Sophia Estermann (MBA’23) on the Value of a Support System as an MBA Student
As the spring semester comes to a close, Georgetown McDonough is pleased to commemorate the accomplishments of the Class of 2023. This year’s graduating class demonstrated immense commitment, discipline, and determination to reach this milestone, and we are proud to recognize their achievements as they embark on their next chapter as Hoya alumni. To celebrate, we’re spotlighting several of the exceptional students in the Class of 2023 as they share their personal stories, reflect on their time on the Hilltop, and preview what the future holds after commencement.
Sophia Estermann (MBA’23) has encountered many opportunities for personal growth over the past several years in the MBA program. She traveled to the Middle East on her Global Business Experience, led student organizations, navigated the career search process with the McDonough Career Center and her mentor, and fostered many new relationships on campus. Through these experiences, the soon-to-be graduate is ready to tackle this next chapter of her life at a global strategy consulting firm in Mexico City.
Here, Estermann reflects on her time at McDonough and encourages new MBA students to seek out friendships, mentors, and community to make the most of their experience at Georgetown.
What is your favorite memory or proudest moment from your time at Georgetown?
I recently received the Dean’s Citation Award, which recognizes students’ service and impact on the McDonough community. Receiving this award humbly celebrates my achievement of what I set out to accomplish two years ago. When I started the MBA program, my goal was to actively contribute to the community and engage in various roles. Among the roles I took on, I am particularly proud of two: 1) serving as one of two Forte Ambassadors and supporting initiatives to have more women leading, and 2) working as a peer advisor for the McDonough Career Center, where I advised over 100 MBA and Master’s in Management students interested in consulting, technology, and consumer products.
How has the Global Business Experience enhanced your learning beyond the classroom?
Participating in the Global Business Experience (GBE) in Dubai was incredibly memorable. In terms of personal growth, it allowed me to explore a new and vibrant culture in the Middle East. The GBE results in different lessons for different people, and personally, it provided a glimpse into the world of consulting, which aligns with my post-MBA job. The most significant aspects for me were: 1) the opportunity to work with a real client in an industry that was unfamiliar to me, 2) the ability to deliver impactful presentations and actionable recommendations, and 3) to acquire tools and best practices for collaborating with diverse and high-achieving team members.
How do you plan to apply the skills you have learned at Georgetown in the next phase of your career?
Georgetown students are known for their resourcefulness, preparedness, and collaborative nature. In the next phase of my career, I intend to leverage these skills to navigate dynamic work environments and seize opportunities for growth. Drawing upon the knowledge and experiences gained at Georgetown, I will tackle complex problems, employ critical thinking, and find innovative solutions for my clients. Additionally, I will remain proactive and adaptable, utilizing the preparedness trait I developed to tackle challenges effectively. Finally, Georgetown’s collaborative culture has reinforced my approach to teamwork and communication, which will enable me to actively engage with colleagues, stakeholders, and diverse perspectives to foster a collaborative work environment, promote synergy, and achieve collective goals.
What is one of the most important lessons you have learned while at Georgetown?
One of the most crucial lessons I learned during my time at Georgetown is the importance of prioritization. Early on in the MBA program, it became evident that there aren’t enough hours in the day to attend all events and activities. The choices we make impact various aspects of our lives, such as the quality of our relationships, academic performance, recruiting efforts, and our overall well-being. Georgetown has helped me reflect on core values, develop analytical skills, and establish a methodology for prioritizing what truly matters and making high-quality decisions. As we advance in our careers, decisions become more complex and impact more people besides ourselves and I am confident that this lesson will serve me well.
Is there a particular person in the Georgetown community that has been instrumental to your success?
This is a hard question to answer. I believe the MBA program is not an individual journey, and I was fortunate to have so many people as part of my support system. My classmates played a fundamental role in helping me navigate academics, social aspects, and recruiting processes. Professors, teaching assistants, career advisors, peer advisors, and the MBA Program Office were all important resources that I reached out to multiple times during the past two years. I would also like to highlight the significant impact of my mentor, Alejandro Zuzenberg (MBA’99). We were introduced through the Hoya Gateway 2021- 2022 MBA Mentorship Program, and right from the beginning of my journey, he helped me make sense of the job market, understand my professional competitive advantages, and clarify my career goals. With his guidance, I gained a better understanding of my priorities and initiated a process of serious reflection that led me to the decision of pursuing roles in Latin America.
What are your post-graduate plans?
I am thrilled to join a global strategy consulting firm at their Mexico City office in August.
What advice would you give to the next class of Georgetown students?
My advice would be to actively work on building meaningful relationships with the people you will connect with during your MBA journey. Members of the Georgetown community can play a vital role in your success, personal growth, and happiness level. Secondly, recognize that these two years will be intense, so it is essential to quickly identify what helps you recharge your energy. Taking care of yourself is crucial to maintaining a healthy balance (and it’s a marathon!). Lastly, recruiting can be a significant source of stress, especially for international students. Therefore, I recommend starting to think about your career goals early and creating a game plan even before the beginning of the program. By preparing in advance and seeking guidance, you can navigate the recruitment process more effectively and make informed decisions about your future career path.