2023 Best & Brightest Executive MBA: Edgar Iván Núñez Loya, Columbia Business School

Edgar Iván Núñez Loya

Columbia Business School

Age: 33

“Mexican economist with a passion for elevating the finance profession in the automotive industry.”

Hometown: Chihuahua, Mexico. Living in New York City

Family Members: My loving parents, Juan Núñez and Dinora Loya

Fun fact about yourself: I am a foodie and love trying new restaurants and cuisines. I have traveled to over 30 countries and have sampled some of the world’s most exotic cuisines, from street food in Thailand and Israel to Michelin-starred restaurants in France and Turkey.

Undergraduate School and Degree:

* Tecnológico de Monterrey, B.A., Economics, 2011.

* Tilburg University, International Student Exchange Program, Business & Economics, 2011.

* MIT Sloan School of Management, Executive Education, Business Dynamics: The MIT Approach to Solving Complex Business Problems, 2016.

Where are you currently working? Investment Operations Manager at General Motors Investment Management Corporation

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles:

* Awarded Columbia Business School’s Dean’s Honors as part of the EMBA-Global cohort (2023)

* Member of the Columbia Hispanic Business Association (HBA)

* Member, Columbia Student Investment Management Association (CSIMA)

* Contributor to the 26th Annual CSIMA Conference organized by Columbia’s Heilbrunn Center for Graham & Dodd Investing in New York City

* Ambassador Student (and now Alum) of Columbia Business School’s EMBA Global Admissions efforts, including information sessions, networking events, and interviews with prospective students

* Company Recruiter (General Motors) at Columbia Business School’s Fall 2022 Career Fair

* Student Representative at the Global Travel Task Force (the London Business School) in planning global business experiences for EMBA students as part of the post-pandemic recovery (2021-2022)

* Lead APM & DEI efforts at GM’s Finance organization for 120+ professionals (2022)

* Advisory Member for México Autosustentable A.C., a non-profit organization advocating for green housing solutions for extreme poverty communities in northern Mexico by raising funding, providing technical expertise, and building sustainable neighborhoods (2021-current)

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? In the summer of 2022, as part of a week-long International Seminar in Tel Aviv, I organized a company visit for EMBA students to the General Motors Technical Center Israel, home to GM’s Israeli operations, including R&D, engineering, and venture investments. Although this was a short and extra-curricular activity for those attending, it was highly regarded. I also felt extremely proud to show my fellow Columbia EMBAs how GM was transforming itself to fight climate change and lead a massive revolution in the automotive industry, a change that envisioned a world with zero crashes, zero emissions, and zero congestion. During the visit, students were able to hear directly from the head of engineering, and the director of ventures about the strategy that GM Israel played within the company’s global ecosystem to make electrification and self-driving technologies a reality.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? My proudest professional moment has been taking on a new role at our New York Asset Management office while leading the execution of a multi-billion-dollar transaction across geographies and studying the EMBA. This was not a typical role transition. It challenged me intellectually, emotionally, and physically. My responsibility was to design and operationalize more than three hundred capital flows that were impacted by various regulations, under different tax jurisdictions, and for multiple legal entities. What is more, my leadership had set for me a high standard because they were confident of my capabilities to execute flawlessly.

As I went through the challenge, I instantly applied some of the most critical EMBA knowledge that I had gained at the time, including leading with a growth mindset and on a global scale, team performance and alignment, and complex financial accounting standards. But on a personal level, dealing with massive pressure, ambiguity, and work-school-life balance was no small feat. It was not only because it demanded me to demonstrate strong financial knowledge, but also because it allowed me to prove my resilience, adaptability, and ability to manage and control risks.

