionality. I knew that nonprofit and government roles would always interest me, but I wanted to move to an industry with greater organic growth that could provide a challenging and meritorious career path. I applied to business school with the intention of going back to nonprofits but was pleasantly surprised with the variety of companies that recruited at business schools, from Whirlpool to Google to General Mills. I am a first-generation high-school, college, and master’s graduate in my family, so every step of the MBA journey has taught me a lot. 

Why Tuck? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to attend? During the application process, Tuck felt the most familiar. I skipped the admissions tour (don’t tell the admissions office!) and had coffee with college friends who were students at Tuck. I felt like I was comfortably back at Williams with like-minded, ambitious, intelligent, and personable classmates. I knew that I could thrive in a smaller class with access to professors, and looked forward to developing deeper bonds with classmates than a commuter program would yield. Also, The Consortium fellowship was a critical piece of my admissions package, and I am incredibly proud to be a Consortium Fellow and Tuck alum.

What about your MBA experience prepared you for your current career?
Tuck’s core curriculum prepared me by providing me with the right tools to crack open any question. In my current role, although I did not take a class specifically on strategic risk management, I can brush off my accounting and corporate finance fundamentals when I need them, or go into problem-solving mode like we did in countless Tuck study groups. At Tuck, I honed the skills of knowing when to ask questions, asking the right questions, and working collectively to arrive at the right answer. Frequent class discussions and presentations in front of 100-plus classmates also helped with executive presence. 

What was your internship during business school? How did that inform your post-MBA career choice?
My business school internship was the Citi Financial Management Associate (FMA) internship, where I focused on Markets business treasury. During my internship I learned about markets’ liquidity and capital management, and these lessons are still incredibly relevant today with news regarding Silicon Valley Bank and Credit Suisse. My internship confirmed that Citi would invest in talent, provide the right culture for growth and lateral movement inside the company, and was large enough to offer myriad growth opportunities. 

Why did you choose your current company? What factors figured most prominently into your decision of where to work?
As a first-generation student in several ways, I was looking for a rare combination in a company: one that invested in hands-on learning, was in an interesting industry, was relatively stable and “safe” in the market, was large enough to offer more than one viable career path and could provide exit options if I had to leave. Citi’s FMA program provided a rotational program that let me see different sides of financial management and helped me build a unique skill set and network. Citi has fulfilled my requirements and a set of strong mentors continue to provide me with new opportunities. 

How has COVID impacted your industry/career plans?
I am lucky to say that COVID has not significantly altered my industry or career plans. The global pandemic, subsequent lockdown, and the continuing repercussions on the macroeconomic environment have been an unprecedented backdrop to learn about risk management at a financial institution. 

Advice to current MBA students:
–One thing you would absolutely do again as part of the job search?
I am very glad that I spent time pre-MBA learning about different industries, via The Consortium, Forte, ROMBA, and other related programs. It helped me see myself in alumni, gain a wider lens upon industries, and deepen networks that remain strong today.

–One thing you would change or do differently?
I would have applied to Toigo and MLT Career Prep, even though the application processes were daunting. I would also have replaced my parallel recruiting of finance and consulting, with finance and tech. Only after graduation, and especially with the pandemic, did I realize the breadth and depth of opportunities in tech. 

–Were there any surprises regarding your current employer’s recruiting process?
I was surprised with how tight-knit the Citi community is despite the organization’s huge size. Senior leaders from my internship days are very familiar with my leadership today, although we are in different departments. It speaks to the merit in building and maintaining a strong work ethic and reputation. 

–What piece of advice do you wish you had been given during your MBA?
I wish someone had told me to be more bold in my applications. I had heard that two-thirds of MBA grads change jobs three years after graduation, and wow has that held true! How would I have interviewed differently, if I knew that my first job out of Tuck would not define me? Possibly learning about other alumni and their circuitous paths would help come to that conclusion.

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.