2021 Best & Brightest Business Majors: Veronica Escobar-Mesa, Boston University (Questrom)

Veronica Escobar-Mesa

Boston University, Questrom School of Business

“Passionate. Determined. Free-Spirited.”

Fun fact about yourself: I have been struggling to come up with a fun fact about myself for the past four years.

Hometown: Medellin, Colombia

High School: Marymount School

Major: Business Administration and Management with concentrations in Strategy and Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Minor: N/A

Favorite Business Course: SI448: Dilemmas in Scaling New Ventures

I really enjoyed this course because I learned about the necessary steps in starting a company and how to avoid common mistakes made in this process. This course was based on case analyses, which made everything we learned very applicable. Finally, Professor Marx was a wonderful instructor and fostered very interesting in-class discussions.

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • Kilachand Honors College
  • Questrom Honors Program
  • Beta Gamma Sigma
  • The National Society of Collegiate Scholars
  • Strategy & Innovation Research Assistant
  • Business Statistics Teaching Assistant
  • Design Thinking & Innovation MBA Course Assistant
  • Questrom Student Government – VP of Student Affairs
  • Questrom Peer Advisor
  • Colombian Student Association – Co-founder and Vice President
  • Language Link Leader (Spanish)

Where have you interned during your college career?

  • The Barthwell Group – Research Analyst
  • LabCentral (Boston, MA) – Operations Intern
  • ClutchAnalytics (Austin, TX) – Marketing Analyst Intern
  • Voce (Medellin, Colombia) – Customer Experience Intern

Where will you be working after graduation? The Barthwell Group – Analyst (A Certified Woman-Owned, Minority, Small Business Enterprise, boutique management consulting firm, based in Detroit)

What company do you admire most? I admire many companies and I believe there is a lot to learn from each of them. If I had to choose one, it would be The Barthwell Group. This is the company where I currently work and where I will continue to work after I graduate. The Barthwell Group is a strategic management consulting firm. I admire this company because I have had the chance to work closely with the CEO and COO and I have seen their effort and dedication to building an incredible company. The company has a very welcoming culture, a very flexible and adaptable environment, and constant growth and learning mentality. All of these aspects challenge me to better myself every day.

Who is your favorite professor? I have had many wonderful professors over the years, but I would have to say my favorite is Professor Siobhan O’Mahony. I have been Professor O’Mahony’s Research Assistant since my sophomore year. While working with Professor O’Mahony, I have learned about topics such as design thinking, innovation during recessions, innovation during COVID-19, and many others. She has also taught me about how to do research, and how to navigate the business world. Most importantly, Professor O’Mahony has become a great mentor to me and I often go to her for advice on my career choices. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to work and learn from Professor O’Mahony during my time at Questrom! Escobar, Boston U

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Four years go by very quickly. Therefore, the biggest piece of advice would be to meet and interact with as many people as possible. Lessons and opportunities often came to me from the people I least expected. I believe there is a lot you can learn from other people, and coupling that with what you learn in class is a great way to jumpstart your career.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? What surprised me the most is the variety of paths that can stem from a business degree. Although we were all learning the same things and sitting in the same classes, I was always impressed by the wide variety of applications that students gave to the things we learned. I loved being able to interact with people on a variety of career paths.

Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why? I do not think that I would do anything differently, even if I could. While I did make many mistakes, I learned a lot from them. I believe that every decision and experience during these past four years has led me to where I am today, and I would not want to be anywhere else.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? My proudest achievement is studying at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business. This is both an academic and a personal achievement for me. I had to move to another country and to a city where I did not know anyone. This challenged me to get out of my comfort zone. Throughout this process, I have learned a lot about myself and I have experienced tremendous personal growth. It was also an academic achievement because I went to a high school that did not prepare students for college in the United States. Therefore, I had to prepare myself for this opportunity. Starting college in the U.S. was a big adjustment, and it challenged me to be flexible and open to a different learning style. Looking back on these four years of college, I am very proud of what I have accomplished, and I feel ready to start my career in the consulting world.

Which classmate do you most admire? I admire all my classmates because they have all taught me something and they are all very talented. Nevertheless, the classmate that I admire the most is Mateo Gomez because of his ability to excel in all aspects of life. Mateo is a great student and has a genuine interest in always furthering his knowledge. He is also constantly meeting new people and connecting those who could help each other. He is always looking for ways to positively impact Colombia through his work. Most importantly, he is a great friend. Throughout my four years at Questrom, Mateo has been a role model for me and an encouragement to constantly better myself.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? My success is greatly thanks to my parents. They encouraged me to study at Boston University and they supported me throughout every step of the way. My parents have not only been my support, but also my motivation. They showed me that I could achieve anything I set out to do. Therefore, I am where I am today thanks to them.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

  • Positively impact Latin America through my work
  • Start my own company

What are your hobbies? I love horses and everything related to them. I am currently learning how to show jump. I also love water skiing. I usually go water skiing with my sister. Finally, I love painting and sculpting as a way to destress.

