Archive for category NSHMBA

Interview Myths – The Tricky Interviewer

Friendly Interview Panel There seems to be a big conspiracy theory on the job-hunting circuit that interviewers are out to trick you and thwart your every attempt to land your dream job.


Here’s an article, just one of many examples I’ve seen, entitled “Watch Out! Ten Interview Questions Designed to Trick You!” on the reputable, which starts off with the following ominous warning “…once you’re in the door, interviewers often put you through an obstacle course of deceptive questions with double meanings or hidden agendas.”

Nothing could be further from the truth.  As a hiring manager, I would love nothing more than to find the best-qualified candidate for an open position on my team on the first shot, and I am not an exception to the rule.  By the time a candidate gets to me, human resources talent acquisition has spent a lot of time filtering through résumés and potential candidates to line up the individuals they feel are the best fit based on the job description provided, and they usually do a great job of this.  At this stage, I’m looking for the best fit for the team, for the position at hand, a person who is passionate about working for this company and group, someone who has a proven track record of delivering results, and someone with the potential to grow into a larger role.  What I don’t want is to start my search from scratch and have to extend this recruiting process longer than necessary.

Most hiring managers and HR representatives are extremely busy people with lots of demands at work, and playing games or tricking candidates does nothing to advance our business goals.  Of course there are unscrupulous interviewers in the world, just as there are those few candidates who brazenly exaggerate their experience, but as a matter of course, the point of an interview is not to trick anyone, but to get to know them better and assess them for a fit for an open position (as well as an opportunity for the candidate to evaluate whether or not it is a company/job they want).  Sure, when I was on the job hunt I’ve had those interviewers who asked me brain-teasers (and there are still companies that do so), but I understood even then that they were not trying to trick me, but trying to see how I approach a problem and use logic to resolve it, and how that would translate into problem-solving on the job.

Many of the questions pointed out in the article referenced above are indeed asked in most interviews, and the feedback is sound, but the questions aren’t meant to be “deceptive”.  Think of it as dating.  If you are out seeking a long-term relationship (and most hiring managers are looking for candidates for the long-term), you want to get to know the other person to see if there is a fit and the potential for many days of excitement and happiness together.  It’s a two-way street.  You’re not trying to trick them into messing up so you can send them packing.

As I write this, I’m on a flight from New York to Orlando to attend the NSHBMA National Career Conference.  Hundreds of individuals will be interviewing at this conference.  If you are one of them, or have any upcoming interview anywhere else, I would recommend that you ignore the hype about the interviewers being out to get you.  Just be prepared, courteous, ask good questions, answer honestly, and feel good about the process.  Even if you are qualified for the position, you still might not get it because there may be many equally (or more highly) qualified candidates competing for the same opportunity, but at the very least you should know that more likely than not, the person on the other end of the interview has been in your position before and is rooting for you to succeed.

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Résumé Myths – The One-Page Résumé

685493348_DHpHc-O-1The MBA career resources office, websites, and resume “experts” will tell you that you need to condense your résumé to one page.


Well, mostly a myth, there are a lot of variables and subjectivity to this one.

I’ve helped at least a hundred people in the past decade by reviewing their résumés and providing feedback based on my experience  (I was a volunteer recruiter at Microsoft for 7 years, attending career conferences and campus recruiting events, as well as a hiring manager at PepsiCo).  In a good percentage of these reviews, I’ve noted that there were major gaps in work history, a significant lack of detail, or a surprising lack of listed experience based on my knowledge of the individual.  Invariably, the reason I get for this is that they needed to fit it all on one page.

I can confidently tell you that unless the application instructions specifically call for a one-page résumé (and most do not), you will NOT lose the chance for an interview because you have more than one page, but you COULD lose the chance if you don’t have pertinent details for the position in question.  Of the hundreds of résumés I received and reviewed every year, I have NEVER passed one up because it was two-pages or more, but I have passed on many because of what looked like a lack of experience.  It’s the content that counts.

You do not want your résumé to be a graphic and verbose novel of your life, but it should be a concise summary of your relevant work experience and ACCOMPLISHMENTS.

Now, as a general rule, if you have 0-5 years of work experience, you could probably comfortably fit your experience and education on a single page.  I reviewed a résumé once for someone with only a year of experience that was two pages long – now that’s too much.  As you start getting up there in experience, it becomes more difficult to get it all on one page, so my advice would be to forget about the length and focus on the content.  If it spills over to two pages, so be it.  Now I know some MBA programs require everyone to submit a one-page résumé for online profiles or résumé books, so if absolutely necessary, squeeze it down to meet those specific requirements and bring your real-sized résumé to that all-important career fair (see separate post on career fair strategies here).

