From Ecuador to Novartis Pharmacuticals
Financial Development at Novartis Pharmaceuticals
Hailing from Ecuador, Estefania is working on her MBA at Bentley University, after which she will join Novartis Pharmaceuticals in a Financial Development role.
Tell us about your educational background:
I studied International Business and Trade in my undergraduate, at the Universidad del Azuay, Cuenca, Ecuador. After my undergraduate degree, I worked for a year while applying to US universities to get my Master's degree. The first year I was enrolled at Northeastern University, for my graduate certificate in accounting and finance, and then I moved to Bentley University. Currently, I am earning my MBA with a concentration in Finance. I am also the president of a women's organization, called GWLO (Graduate Women Leadership Organization).
Bachelors Degree Universidad del Azuay
MBA Bentley University
Waltham, MA, USA
Financial Development at Novartis Pharmaceuticals
East Hanover, NJ, USA
Tell us about your career path:
I come from a family that owns a business in Cuenca, my hometown. My grandfather founded Agrosad 55 years ago, and since then, my mother's family has been involved in the company. My mom was the CEO when I was a teenager, so she taught me how valuable is to work, especially as a woman. She taught me how to build my path and to achieve every goal I set for my life. I have always worked hard to get to where I am, but always with the help of my family. I appreciate them because they taught me to perseverate. I believe the experience of seeing my mother at the top helped me to set my goals high. While studying I worked at the family business, doing everything they needed me to do. the business is dedicated to providing agricultural goods to farmers so I was involved in international relations, working with vendors. My mother developed leukemia, so that is when my interest in the pharmaceutical world was sparked. I was not meant to be a doctor, but I wanted to help people in another way, and after my internship at Novartis I understood that I could still have an impact in the medical field through other means.
What was the biggest challenge you faced?
As an international student, the biggest challenge I faced was loneliness, I came to the US by myself when I was 22, and with a family that always was together, I felt alone. Another challenge I faced was making friends, which has never been an issue for me but I believe here in the US everyone is too busy, so busy even to meet new people. It is hard to meet new people but not impossible, you just need to try harder. Finally, another challenge was jobs - I saw my friends suffering and struggling after graduation, but what I always say is to use the tools the university gives you. Network, attend events, it doesn't matter if you are intense - that is a good way to get noticed and stand out.
What was your most valuable resource during this experience?
The most valuable resource for me is networking. Become a friend of Career services and other staff. Professors will be the ones who recommend you, the ones who can speak about who you are and what you did during class. I believe the most valuable resource is yourself because you are the one who will make things happen, with a good team and good friends at your side.
Any words of advice for other international students?
The only advice I have is that nothing is impossible, and even in the days when everything looks bad, something good will come. I won't lie, it's hard to be an international student in the US, but I think it is worth it if that is your dream. Since a kid I wanted to study abroad and work for a multinational company, so I started working for my dream as early as I could.
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