The NUS MBA is ranked #14 in the latest Financial Times Global MBA

Daniela Fernández Santamaría, Colombia

The NUS MBA Class of 2021

Job Title

Describe your personal brand.

I believe all of us, as the unique human beings we are, have an inmense potential to make a positive impact in the world and it’s our responsibility to develop those talents and continuously improve to become better people.

I enjoy being a woman and I consider myself very privileged for being able to pursue my own dreams and overcome cultural expectations. In the future, I want to have the opportunity to influence many other women that have a lot of potential but don't know how to start, because in the past I was in the same situation as them and someone believed in me and inspired me do what I really wanted.

As a very proud Colombian, I embrace the positive things of my culture and try to share them with the people around me. I think all of us should be proud of the place we were born in because every culture embodies positive things that are part of our own authenticity.

As a marketer I enjoy being in the shoes of other people, trying to understand what they are thinking, why they do what they do, what their motivations are and what makes them happy. This makes me rethink the way I'm doing things and has allowed me to transform to a better version of myself.

I consider myself as a balanced person. I divide my time according to my priorities which are family, education, career and health. I work very hard, but at the same time spend time doing the things I love because it keeps me motivated, my energy level high and my mood at its best.

I love art. I've been drawing, painting and creating things since I have a memory. Art opened my eyes to appreciate the beauty in nature, people, and basically everything that surrounds us. Art for me is not only what you see in a museum, but the house you live, the way you dress, the way you put makeup on, the way you move and even the way you talk.

I live every day as the last, putting my heart into everything I do, enjoying life and trying to positively impact everything that surrounds me.

I exhibit an entrepreneurial mentality and am eager to learn and adapt to different environments. The courage required to try new things, and the ability to evaluate how much I’ve learned from those situations, is priceless for me.

What were you doing before The NUS MBA?

I have a bachelor's degree in Management Engineering and a postgraduate degree in Marketing.

I also have over six years’ working experience in the FMCG industry for industries such as retail, food processing and telecommunication, where I developed data analysis, business development, and client relationship skills. Prior to my MBA, I worked as Client Lead Manager at Dunnhumby, a global leader in Customer Data Science – primarily focused on supporting companies to drive strategic vision through the delivery of insights, resulting in a gain of competitive advantages.

I previously worked in Business Development for TIGO-UNE, one of Colombia’s leading telecommunication players, designing strategies to increase sales in the pre-paid business. The 15 people team I was responsible for achieved close to US$43 million in sales per year, which was an 8% increase compared to the previous year and twice the annual goal.

Why did you pick NUS?

I picked NUS for the quality of its education, the content of the programme that included a transformative learning experience, and its diversity. I think I made the right decision because all these factors, coupled with the exposure to different ways of thinking, backgrounds and nationalities, have given me the skills to adapt to a global business environment that combines the best from every world.

Please share your key achievements and leadership roles on the programme.

My leadership role during the MBA was Vice President of the Marketing Club where I worked together with Shivangi (the President) to empower our MBA cohort with the tools and cross-functional skills needed to become responsible marketers in this global economic environment. We did so by dividing our activities into three stages: Explore, Engage and Embark.

During the Exploration stage, we enabled students to discover new forms of marketing and possibly new career aspirations; then during the Engagement stage we provided students with the opportunity to acquire and apply marketing knowledge in real business settings; and finally during the Embarking stage we helped students prepare for life after the MBA by creating opportunities to network and build careers in Singapore’s marketing ecosystem.

What has been the single most stand-out experience of your MBA?

Launch Your Transformation was a highlight for me. I not only acquired a learning partner, but a very good friend from Korea, for the rest of my life. The cultural and personality differences allow us to have completely different perspectives of life that enrich each other's point of view. We have helped each other to grow, and we have given each other career advice too.

Tell me something about The NUS MBA that others might not know.

The NUS MBA has the best people that make this experience unforgettable. The professors are incredibly passionate about their job – you will find them dressed up like pilots while teaching you accounting, buying products online from 50 years ago to better explain a case study, or even giving you money during class to teach you how pricing works. In addition, the Graduate Studies Office provides constant support for our projects, connecting us with relevant people in the industry, challenging us to achieve more and opening up opportunities for us to develop new skills.

Who is your personal hero? What is it about him/her that you admire?

My personal hero is my mum. She is a very determined woman who has succeeded in her career despite of growing up with many limitations in a male dominated culture. Her passion is education since she believes it creates equality and opens up opportunities for the most vulnerable. She taught me the importance of working hard and caring for others. My mum is my hero and I am very grateful for having such an inspiring person in my life.

Where do you see yourself in 5 - 10 years’ time?

I fell in love with Asia and my plan is to stay in Singapore after my MBA. My goal is to work in a marketing role related to sustainability because I think companies have a responsibility to create awareness and take actions to minimise the impact on our planet.

What advice would you give to other MBA aspirants?

Don't limit yourselves – dream bigger – everything is possible. We are used to be very rational when making decisions and thinking about the future. However, when it's about dreams, we need a different approach. Dreaming is free, it costs the same to dream small or to dream big. Think about the great things you can achieve and unlock all the potential that is within you.

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