2023 Best & Brightest Business Major: Carmen Gomez, University of San Diego (Knauss)

Carmen Gomez

University of San Diego, Knauss School of Business

“Like Elle Woods, I run on pink, sparkle, and determination.”

Fun fact about yourself: I am a licensed Esthetician.

Hometown: San Diego, CA

High School: Granite Hills High School

Major: Business Administration

Minor: Marketing

Favorite Business Course: Fashion Marketing

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work, and Leadership Roles During College:

Extra-Curricular Activities/Leadership Positions:

  • Women in Business – Executive Vice President, Co-President, Vice President of Communications
  • Alpha Pi Sigma Sorority, Inc. – Academic Chair

Awards and Honors:

  • Dean’s List and First Honors (Fall ’21, Spring ’22, Fall ‘22)
  • Hispanic Scholarship Fund Designation
  • Gilman Scholar

Community Work:

  • Torero Urban Scholars
  • Latinx community-based volunteer work through Alpha Pi Sigma

Where have you interned during your college career?

Marketing and Communications Student Assistant – University of San Diego Knauss School of Business

Marketing Intern – Zesty.io

Where will you be working after graduation? I’m working on job applications right now focusing on opportunities in the beauty industry, where I have previous work experience. I’m looking for marketing positions where I can apply what I’ve learned in school and that will be a solid foundation for a future marketing career.

Who is your favorite business professor? There are so many amazing professors at the Knauss School of Business, each with their unique expertise in their respective subject matter. However, my favorite professor has been Professor of Management Johanna Hunsaker, who taught my Women in Management class. She was an engaging professor who developed my writing and leadership skills at the same time.

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? The biggest lesson I learned by studying business is how to be a public speaker. Before attending USD, I was terrified of raising my hand to ask a question or give a presentation. English is not my first language, and I never gained the confidence to articulate myself to a large group of people. However, USD’s supportive network of professors, student professional development managers, and leadership opportunities made me comfortable challenging myself to speak up more. I gained valuable feedback that would help me improve my articulation and public speaking skills. It also helps you have more meaningful conversations with those around you and opens you up to learning more about yourself and others. Over time, this nurturing environment has made me a more skilled communicator and public speaker. I feel like I have become a better leader through this experience and I am no longer terrified of presenting!

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? I would advise those looking to major in business to be open to change and challenges. Majoring in business introduces you to a wide world of career opportunities and industries you wouldn’t have considered. Since starting my studies at the University of San Diego, my career aspirations have shifted based on my experiences in class and at work, as well as advice from peers, professors, and mentors. So, I suggest taking any classes that sound interesting to you and embracing change in your intended career path.

I would also say that to be a business major, you must be a people person. Networking is a huge part of business. It will be necessary throughout your entire career. People are around you in various facets, and being able to lead or be part of a team begins with motivating, supporting, and understanding people. So, challenge yourself to network with your classmates and professors. Take on leadership roles on campus if you are interested in management. These are valuable skills that can be developed as an undergraduate and will serve you for years to come.

What business leader do you admire most? A business leader I admire is Patty Delgado, the founder and CEO of Hija De Tu Madre, a lifestyle brand based in Los Angeles that caters to and celebrates the Latina community. In 2020, she was on Forbes’ 30 under 30. I admire her because she unapologetically embraces our culture as a business leader. She’s built her million-dollar brand from an initial investment of $500 and is an inspiration for Latina entrepreneurs and children of immigrants.

Which academic, extracurricular, or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am most proud of continuing my education and graduating with my bachelor’s degree soon. It has been a long journey to get here. I didn’t have the traditional high school to college transition due to various personal and financial challenges. I worked part-time and took classes at my community college, in preparation for eventually transferring to a four-year university. I am proud of myself for never giving up, even when I doubted myself and my path. I am also proud to join the few women degree holders in my family.

Which classmate do you most admire? The classmate I most admire is Karla Astiazaran. She is one of the most hard-working people I know. She makes balancing her academics, volunteer work, and campus involvement look easy. In addition to being my sorority sister, she is a great friend. She is the kind of friend that makes completing boring tasks fun and likes to make everyone laugh. She is an excellent student and an amazing role model. I know she is going to do great things wherever she goes!

Who would you most want to thank for your success? As someone from a collectivist culture, it is hard to thank one person. My whole family and their support are responsible for my success. They guided me with love and encouragement and showed me the value of hard work and perseverance. All three of my parents are responsible for my success. My mother set the precedent. She is a first-generation college graduate and the first woman to pursue higher education in my family. She is a fellow Business Administration major and advanced her education by obtaining an MBA, becoming part of the less than 6% of Latina graduate degree holders in the United States. As I got older, I became interested in my mother’s work and saw that Business Administration allowed me to choose various paths and industries. She inspired me to pursue a degree in business. My stepfather, whom I call Dad, inspired me to obtain my bachelor’s. He is a veteran of the U.S. Navy and instilled discipline in me. My dad pursued a bachelor’s in his 50s, so I knew it was never too late for me to return. Finally, I want to thank my biological father, who never had the chance to finish high school. He always told me how important it was to obtain a college degree. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list? I hope to obtain a graduate degree and join my mother and friends in growing the percentage of Latina graduate degree holders in America. I also aspire to hold an executive position one day where I get to apply my marketing knowledge.

What are your hobbies? My favorite thing to do is to try new foods and restaurants. As a foodie, I consider myself very adventurous and I love the experience of trying something new. I also enjoy playing video games in my free time. I’ve been a faithful Pokémon player since about nine years old and follow the competitive scene. Music has always been a huge part of my culture and family, so I enjoy exploring various genres and finding new artists to listen to. I recently studied abroad in Japan. It was my first experience traveling outside of the United States and Mexico and I hope to add international travel to my list of hobbies post-graduation. I’m also known for collecting action figures from my favorite shows and movies and unique Starbucks tumblers.

What made Carmen such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2023?

“Carmen is currently the co-president for the undergraduate student organization, Women in Business, and holds leadership positions with Alpha Pi Sigma (Latinx sorority) and USD’s Torero Urban Scholars. She is really amazing and I could give you a page about her but let me give you some highlights. She is a “non-traditional” student in the fact that she came to USD after working in another career for a few years. She is a tireless advocate for women in business but also Latinx rights. She is a stellar student (3.9+ GPA), community member and leader, as well as an active volunteer in the San Diego community.

She has achieved so much in just two years at USD, fueled by her passion for creating a greater space for latina women in business. And it wasn’t an easy path for her to get here. As a Latina immigrant from Mexico, she came from a low-income family with limited education. As a transfer student, she was older than her peers, having had to pause her college education due to her family’s financial situation and family impacts.”

April Cash
Student Professional Development Manager


Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.