What made Veronica such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2021?

“It is my great pleasure to recommend Veronica Escobar as a Poets&Quants Best & Brightest undergraduate student. Veronica is an excellent candidate for this award based on her academics, her professionalism and work ethic, and her student leadership. I will try to cover all of these areas equally to best of my ability. Veronica is not only a Questrom Honors student, but also in the Kilachand Honors College which requires a separate research project and dissertation on top of her existing coursework. I am Veronica’s advisor on this project and advise her in this capacity. Veronica’s dissertation has three parts that together will provide insight on the path to entrepreneurship.

First, Veronica analyzed interviews with 22 entrepreneurs to determine how entrepreneurs respond to setbacks and unplanned events to discern themes that cultivate resilience. Second, she has designed a survey of BU alumni to determine who considers themselves to be an entrepreneur and the impact these entrepreneurs have created post-university. The survey will also ask what experiences led to entrepreneurship. Third, she is interviewing the founders of a venture capital firm focused on cultivating and supporting minority and female entrepreneurs to better understand the barriers to entrepreneurship and how these can be surmounted. Veronica and I have collaborated extensively on all three parts of this dissertation and I am always excited to work with her on it. I expect that not only will she complete this with flying colors, but that we will co-author and produce research that will be publishable post-graduation.

Second, Veronica is simply an outstanding student of the highest caliber with a 4.0 average at Questrom while maintaining dual concentrations in Strategy and Innovation and Entrepreneurship and carrying out additional responsibilities for the Questrom Honors Program and the competitively-selected Kilachand Honors College. Veronica will be graduating in May with Summa Cum Laude and was invited to join the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and Beta Sigma Gamma.

But none of these accolades reveal the shine of someone who does not just consistently receive the highest grade in the class but sparkles when she does so. I know she received the highest grade in SI 451, Organizing for Innovation, taught by my doctoral student Amisha Miller and we discussed her potential to be a professor at that point. But then I received an email from Matt Marx, her professor who taught SI 448 Dilemmas for Scaling New Ventures, Professor Marx, emailed me after grading the final exams in disbelief. Professor Marx had for years taught a very similar class at MIT and always asked this one difficult question on his exam and no student in over a decade had ever aced this question. Veronica was the only student in his over ten years of teaching at both MIT and BU to completely ace this question and receive a perfect score. He was so dumbfounded he just had to let me know. Even more amazing, Veronica did all of this virtually from her home in the country of Columbia!

Somehow Veronica has found time not only to consistently excel in the classroom and launch independent research, but also to be a Research Assistant with me since her sophomore year. She has helped on a variety of my own research projects in different capacities: analyzing data, reviewing papers, collecting data and conducting interviews. The first project we worked on together was analyzing data on digital health startups and this paper is already under review at a top journal. More recently, we have been analyzing why firms continue to invest in innovation in a downturn. Veronica independently reviewed a mass of scholarship on this topic and we collaborated equally to make sense of it. This is saying a great deal, as I have been a professor for twenty years. Together, we distilled recommendations for innovation in a downturn which have become an important collateral for Innovate@BU our university-wide initiative on innovation.

In addition, Veronica has also pursued a number of` internships in different companies throughout several semesters and summers. She was a marketing intern at a technology firm focusing on car insurance, an operations intern at a biotechnology incubator, and a customer experience intern at a boutique consulting firm. It was not a surprise to me that Veronica had a top notch full time job at a boutique consulting firm focusing on diversity and inclusion before she even started her senior year.

Veronica is native Spanish speaking from Columbia and discovered that there was no outlet to bring students form Columbia together. So she, with a few other friends founded the Colombian Student Association as a way to foster interaction among Colombian students or anyone interested in Colombia. In that capacity, she has led the planning of a number of cultural, academic and business events and taken full responsibility of leading and administering these efforts.

In addition, Veronica has been part of the Questrom Student Government since her freshman year and was the Vice President of Student Affairs for the Class of 2021. Though this position, she has held various social and academic events for her classmates. Somehow, she has also found time to be a Peer Advisor and mentor incoming freshman and help them navigate their first semester and supported them in any questions or issues they had. Veronica is just so incredibly competent she seems to juggle all of these activities as though she has more hours in the day than most people. She is always so pleasant and kind and ready to chat about research that I was not quite aware of just how busy she was.

I have been a professor for twenty years and taught at Stanford, Harvard, UC Davis and BU, but I have never nominated an undergraduate student for this award. But I had no choice but to submit Veronica’s case as she is an absolute delight to work with and is without a doubt the most talented undergraduate student I have had the pleasure working with in my career.”

Professor Siobhan O’Mahony
Feld Family Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Questrom School of Business


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