Gustavo Aguirre, KSM ’11
Senior Account Director, The Bravo Group
Co-Founder, Racontours, Inc.
"If you are looking to move up — to change the way you view your markets, your competitors, and your options — the Kellogg Executive MBA program is for you."
Gustavo Aguirre was already a successful marketing executive — but he wanted to accelerate his career growth and pursue new entrepreneurial opportunities. The solution was the Kellogg Executive MBA program.
When I started in the Kellogg Executive MBA program, I knew it could help me expand my business knowledge. What I didn’t realize at the time was how quickly and dramatically it would expand my career opportunities.
I am from Colombia, but have lived in the U.S. for more than six years, moving to Chicago with my wife Patricia. I had worked in marketing in Colombia, and landed a good job in digital marketing—but I knew I wanted something more. I chose Kellogg based on the quality of the program and the recommendation of a colleague, and I chose the Executive MBA option because its flexible twice-monthly weekend sessions allowed me to continue working while I earned my degree.
I started in January, 2010—and soon after, I started to experience the “Kellogg effect” on my career. In the Kellogg Executive MBA program, it’s not just about the classroom learning. It’s about the collaborative spirit that brings together executives from other industries to create a network of peers who inform and support one another.
The CFO of Bravo Group, a WPP-owned Hispanic marketing agency, was a student in Kellogg’s Miami program at the same time I was in the Evanston program. He heard about me, we met, and he presented me with the opportunity to join Bravo’s Chicago office. I am now Senior Account Director, using my Kellogg learning to develop new accounts and support the progress of the Chicago office, with a goal of making it one of the most important in the Bravo network. It’s a huge career move — and it wouldn’t have happened without our shared Kellogg connection.
My Kellogg network also enabled me to rekindle an entrepreneurial venture which I had started to work on a few years ago: Racontours, a city guide mobile app for tourists. Once I saw the energy and collaborative environment at Kellogg, I decided to reignite the idea and present it to my professors and classmates for evaluation.
Immediately, I was able to access advice and guidance from experts from a wide range of industries and backgrounds — valuable, actionable counsel that would have cost thousands of dollars and taken months to obtain otherwise. Finance, marketing, software development, operations, product design — all the insight I needed, all in one place: my Kellogg classroom. In addition to providing their feedback, some of my classmates became investors in Racontours.
I was even able to get my start-up on the list of companies that Kellogg MBA students do market research projects for. Their findings will help me position Racontours in the marketplace and design more effective marketing communications going forward.
I successfully launched Racontours in 2012 with an app for New York City, and Paris, London, and other cities are in development for 2013. I am convinced that if I hadn’t been a student at Kellogg, it would have taken much longer to develop the business, and much longer to go to market.
Kellogg gave me all the tools I needed, and encouraged me to put them to work to create new opportunities. Having the resources of Kellogg at my disposal, and exposure to different ways of thinking, have also helped me transcend the way I think about things, and made me create new benchmarks for myself. You see your peers and the skills they have, and it helps you see what you have to work on to get to the next level. I am still regularly in touch with ten of my classmates, and we are all there for each other, as advisors, mentors, and friends.
After completing the Kellogg Executive MBA program, the way I approach problems and situations is different. I am able to come at issues from different perspectives now. If you are looking to move up — to change the way you view your markets, your competitors, and your options — the Kellogg Executive MBA program is for you.
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