A visiting summer student from Queretaro, Mexico, Luis is completing his undergraduate degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering at Tecnologico de Monterrey. Eager to pursue a master’s degree, Luis was searching for courses that would help him add business skills to his resume. A unique benefit of Columbia Summer is that students can also cross-register for classes in some departments at the School of Professional Studies. In this case, Luis was able to enroll in a graduate-level Technology Management course that included marketing.
What brought you to Columbia for the summer?
My university in Mexico is Technologico de Monterrey, and they have an exchange program with Columbia. Although it was temporarily cancelled due to the COVID pandemic, I was able to complete the application and attend on my own. Columbia Summer offers the kind of business courses I knew I’d need. Specifically, I wanted to build some intellectual muscle around the kinds of decision-making I hope to engage in one day in the engineering or build fields, specifically in management and supervision of vital processes. My next goal is to find an internship or job for an industrial engineering company and then bring that experience with me to my master’s degree.
Which courses did you take? How was your experience?
I took two courses during the summer session, Introduction to Finance and Sales & Marketing. The faculty is outstanding. Mario Gonzalex-Corzo, Ph.D., teaches Finance, and he is one of the best teachers I’ve ever encountered. At Columbia, the main focus is for the student to learn, rather than just on grades. The Introduction to Finance course reviews the financial issues facing modern corporations. We covered financial planning, how to manage growth, debt and equity sources of financial valuation, capital budgeting methods, and risk analysis.
The other course, Sales and Marketing, was new to me. I’m a numbers guy, and this was all about pitching ideas. Professor Mark Mooney explained everything in depth. We learned the methods companies and brands used to establish a position in the market, how to identify competitors, the rules of pricing, and how to determine the life cycle of products. Discovering how to present a business idea—appealing to the customer’s emotion supported by facts and statistics—was a great learning experience for me.
How will you apply what you learned toward your goals?
I am hoping to create a dual-track. I plan to work at a job or internship while pursuing a master’s degree at Columbia with a focus on business. My hope is to combine both my engineering background with my business experience. What I’d love to do is work in New York City while completing my master’s.
Would you recommend Columbia Summer to others?
Absolutely. The education is outstanding. And the focus on learning is truly unique in my experience. I feel better prepared for applying for a master’s, and more prepared to meet my job and life goals.