2024 Best & Brightest Business Major: Alfonso Aguilar Vazquez, USC (Marshall)

Alfonso Aguilar

University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business

“International student passionate about investing and connecting dots, future full-time traveler and theme park enthusiast.”

Fun fact about yourself: I’ve been to all Disney theme parks around the world.

Hometown: Mexico City, Mexico

High School: Bishop’s College School (QC, Canada)

Major: Business Administration (Finance)

Minor: Applied Analytics

Favorite Business Course: FBE 423: Introduction to Venture Capital and Private Equity with Professor Steve Moyer

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles During College:

Value Investing Group, President

Marshall Career Services Office, Peer Career Advisor (Investment Banking)

Marshall Business Student Community (previously Marshall Business Student Government), VP of Finance

Trojan Investing Society, Mentorship Program Mentor

Career Advantage Program (CAP), Mentee

Guiding Exceptional Minds to Success (GEMS), Mentee in inaugural class

USC Professional Outreach Readiness Service, Volunteer

CFA Challenge, USC Team Member (3rd) Place in LA region)

BUAD 308 Advanced Business Finance and FBE 423 Introduction to Venture Capital and Private Equity, Teaching Assistant

Themed Entertainment Association @ USC, Member

Joint Education Program (JEP), Volunteer

School honors / awards: Deans Scholarship, Farrar Scholarship, Winebright Scholarship, Wilcox Scholarship, Dean’s List. Expected to graduate Summa Cum Laude

Where have you interned during your college career?

Sophomore Summer Analyst at Goldman Sachs, New York City, Investment Banking Division, Financial Institutions Group, Summer 2022

Summer Analyst at Blackstone, New York City, Credit, Liquid Credit Strategies Research team, Summer 2023

Where will you be working after graduation? Analyst at Blackstone, New York City, Credit, Liquid Credit Strategies Research team

What is the biggest lesson you gained from studying business? The biggest lesson that I learned is that in the world of business there is (almost) never one right answer. The problems I was challenged with in-and-out of the classroom often had many alternatives that had significant benefits and disadvantages. I learned that it is important to collect as much information as possible and try to connect the dots. At the same time, I learned to not let analysis paralysis stop you from making a decision when it is crucial to act. More importantly, I learned the necessity of debating ideas with people that have diverse backgrounds and perspectives, which mitigates bias and encourages the best solution to prevail.

What advice would you give to a student looking to major in a business-related field? Never say no to an opportunity to explore a new field or learn about different career paths. It may be tempting from peer pressure to quickly narrow down to one of the ABC paths. While I eventually chose to pursue finance, I tried to do so after exploring different industries; I still continue to talk with people on other paths and learn about what they are doing. Not only will it help you build knowledge about other sectors and develop pattern recognition skills to connect the dots across disciplines, but it may also help you find a new area that you are passionate about—you never know what opportunities may arise by just saying yes.

Looking back over your experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently in business school and why? Overall, I think I’ve had a mostly regret-less experience at Marshall and USC. However, if I were to go back in time, the one thing I would’ve tried to do is get involved with more of the entrepreneurial opportunities Marshall has to offer, such as clubs, classes, or the Greif Center. The closer I get to graduation, the more curious I get about eventually doing something entrepreneurial (like maybe raising my own fund one day). I think I would’ve enjoyed being in spaces where people are exploring their passions and trying to create something with their own hands and minds. Besides that, I wish I would have made more time to volunteer outside of the USC community, but I am trying to fix that in my last semester.

Which academic, extracurricular or personal achievement are you most proud of? I am most proud of my time serving as the President of the Value Investing Group. I had the privilege of passing down all the knowledge I acquired from older members to two classes of new analysts as I tried to teach them how to invest. It was extremely gratifying to mentor younger students and help them find their own path in finance or other industries. In this position, I also organized an international stock pitch competition at USC, one of the largest in the West Coast. We were able to bring 15 schools from 3 countries and 10 investing professionals together into an event full of insight and interesting ideas. It was certainly fulfilling seeing the vision come to life, especially after three years of the event being online due to the pandemic.

Which classmate do you most admire? The peer I most admire is Roei Zakut. I met Roei when we joined the Value Investing Group in the same analyst class, and we later led the club together as Co-Presidents during our junior year at USC. I admire Roei for his level of critical thinking and intellectual curiosity, traits he helped me and many others in our club develop. In fact, Roei is not even a business student. He studied Neuroscience and Philosophy, but was interested applying his skills to investing in public equities (which is what he will be doing after graduation at Point72). I’ve shared some of the most interesting conversations with him, on any topic you can imagine, from the economy to religion to life and family. We were able to engage in critical debates and freely exchange ideas regardless of whether we agreed or not, without fear of ruining our friendship. He showed me many topics and ideas I never imagined thinking about on my own, and he also let me share my interests and knowledge with him. Roei showed me the importance of diving deep into interests and engaging in intellectual debates, which I will carry with me after graduation.

Who would you most want to thank for your success? I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support of my parents. My parents are the people who shaped me to be who I am today. They taught me countless important lessons that have served me from my academic to my personal life. They inculcated an innate drive that is not based on looking for their approval, but in a pursuit of making myself proud by making the most out of the position and skills that God gave me.

There are two important phrases they used to say when I was growing up that are now forever driving me. My mom always used to say, “No matter what you want to be in life, always strive to be the best version of yourself at that.” From my dad, I learned to “swallow the challenges and mistakes in life and move forward with resilience and your head held high.” I often look back and wonder what they did to raise me with the qualities that I appreciate about myself today, I can only hope I do the same for my children.

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

Building a network of talented individuals across fields so that I know a person I can go to with any type of challenge or opportunity, while also being someone that can help others.

Managing a portfolio, whether an investment fund or an asset in the corporate finance side, with a unique and differentiated vision.

What made Alfonso such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2024?

“I would like to nominate Alfonso, a Marshall Peer Career Advisor (PCA). I first met Alfonso in April of 2021 during an advising appointment where he was seeking advice for internships. As an international student from Mexico City, he was eager to start recruiting for IB. Alfonso was quickly able to convert his interest into an internship right after his sophomore year with Goldman Sachs and then secured the coveted junior summer internship with Blackstone. His ability to land two extremely competitive internships is a demonstration of his hard work and ability to perform well. Academically, he is close to a 4.0. In addition to his personal accomplishments, Alfonso has played a critical role in assisting fellow USC students prepare for investment banking recruitment as a Peer Career Advisor. He is part of the USC Value Investing Group, Trojan Investing Society and Marshall Student Council.  Community service has been a part of Alfonso’s life since high school where he volunteered to teach the elderly how to use technology and also completed international service volunteer programs in Senegal. I selected Alfonso because he serves as a role model for Latino students and also our international USC community. He is a strong believer in mentorship and has been able to give back as a PCA, but also through his Marshall Recognized Student Organization engagement.”

Claudia Aguilar
Associate Director
Marshall Undergraduate Career Services


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