Career, Executive MBA, Student Profile or Feature

GEMBA Program Enhances Marketing Director’s Global Career

By Brett Twitty-

Jimena Mateo (Class of 2020) was exploring full-time residential MBA programs when she discovered the Darden School, which she placed on her short list of candidates. When a new position at a real estate development company in Costa Rica came along, Mateo put off plans for a residential MBA experience, but the value proposition remained clear. When she began exploring executive programs, the Darden offering again rose to the top, and Mateo joined the Charlottesville-based cohort as a Global Executive MBA student in the Class of 2020. 

What is your current job?

I am a sales and marketing director at a real estate company that is developing one big residential project in Costa Rica.

Why did you decide to pursue an MBA?

Previous to my current job, I worked in advertising and digital marketing for several years. I majored in advertising and graphic design, which is very useful for marketing, but the leadership skills required to manage a growing sales team do not come naturally me. I researched different masters programs, some more specifically focused on real estate, but in the end decided that an MBA would be the most enhancing tool I could acquire both personally and for my current job position.

Why did you choose Darden?

Two years ago, before I was hired for my new job, I was considering pursuing a full-time MBA program. I had a list of several schools I liked because of their programs and locations, and Darden was on this list. However, when I got hired for my job, I figured out the best option would be getting my MBA degree through an executive program. I continued to research schools, and I came to the conclusion that the Executive MBA program at Darden was the best option for me. The mix of online and on-Grounds classes was ideal for my job.

What’s your favorite thing about your classmates so far?

The diversity of professional backgrounds and work situations is very enriching. There are people starting new jobs, switching their job position, some that own their own companies, others that have been working at their company for years. I have worked all my life abroad, and I wanted to learn how different industries in the United States work. Having so many different professions and roles represented in the classroom add tremendous depth to our class conversations.

What are you most excited about accomplishing/doing during the program?

First, I am very grateful for what I have learned so far. I have learned some important tools in the past months that I’ve started applying at work and have proven to be very useful for viewing obstacles with a different perspective. I am excited to see how my increasing knowledge will continue to impact and evolve my work. Since I do not come from a managerial background, the leadership skills obtained from this program will be crucial for my professional development.

What advice do you have for prospective students?

The Darden network is an extremely valuable resource. Classmates, alumni and faculty come from a variety of professional backgrounds, so there is always someone who can help you with something or  who has a project or an idea you can help with. In any Executive MBA program, everyone’s work-life situation is different and can suddenly change, and Darden has an excellent support system.

There is still time to apply for the Executive MBA Class of 2021. Learn more.