“I have unintentionally subjected myself to several all-nighters trying to understand the universe.”
Fun fact about yourself: I read the entire Harry Potter series in less than a week
Hometown: North Providence, Rhode Island
High School: La Salle Academy
Favorite Business Course: Student Managed Investment Fund (SMIF)
Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:
- Public Relations Officer for the Organization of Latin American Students (OLAS)
- President of Association of Latino American Professionals For America (ALPFA)
- Orientation Leader 2018 & 2019
- Mail Clerk at Providence College Mailroom
- Martin Luther King Scholarship Recipient
- Martin Luther King Vision Award Recipient 2020
- Dean’s List All Semesters
Where have you interned during your college career? I interned for PwC during the summer of 2019 as a Start intern in their Boston office. In 2020, I interned remotely within their Valuation practice.
Where will you be working after graduation? PwC, as an Associate in their Valuation practice
What company do you admire most? I admire SpaceX the most since they are attempting to launch humanity into a new frontier of exploration and discovery. I have always had a fascination with space, but, in my mind, I felt that space travel was confined largely to the rare NASA missions to the International Space Station. However, SpaceX has revolutionized humanity’s relationship with the cosmic ocean through their game-changing reusable rocket technology and their tenacity to achieve the seemingly impossible. Learning about the challenges and setbacks that the company experienced in the beginning of its journey and contrasting that with their now weekly space flights up into the heavens fills me with a sense of wonder, motivation, and inspiration that I carry with me every single day. Their goal of making humanity an interplanetary species, while considered overly ambitious by some, is something which I find infinitely laudable.
Who is your favorite professor? My favorite professor has been, without a doubt, Dr. Christopher Arroyo from the philosophy department. I had the pleasure of having him as my Development of Western Civilization seminar professor and was so enthralled by the passion for teaching and knowledge that he displayed that I decided to minor in philosophy and take him again for his Wisdom of Socrates class. During my time as his student, I was taught to love knowledge for the sake of knowledge while simultaneously questioning every assumption put in front of me. His willingness to consider, question, and discuss any topic under the sun through a philosophical lens was something that remains with me to this day. I believe that applying this method to my endeavors as an individual has been largely responsible for my successes.
What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? The biggest lesson I learned from studying business was to apply a second dimensional mode of thinking towards whatever problem I have at hand. By second dimensional thinking, I mean going outside the expected thought process towards a particular problem. Business is largely about confronting problems and finding solutions to them, whether it be calculating the intrinsic value of a stock, allocating capital for a new project, or trying to create a new marketing strategy. Often, these problems have a seemingly clear-cut way of solving them. However, in my time studying business, I learned that the most effective solutions come from stepping outside the box when it comes to analyzing the problem and formulating a solution. In essence, studying business taught me to think beyond what is right in front of me so that I could provide a solution that was beyond what was expected.
What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? I think my biggest advice for anybody looking to study business would be to either double major or minor in a field outside of business. I opted to pick up a minor in philosophy during my time as a business major and I think I could write an entire volume on why this has benefited me in life. All the formulas and methods in the world will not change this fact: at its core, business is a people driven affair, and people are as diverse as they come. By studying something outside the traditional business track, you not only diversify yourself as a human being, but you also diversify your worldview. I have found this diversification to be invaluable in helping me reach my goals.
What has surprised you most about majoring in business? What surprised me the most about majoring in business was how willing and excited people at Providence College were to help develop me as both a professional and an individual. When I came into college, I had a view of studying business as something which was solely focused on making money. Yet, almost four years later, I have learned from my peers and professors that business is much more than this. Every step of the way, I have found individuals who have gone out of their way to act as mentors or provide opportunities for the sake of my improvement alone.
Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why?Looking back, I think I would have gone to more of my professors’ office hours. While I had the opportunity to get to know some incredible faculty and administration within the Providence College business school, I still found myself only seeing some of my professors as just that: professors. They were the people that would lecture me for an hour or so and who would grade my assignments. I would look at their office hours as a sort of add on. Yet looking back on it, I realize that they were individuals of diverse backgrounds with valuable experience and wisdom at their disposal. Part of me wishes that I could go back and converse with them more during the time they made available for us as students.
Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am most proud to have served on the executive board of OLAS (Organization for Latin American Students) for the past 2 years. When I first joined, it was a small group of like-minded individuals who wanted nothing more than to establish a strong Latino presence on campus. Through my time serving on the board, I have learned first-hand what it is like to turn an organization suffering from lack of engagement into one of the most notable clubs on campus. Seeing the club go from having events where maybe 8 people would show up to having over 200 show up at one point has been a surreal feeling. In 2020 the club was awarded with the MLK Vision Award for all our efforts and being able to receive the award alongside people who I consider family was definitely a peak of my college experience.
Which classmate do you most admire? I admire my close friend and fellow business student Marc Demartis. Marc and I became friends halfway into my college experience and ever since then I have always had a deep admiration for him both as a person and a student. He is one of the hardest working and most intellectually curious people that I know, and every conversation that we have together is centered on how we can both grow and improve as thinkers and professionals. His ability to go out of his way to make others lives better and learn from them is admirable.
Who would you most want to thank for your success? I would want to thank my mom for my success. Ever since my family and I moved to the United States when I was seven, I have been cognizant of the amount of work that she has put in to helping to ensure a bright future for my sister and me. As an immigrant woman, she has had to face adversity in ways that I cannot imagine. Even now, she continues to do so for the sake of getting ahead in this country. She has always kept me on a straight path and reminded me that my education is vital towards opening new doorways to success. Whenever I set my mind to achieve a goal, and whenever I have the privilege of celebrating the achievement of said goal, I always remember that she is one of the main reasons why I put forth the effort in the first place.
What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? The first item would be to eventually go back to my home country of Colombia and build a philosophy-centered school for young kids living in one of the underprivileged areas of my native region of Huila. Second, I wish to establish an intellectual “incubator” where I would provide housing and funding for young adults to spend some time investing all their time into turning out-of-the-box ideas into successful business ventures.
What are your hobbies? I love to debate, read, draw, and research the stock market
What made Mateo such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2021?
“Curiosity has driven Mateo to make the most of his time at Providence College. He came to PC with all the attributes one likes to see in a student: smart, hard-working, enthusiastic, and kind. However, during his time at PC, Mateo’s intellectual curiosity became both deeper and broader, truly honing him as a thinker. Most encouraging to me, as dean of the PC School of Business, is to see Mateo explore and take advantage of such varied opportunities as studying philosophy in addition to finance, participating in the Student Managed Investment Fund, and networking with executives through his board positions in the campus-wide Organization of Latin American Students and the Association of Latino Professionals for America. Mateo is deeply engaged at PC. In addition, I appreciate the way Mateo consistently mentors younger students, thus exemplifying the Power of We. I know that Mateo will continue to have wide-ranging interests and perspectives that will positively influence those around him as his career develops.”
Sylvia Maxfield, Ph.D.
Dean and Professor
School of Business
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