2015 Best EMBA: Veronica Carrera

Veronica Carrera Revised

Veronica Carrera

Cornell University, Johnson Graduate School of Management

How do you know that you’ve sold yourself? Just have a VC tell you, “I’m still not sure there is a strong need for your product, but you as a presenter, as the CEO of a company, I would invest my money in you anytime.” Not surprisingly, Veronica Carrera came up through the ranks of Bloomberg in sales. Aspiring to both move into executive management and inspire minorities, Carrera is described by Beta Mannix, the school’s associate dean for executive education, as a resource to her peers in the program, truly caring about each classmate and giving of her time. And she does it always with “a smile on her face.” Recently promoted to an execution consultant at Bloomberg Tradebook, Carrera is also a motivational speaker and triathlete.

Age: 45

Location: New York, New York.

Family Members: My grandmother, Maria

Undergraduate School: Brigham Young University

Undergraduate Degree: French

Where are you currently working? I am an Execution Consultant at Bloomberg Tradebook

“I knew I wanted to go to business school when…I listened to a Cornell Professor Risa Mish teach during an info session. She is incredible. When I sat in the conference room and listened to her presentation, she reminded me what I wanted to do all along, which was to pursue an MBA program.” 

“If I hadn’t gone to business school, I would be…doing more of the same.” 

What are your long-term professional goals? As I advance in the financial service world and become a global executive, I want to find a way to work on building businesses in developing countries- work on the overall strategy and ultimately better people’s lives.  Also, I want to make my life’s purpose to inspire minorities- especially our young people and women. I want them to have better access to information and inspire them to obtain more opportunities in life through higher education.

Favorite Courses: Business Strategy, Managerial Finance, Managing & Leading Organizations, Valuation, Critical Thinking, Innovation, and Executive Leadership. 

Which academic or professional achievements are you most proud of? I have held many different positions within Bloomberg over the last 15 years. I have been in sales, in leadership roles and now new to the execution consultant role.

When I was in sales I obtained the highest ranking, globally, and found great joy serving my clients. For me, selling has always been about listening deeply to another person in order to make a true connection and add real value to their business. Also, because of my language skills, French, Spanish & Portuguese, I had to learn to discuss the financial markets with these clients and what their needs were in all these different languages, which made my job more exciting.

When a new CEO stepped in, I had the opportunity to present him with an idea I was really enthused about—to co-produce a marketing video with Bloomberg’s TV producer. The CEO let me run with it and the outcome was incredible. The video was very well-received globally and the President of Bloomberg requested to use it for one of his speeches at a community event.

One of the roles I took on was as a manager of a division that dealt with servicing clients who traded through Bloomberg’s Order Management System. I was the first Latino woman to hold this position in this group. While this was one of the most difficult times of my career, I was at the same time privileged to manage a group of people who were fun, dynamic and ambitious. I learned a lot from them.

Most recently, I was offered a position as an Execution Consultant to work with a wonderful group of people who are very smart and experienced. This position will require me to go through a great deal of learning, but I take comfort in the fact that my MBA prepared me well for this challenge.

Who would you most want to thank for your success (and why)? First, I want to acknowledge that my faith in God has always helped me move forward in life and helped me to keep things in perspective. But the person I want to acknowledge and thank is my mother, Victoria Mendez, who died when I was nine years old. She was a single mother and I will never forget all her sacrifices and how much value she placed on my education. When I was little, she would test me daily on each homework assignment to make sure I understood the material and she meant business! She has always been underneath all my desires to succeed. My grandmother, Maria, took care of me after my mother died and also prioritized my education. Since an early age I learned to work hard and to maintain clear intentions to achieve any goal.

Because of my upbringing, I acknowledge that so many people lack the support and resources to succeed. Therefore, my purpose in life is not just to push myself to achieve more, but to inspire and work on behalf of minorities in order to lift them up. I am devoted to providing access to information and breaking the barriers that prevent so many from pursuing higher education. Someone said to me once, there are some things we do for ourselves and some things we do for others.

Why did you choose this executive MBA program? Cornell University is without a doubt one of the finest universities in the world. Their commitment to excellence, innovation and education is remarkable. You are not only part of the outstanding reputation and brand that Cornell has so admirably achieved throughout the years but also you are choosing to attend a university that is working earnestly to innovate and shape the future. For example, not only do you have the full time 2-year MBA program, the 1 year accelerated MBA program, and the Executive MBA (EMBA), but now you also have the Cornell Tech MBA. This shows how Cornell is adapting to compete in a data driven digital technology world- Cornell has brought Silicon Valley to the east coast! This is a testament of the incredible commitment to stay ahead of the curve and few can rival this.

