Pivot from Classmate to CEO.

As CEO of Coopera, a consulting firm that helps businesses reach the Hispanic market—and with a recent promotion to senior VP of its holding company—Miriam was ready to broaden her connections and outlook.

Her MBA classmates represented industries from engineering to nonprofit management. And during the program she connected with leaders from Intel and Hulu as they expanded into China.

“Even with my SVP role, I consider myself a newer CEO. I felt it was a good time to learn about the business world in general, connect with more people, and expand my network to continue to boost my career.”

If you’re already a CEO, why get an MBA?

Even though I have an executive role within our company, I’m the youngest CEO in our sister organizations. I’m also the least tenured out of that whole group, so I feel like I still have quite a bit to learn.

"The MBA is not necessarily a requirement for what I do today. And yet, the more comprehensive background you have around business, the more of a well-rounded executive you become."

What’s the return on your MBA investment?

There’s already a recognition with my peers and the executive team. They notice the type of learning I’m experiencing and the classes I’m taking. They’ve sensed that now I’m able to provide a different perspective: I can validate or confirm some things—or share how we’re in line with what other companies are doing.

“I try to get out and foster relationships, but this program is an easier way to do that. You’re already in a cohort of individuals who are growing in their careers and getting to different executive levels. I wanted to expand my network—particularly outside of my industry.”

That internal awareness is rewarding. I think it also makes me visible and keeps me top of mind as our company continues to grow.

How did you apply what you’ve learned?

I’ve gotten to lead some innovation projects. We had a big transition with selling one of our largest companies, so that’s brought an opportunity to explore differently, now that we have some new assets. I see that role growing quite a bit for me.

From your classmates, you’re learning about manufacturing, retail, engineering and other business sectors. What do classmates learn from you?

I hope I’m helping folks better understand more of the services side of business. I think the cultural aspect is also unique and something that I bring to other students. I can help people with awareness of a different ethnicity and culture—and how that plays into business. It can be very good for business.
 

How did the MBA program sharpen your competitive edge?

Our professors are high caliber. They're experts, they’re published, they’re sometimes the authors of the books we’re reading. It helps to learn from high-caliber people.
 

You balanced a full-time job with a fast-track MBA—and planned a wedding at the same time. Do you think you had enough on your plate?

Somebody asked me, “Are you running a marathon, too?” 
I said, “No, I’ll wait until next year for that one!”

“You will work hard, but the learning, friendships and networking makes it all worthwhile.”