Q&A: Arturo Herrera (MBA’23) and Carlos Rivas Sepulveda (MBA’23) on Celebrating Latin American Heritage Through Community
Georgetown McDonough joins the nation in commemorating Hispanic Heritage Month. To celebrate, we are spotlighting several of our exceptional students of Hispanic heritage in the McDonough community who are creating impact and exemplifying the Georgetown spirit through their academics, careers, and personal lives.
As co-presidents of the Latin American Business Association (LABA), Carlos Rivas Sepulveda (MBA’23) and Arturo Herrera (MBA’23) aim to promote Hispanic culture and heritage through programming with fellow McDonough MBA students. LABA provides social events, international trips, and fundraising efforts to help foster community among Latin American students in the MBA program and celebrate the diversity of Georgetown McDonough.
What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?
Herrera: Hispanic Heritage Month is a great way to celebrate the contributions that the Hispanic American community has provided to American culture. It is also a great opportunity to be surrounded by our culture through events, food, and other things that my Latin American peers and I miss from home.
Rivas Sepulveda: This month is a great opportunity for us to celebrate our diversity and recognize its importance in a society as culturally diverse as the United States. Hispanic Heritage Month is not celebrated in Mexico, which is where I am from, so this is the second year I have experienced it since moving to the states. Hispanic Heritage Month has allowed me to understand and appreciate the differences amongst both countries, while also seeing their similar values firsthand. I love that all of the nations represented throughout this month tend to have warm characteristics, which includes placing significant importance on time spent with friends and family.
Why did you choose to pursue your MBA at Georgetown McDonough?
Herrera: Georgetown was the perfect mix of a quality education, a city with many professional opportunities, and a diverse student body. Furthermore, I was part of the Jesuit education system for 11 years during my childhood, and I knew that a Jesuit school was what I needed to become a better, well-rounded professional after graduation.
Rivas Sepulveda: First of all, I knew I wanted to pursue my MBA in a big city in the United States that had cultural diversity. When researching schools, I fell in love with Georgetown and its commitment to developing holistic leaders that have a global perspective. On top of that, its prime location ensured I would learn from top leaders at the intersection of business and policy.
Are there any professors or mentors in the McDonough community that have made an impact on your experiences at Georgetown?
Herrera: I’ve met great professors that have sparked my interest and curiosity in subjects I wasn’t familiar with prior to taking their courses. This semester, I am taking the Ethical Leadership class with Professor Peter Jaworski, and I feel that he explains and teaches the class in a way that will resonate in my mind throughout the rest of my career.
Rivas Sepulveda: I have never engaged with a more prepared and caring professor as Professor Lee Pinkowitz. He made sure that people from different professional backgrounds understood finance concepts and constantly offered assistance and support for those who were struggling with the material. While his class was very demanding and time consuming, it gave me and the rest of the students the knowledge required to succeed and he used different pedagogical techniques to ensure this was achieved.
How has your involvement on the board of the Latin American Business Association (LABA) enriched your Georgetown experience and helped you reach your personal and professional goals?
Herrera: LABA has provided me with a platform to meet people with different degree backgrounds and schools. One of my goals for my time as an MBA student was to meet people, and I have been fortunate to be part of the Latin American community at Georgetown and to help it continue to grow as a board member of LABA.
Rivas Sepulveda: LABA has allowed me to meet an amazing group of people and create relationships that will last for a lifetime. My friends have become my support system away from home and we have shared good and bad times together. In a professional sense, I have seen how the access to the alumni network is really a key and vital component of the LABA experience. Our mentors are always happy to help, schedule coffee chats, and share job opportunities at the companies they work at.
How does LABA seek to create community at McDonough?
Herrera: We try to focus on building a strong LatinAmerican community across Georgetown. We believe that a mix of social and community events is the best way to achieve that. We will have our annual LABA party later this month as well as a fundraiser for TECHO in partnership with Barry’s Bootcamp!
Rivas Sepulveda: LABA focuses on social and volunteer events that create an opportunity for members to engage with their peers and get to know each other better outside of the classroom. Social events range from happy hours to our traditional annual LABA party.
What is one of your favorite memories with the members of the LABA community?
Herrera: One of my favorite LABA events happened earlier this semester when we hosted first-year MBA students from Latin America. Through this event, we were able to get to know each other better and talk about personal and professional interests.
Rivas Sepulveda: Last year, we organized a trip to Colombia where members and friends of the LABA community were able to join. Throughout those seven days, we explored Medellin and Cartagena, ate delicious food, and more importantly, created an amazing bond and lifelong friendships.