Knowing all of this, I started examining whether I was ready to do an MBA. I had just finished competing in an Ironman race at the end of 2012. I enjoyed racing and   being part of a community of athletes. I also enjoyed spending time with friends and I was comfortable with my job, yet I realized that in order to pursue my dreams of affecting positive change on a large scale I had to pursue a higher education. At 44, this was not an easy decision to make, as I looked ahead and realized that some things were really going to have to change and sacrifices would be necessary. So, I visited several great schools and they all seemed to offer something unique. But, when I attended a Cornell EMBA info session I knew there was something different. The feel of it resonated with me at my core. I was impressed by the caliber and humility of the faculty and staff. The info session started with a presentation by one of the superb professors at Cornell, Risa Mish who teaches Critical Thinking. I can only tell you that as I sat there I felt alive- She instilled a fire in me that had been dormant for a while. I then met with the Directors of the program and after a few minutes with them I knew I was home. There was no question in my mind that this is what I needed to do.

What did you enjoy most about the executive MBA program? When I started the Executive MBA program, I had a full time job, commitments to family and friends, varied personal interests and a devotion to fitness. As I embarked on the program I realized I couldn’t do it all. I had to find a way to balance all that I loved and valued while giving myself fully to this program. As I sought this often-elusive balance I learned some powerful lessons about myself, how I needed to learn to be flexible, to pace myself, and to handle challenges with grace. To understand that this experience was like training for a marathon and that I needed to trust the work, trust the training and keep moving forward until I cross the finish line. Despite the difficulty I never lost touch with gratitude: at my core I knew I was being mentored by some of the finest professors in the world. Their approachability and support is a gift that I keep re-opening.

I love that very soon I will be able to look back and say, “I did it.” And to realize that along the way I made some wonderful friends and was transformed by this whole experience.

What is your most memorable moment from business school? The third semester of the MBA we had a class called Innovation. We had to work with our team to create a business idea, develop it and present our idea at the end of the semester in front of our teammates and Venture Capitalists. In one of our first meetings as a team, in one of the weekends we stay in school, around 9 p.m. we locked ourselves in a room and brainstorm to come up with something innovative. One of us was writing on the board as everyone shared their ideas. And then by midnight we thought we had something. We worked the whole semester to develop

this idea of an app we called IBI (Latin for ‘Be There’). We even worked with a developer to help us create a mock up and finally it came to the day of the presentation. The VC’s were sitting in the front as the judges, I think all of us in the room were a bit nervous to present and then it came our team’s turn to present. I love public speaking and giving presentations, but I have to say that one of my teammates encouraged me to give myself additional time to prepare.

As it turned out, I opened our presentation with an emotionally appealing story that illustrated the need of our product, and the team finished off the rest. At the end of the presentation the VC’s asked a lot of questions, but one of their comments brought me to cloud nine. He said, “I’m still not sure there is a strong need for your product, but you as a presenter, as the CEO of a company, I would invest my money in you anytime.”

Fun fact about you:  I love to dance. I have a close circle of friends who I absolutely adore- They are from all over the world and when we get together in one of our homes, we talk, laugh, eat and always put music and dance.

Favorite book: I have a passion for French literature, so I have a few. One of them is “Une si longue lettre.”

Favorite movie: Schindler’s List

Favorite musical performer: Rihanna 

Favorite television show: Shark Tank

Favorite vacation spot: Punta Cana

What are your hobbies? Public Speaking, Ironman triathlons, and watching a good movie.

Twitter Handle: @VCarrera_Porsche

What made Veronica such an invaluable addition to the class of 2015 for your executive MBA program?

There is no doubt that Veronica is an invaluable member of the Class of 2015. Veronica’s enthusiasm is an inspiration! She puts her all in everything she does, both personally and professionally. 

Veronica recently informed us about the new career opportunity that she has within Bloomberg. While finishing the final months of the program, she is taking on new job responsibilities, studying for professional certifications, continuing triathlon training, and participating in her international project.  When describing her new challenges, Veronica speaks with energy and intense gratitude for every opportunity she has been presented. 

Veronica is also a champion for the Cornell Executive MBA Metro New York. She has referred several peers, met with applicants at Open Houses, and spoken with countless candidates while in the program. She is also a resource to her peers in the program, truly caring about each classmate and giving of her time to them. She always does so with care and a smile on her face. 

Executive MBA Programs are challenging. They can be immensely rewarding and intensely stressful all at the same time. Veronica is a shining example of someone who has embraced the opportunity with enthusiasm, determination, and gratitude.” 

Beta Mannix, Associate Dean for Executive Education