1Y on Hispanic Heritage Month and Returning to Chicago: A Promising Homecoming

1Y on Hispanic Heritage Month and Returning to Chicago: A Promising Homecoming

I look out my window and see a sea of red, white, and green forming as Michigan Avenue fills up with cars adorned in the Mexican flag. Hundreds of cars line up to celebrate “El Grito de Dolores” or “Cry of Dolores,” which is the battle cry of the Mexican War of Independence and is observed on September 15, the day before Mexican Independence Day. This caravan parade has become a tradition in downtown Chicago in the week leading up to Mexican Independence Day. Directly below me, on the corner of Michigan and Randolph is an elotero or “corn man” going about his daily business, across the street there’s a paletero or “ice cream man” with his cart full of ice cream. I can’t help but imagine the sense of pride, belonging, and hope both the elotero and paletero feel, because that’s exactly what I felt.

Originally from North Chicago, IL, it feels great to return home and once again be in the vibrant and diverse city that is Chicago. I’m very grateful to be at Booth, as I’m a first generation college student, first generation-American, and I grew up in a low-income town where the majority of students don’t go to college. “Immigrant parents, with their wings cut, still teach their children to fly.” The first time I came across this quote, I couldn’t help but get teary eyed.  I’m proud of how far I’ve come and how with the encouragement of my parents, strived to better myself through education, from being the first person in my family to graduate high school to now pursuing an MBA at Booth.  I understand very well that it can be scary to catapult towards “success” and be the first in your family to do everything. I’m also familiar with the feelings of self-doubt, fear, and anxiety that come with taking such big steps. If you feel that way, you’re not alone and at Booth you’ll find support soon after you hit the “submit” button on your application. 

Chicago Booth has always welcomed me with open arms, from the supportive members of the Hispanic American Business Student Association (HABSA) to my encouraging and engaging student interviewer to a phone call from Donna Swinford, Associate Dean of Student Recruitment and Admissions, letting me know I had been accepted before she asked me if I was ready to come home. I’m confident that I have the resources and support to succeed at Booth and beyond.  

I chose Booth because I want to grow, not only for personal gain, but so I can in turn help pay it forward to others with similar backgrounds. I feel a sense of responsibility to help bridge the wealth gap in the Latinx community and having business knowledge and a vast network will help me toward that goal. As an electrical engineer that worked in an oil refinery my entire career with no prior business background, I knew I would learn the most at Booth. I’m a big fan of The Chicago Approach™, which really stresses learning the fundamentals of business and teaching students “how to think” in order to tackle any business problem. 

As I settle into my exciting city life, I’m actively searching for ways in which I can pay it forward and help those from similar backgrounds to me both through Booth and other organizations in Chicago. I’m extremely grateful to be centered in Chicago along with its vibrant and large Latinx community. If anything from my background resonates with you as you’re reading this, please feel free to reach out on LinkedIn, I would be happy to chat.

Fellow first year student José Camacho and I during the Mexican Independence Day festivities on Michigan Avenue.