Student Spotlight: Samuel Lopez (MSBA’22)

Samuel participating in the groundbreaking of the renovation of the Federal Reserve Martin Building

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Hometown
I was born and raised in New York City (Bushwick in Brooklyn, and Richmond Hill in Queens).

Fun Fact
I’m an Air Force Veteran and before retraining into contract management, I worked as an ejection seat (Egress) technician on the F-22, F-15, F-16, and B-52 aircraft. As a teen, I also worked for Planet Hollywood in New York City and managed to personally insult (accidentally) Charlie Sheen during a movie publicity event.

What is something we should know about you? 
I come from a family of plumbers and I’m the first person in my family to graduate from college and get a master’s degree.
 

What is the closest thing to real magic?  
The closest thing to real magic is weather forecasting. People always seem to complain when the meteorologist is off by a few degrees or if it rained when it looked like it wouldn’t. When you really think about it, we are asking these people to actually see into the future. I still think it’s amazing how close they can get just by reviewing weather patterns.

Why did you choose Georgetown? 

Georgetown McDonough is world renowned and has a great reputation for global leadership. I live and work in the Greater D.C area, and Georgetown is widely respected and has a large alumni base in this area. I also truly appreciate the Jesuit educational experience of developing the whole person. 

What opportunities of growth as a class representative have enhanced your MSBA experience?

As class representative, I have immediate exposure to my classmates and that has been beneficial for networking with my cohort and the program leaders. I have been able to put my leadership skills, such as communication, mentoring, and team building into practice. I really love being a resource for my fellow classmates and it has been a rewarding experience personally for me.

What has been your favorite class? 

It is still early in the program so it’s unfair to pick a favorite so soon, but being new to programming, I really enjoy the problem solving aspects of programming. 

Is there a particular person or moment that helped shape your experience into what it is today? 

This is such a great cohort. Everyone is so helpful and willing to help each other out or give a word of encouragement. It’s impossible to pick a single person at this point. 

In my life more generally, there were two moments that significantly shaped my life: The first was the birth of my daughter. Having a child gives a new perspective and profound meaning to my life that I cannot replace. The second was enlisting in the U.S/ Air Force. The Air Force was a rewarding experience for me and it helped shape my career.

How has your experience in the inaugural MSBA cohort at McDonough preparing you for your postgraduate journey? 

Working for a premier economics and finance institution, data plays a central role in our organization’s function. As a contracts professional, my division has also embraced the data mindset, and the program is already paying dividends. The lessons and techniques are what are used in the real world and I have been able to quickly apply my learning at work. Additionally, once I had added Georgetown to my resume and LinkedIn, I have already begun to be recruited by head-hunters and hiring managers.

What advice would you give to incoming cohorts? 

The program is fast-paced and rigorous, so the sooner you can get a head start on things, the better you will do. Before starting, if you are not very familiar with advanced stats and programming, use online resources to brush up on statistics, and programming in R, Tableau and Python as the program is fast paced and it’s easy to fall behind. The course is very team-based and I highly recommend that when completing assignments,  in the beginning, you should play to your strengths and let other team members play to theirs, and divide the work in that fashion. Once everyone gets comfortable with each other, it will be easier to stretch into areas you want to develop. 

Lastly, don’t forget to have fun. The more fun you have with your teammates, the more productive you will be.