Ortiz: Experiencing Silicon Valley, Singapore

Even before coming to Goizueta, I knew that the school placed a strong emphasis on global experiences and international business. While traveling abroad during an MBA is not necessarily a differentiator among programs, I believe that the authentic way in which Goizueta prepares its students to become global leaders is distinctive through both the immersive experience of the Mid-Semester Module and the partnerships we share that enable us to travel abroad.

During spring break, I traveled on an entrepreneurship-focused trek to Silicon Valley and Singapore with my classmates and distinguished Emory faculty member, entrepreneur and fellow Emory alumnus Charlie Goetz. Aside from the excitement of the travel locations themselves, my MSM experience gave me a completely new perspective on how to start a company and maneuver a dynamic and fast-pasted competitive business environment successfully. 

In San Francisco, some of the highlights of the trip included meeting the team from Roadster, a lean startup in the valley, to learn about how they are innovating in the B2B car-selling space. We also had lunch with William Hockey 12BBA, chief technology officer of Plaid, a very successful financial technology company that he co-founded only a few years ago. We later had the opportunity to connect with fellow Bay Area GBS alumni at an entrepreneurship panel and networking event hosted by Survey Monkey later that evening. These experiences inspire me as I think about my future as an entrepreneur. Silicon Valley has a high threshold for risk tolerance and consistently the message I heard from people working in startups and entrepreneurship was to “go for it” and take that first step to launching your idea. 

By the time we arrived in Singapore, the companies we met with described how they are working to meet some of the similar challenges that people face in the U.S. They discussed how limited resources such as lack of access to venture-backed capital or not enough experienced entrepreneurs could stifle small business growth in the short term. However, in the long run countries like Singapore are well-situated to compete in a global environment by leveraging their expertise in academically-funded research and development and government-backed innovation in the sciences, engineering and mathematics. I believe the future is bright and the timing is ripe for people to build companies and engage at a global scale by marrying the skillsets of American and Singaporean entrepreneurs.

Being an entrepreneur is about identifying problems and coming up with creating solutions to address them. As I finish my MBA program, I’m incredibly grateful to have shared this experience with talented people, made connections around the globe, and gained valuable insight that will serve me well both in my corporate career and down the road as an aspiring entrepreneur. As I sign off, I wanted to say thank you to Delta Air Lines for helping make my trip possible through their partnership with Goizueta Business School and sponsorship of the Mid-Semester Module Travel Competition!

John Paul Ortiz

John Paul Ortiz

JP Ortiz is a second-year MBA student studying Marketing and Finance. He graduated from Colgate University with Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and philosophy. Prior to business school, JP worked for the Home Office of Abercrombie & Fitch as a merchant and then spent three years working for his alma mater as an Assistant Dean of Admission leading the university’s diversity recruitment efforts. This past summer, he interned at The Coca-Cola Company in brand marketing.

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