My husband [Mario De Diego ’17] is our MAM president, so they call me the First Lady. Most of our first year of marriage we’ve been here, which has been really fun. Our MBA was the executive MBA from EGADE Business School in Panama. We knew about the MAM program and thought it sounded amazing, but we were so busy working, planning a wedding, planning a honeymoon, and getting our apartment ready that we were like, “We cannot put something else on top.” But when Valerie Belanger and Dean David Bach from Yale SOM came to talk to our class, we said, “Let’s apply.” Two weeks later, they had accepted both of us. It was meant to be, I think. (See a slideshow featuring photos from Arias and De Diego from their Global Network Weeks in Berlin and Hong Kong.)
My professional background was in marketing, so I’m taking a lot of marketing courses, like Consumer Behavior, Customer Analytics, Listening to the Customer, Strategic Market Measurement. I know when I go back to Panama, I want to continue working in marketing, and it’s going to be really helpful to have these strengths. As well, I’ve taken a lot of “soft skills” classes, like Human Capital and Strategic Leadership Across Sectors. I try to balance it. My MBA was core business, and now I’m being able to specialize in what I really like and what I’m going to use later on in my profession.
If I have the opportunity to take full advantage of an experience, I do it. Every lunch, I go to different club meetings and see different speakers. Everyone knows the academics at Yale are great—and that’s why I applied, and I love it—but I didn’t expect this other half, of activities and networking. I didn’t know there would be all these incredible guest speakers from companies all over the U.S.
One day this winter I was reading in the Evans Hall Café and everything on TV was about the crisis in Venezuela. It was chaos. After that, I started going to Net Impact PRISM, which is a student-run weekly event series dedicated to convening the Yale SOM community to engage deeply around social impact. I personally organized a discussion on the Venezuelan crisis. Two speakers from Harvard who were both from Venezuela, drove from Boston and talked for an hour. It was a great session. They came just for that, and it was amazing. They had so much insight.
I’m also part of the Social Impact Consulting group. The group helps nonprofits from New Haven or elsewhere in Connecticut. I’m in a group of students—I’m the only MAM; the rest are MBA first-years—helping a school called CELC. It’s a school in Branford that specializes in experiential learning, and they want to improve their marketing strategy. So that’s an entire different “class” for me, because we meet with the parents, we have to research, we’re working on the deliverables. So that has been great as well, just helping and giving back.