Why did you choose this school’s executive MBA program? I chose the EMBA-Global program because it was the only curriculum that matched my interests perfectly. First, it represented the best way I could educate and prepare myself to become a better and more thoughtful leader in today’s ever-changing global business environment. This is a program taught in conjunction with the London Business School, enhancing even more the Columbia advantage. Second, this is an EMBA program that is well-known for its developmental opportunities for students. For example, students are offered an unparallel menu of elective courses offered by both schools in New York, London, and Dubai, further expanding the students’ global perspectives and professional connections (i.e., a global network of 97,000 alumni that is only equated by a limited number of business schools around the globe). Third, I wanted a program that would challenge me instantly, but also put me in front of business trends and the leaders shaping those trends. For instance, I had the opportunity to learn from outstanding guest speakers such as Indra Nooyi, Tim Steiner, Ken Frazier, Christina Riley, and James Gorman. And finally, Columbia Business School graduates are highly regarded in the world’s most important financial centers, including Wall Street, given that the school has a long history of producing successful alumni in finance.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? Self-realization knowledge will bring out the best of ourselves from within, in all situations. This means that the most crucial skills we need for success have to do with how well we manage our internal environment: our values, goals, mindsets, thoughts, emotions, and positive and negative drives. Some of us pursue outer success, such as wanting to be liked, loved, supported, and promoted. In this quest, we tend to ignore the subtle stirring of our spirit. To reach our highest potential, we need to understand that these two successes are synergistic, meaning that we should recognize the impact and importance of both, our inner and outer successes.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family, and education? December 2021 was a particularly difficult month in my EMBA journey. I was going through the end of my 2nd term, finishing projects and final exams. At the same time, I was coordinating year-end deliverables at work while traveling between New York, London, and Mexico. In between all of that, I made room for quality time with family and friends in my hometown to enjoy Christmas, before traveling back again in early January to start a new school term. This is exactly what an EMBA schedule looks like. We must accommodate busy calendars while attending business school, we continue being working professionals with substantial responsibilities, and we can manage it without abandoning our personal relationships and physical and mental health. In my case, I was able to go through this situation by truly prioritizing workflows, personal commitments, and learning consciously. Effective time management became my best learning tool. However, I did not do this alone. My EMBA study group, my leaders and team at GM, and my close friends and family stood by me with their support, time, and words of encouragement.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? I think the most successful candidates to get admitted to their dream EMBA program are those who do strong research before applying. I highly recommend that prospective candidates connect with as many students and alumni of their program of interest. You can reach out to people and be intentional about learning from their experiences. When you internalize their perspectives, you can almost instantly relate them to yourself and decide whether that EMBA program is a good fit for you, not the other way around. You can schedule a short Zoom call or have coffee with these people. Ask them about the good and the bad of their EMBA journey. Remember: everybody lives the experience differently, so no one holds the absolute truth. And finally, trust your instinct. If you honestly believe that an EMBA program will make your career and personal life better and more fulfilling, do not hesitate and embark on the journey!

What was your biggest regret in business school? The EMBA-Global 2023 cohort started the program in May 2021, when the pandemic restrictions in many countries around the globe were not fully lifted. We had a good number of students who initially could not travel to New York or London. Hence, for some of our block weeks, we had classmates joining class via Zoom, and I wish I had taken a more proactive attitude and started engaging with them earlier. I would have valued having more personal time with these fellow EMBAs to learn more about their backgrounds and careers and establish long-lasting relationships more naturally.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Andrew Ushakov is the classmate I admire the most because his actions speak louder than any individual recognition. Andrew is Ukrainian, and a successful businessman. Our cohort reunited in New York to attend the last block week of the program’s first year in February 2022. This happened exactly when the Russian invasion of Ukraine began. By choosing to stay and defend his homeland, Andrew demonstrated a strong sense of patriotism, courage, and dedication to his country and its people. He endured immense risk and sacrifice, including potential physical harm to himself and his family, to fight for what he believed in. Andrew was leading by example and teaching everybody around him what a true leader in action looks like. To me, Andrew is a live example of the bravery and resilience of the Ukrainian people and is an inspiration to those who value the principles of freedom, democracy, and self-determination. He left a remarkable impact on our cohort, and we nominated him for the Columbia Business School Distinguished Service Award, which recognizes a member of the graduating class deserving special recognition for contributions to the spirit and achievement of the class.

What was the main reason you chose an executive MBA program over part-time or online alternatives? When compared to a full-time MBA program, which is designed for those who are willing to take a break from their professional careers and commit to studying full-time for one or two years, the EMBA allowed me to do two things simultaneously: avoid interrupting my career progression and immediately apply my school learnings at work. The EMBA broadened my managerial mentality and better positioned me to take on more senior responsibilities as the business environment changed. The real-time connections that I was able to make between school concepts and challenges at work were invaluable for my professional growth, but also highly appreciated by my leadership at General Motors.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? There are still many things that I have not yet accomplished, but if I were to summarize my long-term career goal it would be “to become an influential and inspirational leader in finance.” Whether it might be escalating the ranks at Fortune 100 companies, pivoting into a new industry, or becoming a world-class investor, to me, it all comes down to having a deep purpose-driven impact on the way that business is conducted.

What made Edgar such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2023?

“Edgar’s enthusiasm and commitment to the EMBA-Global program during a time that still saw many COVID challenges has made him a leader among his peers and an invaluable part of the Columbia Business School community. Edgar’s contributions range from coordinating learning activities outside of the classroom to social events and to helping his classmates think about their future. Beginning the EMBA-Global program while there were still many COVID restrictions in place worldwide was no small undertaking, and Edgar’s creativity and upbeat attitude were much-appreciated assets.

Edgar’s classmates describe him as always ready to help, professional, a significant contributor to the class both socially and academically, someone who goes above and beyond, and embodying the spirit of their class. Edgar’s contributions to the EMBA-Global program and to the Columbia Business School community have been outstanding and have created an environment of inclusivity and growth.”

Susan West
Director, Academic & Student Affairs
Executive MBA Programs


Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.