2022 Best & Brightest Business Major: Fernanda Gaete, Santa Clara University (Leavey)

Fernanda Gaete

Santa Clara University, Leavey School of Business

“Can always be found running on coffee and the Stanford Dish Trail.”

Fun fact about yourself: I was born in Santiago, Chile and lived in Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, and the United States prior to the age of ten!

Hometown: Portland, OR

High School: Sunset High School

Major: Finance

Minor: N/A

Favorite Business Course: My favorite Business course in my time at SCU has by far been Conscientious Capitalism, which is a unique course offered to students who want to go above and beyond to become the best versions of themselves in order to lead others. You would be hard-pressed to find a community more life-giving, thoughtful, and supportive than those who have experienced the beauty of the Center of Conscientious Leadership, which Bill Mains and Chip Adams have expertly created.

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

  • Honors: Alpha Sigma Nu (Jesuit Honors Society), Beta Gamma Sigma (Business Honors Society), Leavey Scholars Program
  • Awards: Dean’s List
  • Extracurricular Activities: Co-President of SCU Undergraduate Women in Business, Co-President of SCU Own It Summit, Accelerated Cooperative Education (ACE) Leadership Program, Leavey School of Business Peer Advising, Business Leadership Peer Educator, LSB Undergraduate Business Programs Office Assistant, Intramural Sports

Where have you interned during your college career? I spent the summer following my junior year working as a Finance Intern at Apple in their Finance Development Program.

Where will you be working after graduation? Next fall I will be returning to Apple in Cupertino as a full-time Finance Associate in the Finance Development Program.

Who is your favorite professor? My favorite professor at SCU was my Conscientious Capitalism instructor Bill Mains. I will forever look up to Bill as being the most thoughtful life mentor I have ever encountered. I hope to one day be half the listener and advice-giver that he is for every individual who has been lucky enough to undergo the Conscientious Capitalism experience.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? I spent my junior year at SCU uncovering a less popular side of the interview process: introspection and understanding the authentic self. What I learned was that even the smallest nuances of our lives can turn into the greatest stories of our triumphs and failures—we just have to know how to spin them the right way to reflect the person we want to embody.

What has surprised you most about majoring in business? Prior to entering the study of business, I thought my focus would be completely on the external world around me. What I came to learn is the importance of understanding the authentic self, which opens doors that lead to opportunities to pursue a career that aligns with my own personal values and goals as a Jesuit educated individual.

Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why? Every time I have ever thought about this question, my mind has always gone to the topic of confidence. I wish I had learned earlier in my business education to be proud of myself for my accomplishments, rather than self-critical about how I took on each challenge thrown at me. It is something I like to remind all my younger peers of as often as I can—you always have reason to be proud of where you are at and excited about where you are going.

What business executive do you admire most? Through SCU’s Conscientious Capitalism class, I had the pleasure of getting to know Chip Adams, a founder of the Center for Conscientious Leadership. Chip is an inspiration for passionate storytelling, and through his wisdom he taught me that to lead others, I must first learn to lead myself.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am most proud of the relationships I have built throughout my time as the president of the Undergraduate Women in Business Association. I would not be the confident, well-rounded leader that I have become without the incredible upper-class (wo)men who served as my mentors throughout my early years at SCU, and it is a true privilege to be in a position of mentorship for younger female students today.

Which classmate do you most admire? The classmate I admire most is my good friend Megan Cherrey. Megan is a prime example of what it means to be a leader—one who understands how to balance the needs of others while also making time to constantly grow into the best version of herself. Megan has gone from being one of my first mentees to becoming one of my most trusted friends, who I constantly learn far more from than I ever taught her. I am grateful to have her constant support and am ecstatic to see all she accomplishes in life moving forward.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I must simultaneously thank my parents for their unwavering support throughout my life. It is they who have been with me through every moment—the highest of highs and lowest of lows—constantly reminding me to be proud of what I have accomplished, where I am currently at, and where I am going. Each day they inspire me to be more patient, more thoughtful, and more inquisitive about the world around me.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? I was lucky enough to spend my childhood living in multiple countries across North and South America. Given this history, I would love to eventually take on an international role to experience even more new cultures. Second, my mind immediately goes towards wanting to give back to the school that shaped me into the leader and person I am today. I hope to be able to return to SCU events—particularly within the Leavey School of Business—to inspire students the way others inspired me these past four years.

What are your hobbies? As someone who calls the Pacific Northwest home, I have always loved spending time outdoors in any capacity. Throughout my time at SCU I have also picked up a passion for running to clear my mind as well as explore the scenery California has to offer.

What made Fernanda such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2022?  

“Fernanda Gaete stands out for her academic achievement, campus involvement and dedication to others. Over the last four years she has grown into a capable and outspoken leader with a clear vision for the organizations she leads. She works collaboratively and tirelessly to deliver on that vision. Fernanda embodies Santa Clara’s Jesuit mission through her combination of academic excellence and commitment to creating a more just and humane world.  She also happens to be one of the kindest and most thoughtful people you will meet.”

Brenda Versteeg
Director, Professional Development & Social Justice

Undergraduate Business Programs
Leavey School of Business
Santa Clara University




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