I actually used a 4-page résumé for my current position at PepsiCo.  With 20+ years of work experience under my belt, even I admit that’s a bit extreme.  There were a few caveats – it was an Executive position and I was being actively recruited for the role, so I was not sending an unsolicited résumé.  Of the eight people that I interviewed with at PepsiCo, only one person commented about the résumé being too long.  As I mentioned earlier, there is a lot of subjectivity on this topic.  I still got the offer.  I know I could condense it to three pages, as one entire page was devoted to “Additional Experience” – everything from non-profit work to consulting work, which I could have comfortably removed.  However, at two pages I would lose a lot of the content that differentiates me from other candidates, so personally I’d rather take the chance and keep my résumé longer.  If you are feeling the same way about your résumé, my humble recommendation would be to go with your gut instinct rather than following generic rules about résumé length.

Do you have a story to share about the length of your résumé or feedback you’ve received?  Please feel free to share them in the comments section below, or send them via twitter to @Rich_Velazquez.

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Success Strategies for National Career Conference

2008 NSHMBA Conference Richard at Microsoft Booth In 2004, I received 5 job offers from 5 different companies in 5 different industries at the Annual Career Conference for the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA).  I ultimately decided to accept the offer from Microsoft and ended up spending seven amazing years in Seattle on the Xbox 360 team.  By most standards and my own estimation, that experience at the National Conference was a huge success.  While I was already an officer (President-Elect) of the Puerto Rico chapter of NSHMBA at that time, this experience solidified my resolve to constantly give back to this great organization so that others can reap similar rewards.  As such, I co-founded the NSHMBA Seattle Chapter in 2005 and served as President for 4 years.  In that period of time, I’ve spoken at many events for NSHMBA members to share the strategies I employed at the conference as a job seeker.  Since I’ve worn several different hats at the NSHMBA Conference, I provide feedback from multiple perspectives.  I have attended ten of the last eleven conferences as an MBA Student, an MBA graduate (some call us “industry-hires”), a NSHMBA Chapter Officer, and a Corporate Recruiter.  In that last role, I attended the conference six years as a volunteer recruiter for Microsoft, and have looked at several hundred resumes and spoken with hundreds of candidates.

With the 2012 NSHMBA National Conference just a month away (October 4-6, 2012 in Orlando, Florida), I feel it is a good time to share my tips on a broader scale so that new attendees can maximize their time at the event.  While I speak from my experience at the NSHMBA Conference, most of these tips can be employed at any type of national or local career fair.  So, without further ado, here is my top 12 list of tips for the NSHMBA National Conference.

1) Focus on your résumé – this is obviously the first and one of the most important focus areas for any job seeker.  I can’t count the number of times I’ve met an obviously intelligent and articulate candidate that has presented me with a lackluster résumé.  If you have a great résumé, skip this section and go straight to tip #2 since this is a long one.

For those that have not been on the recruiting side, here’s how it works for most large companies.  The Human Resources (HR) and Talent Acquisition teams are in attendance to coordinate the organization’s presence at the conference and “train” all of the corporate recruiting volunteers.  These volunteers are generally hiring managers or individuals employed in the fields for which career opportunities exist (i.e. managers from finance, marketing, sales, etc.) .  For the large companies, the volunteer recruiters generally outnumber the talent acquisition representatives, so the HR reps coordinate and sync with the volunteers to identify the top candidates for on-site interviews, phone interviews, and fly-backs (an in-person interview at the company’s location).

Now that you have that background, it might be easier to understand why the résumé is still critical even in a face-to-face environment like a career fair.  I may like you as a potential candidate, but I will have a difficult time selling you to the talent acquisition team if that potential is not reflected in your résumé, especially with other volunteer recruiters talking with other candidates and selling the HR reps on the individuals they felt were top notch.

In addition, of the hundreds (going on thousands) of résumés that I have seen at these conferences, over 90% from my personal experience are simply too poor to consider seriously.  I would highly encourage everyone to have friends, family members, fellow NSHMBA members, chapter officers, etc. look at your résumé before you print hundreds of copies.  There are dozens of free online resources you can use to improve your résumé.  That isn’t the focus of this blog post, but I will briefly highlight the top areas for improvement I have seen:

a) Be clear what you are looking for.  Don’t make the recruiter guess what position you are seeking, because with so many candidates, most people won’t take the time.  Many MBA students have lots of experience in lots of different fields, and some (like me) are career switchers.  Therefore, clearly state your objective at the top.  If you are looking for opportunities in different fields (i.e. both marketing and corporate strategy), make a unique résumé for each objective and be selective which one you hand out.

b) The majority of résumés I have seen list “Responsibilities” with no “Accomplishments”.  Any person in your role would have your set of responsibilities, what sets you apart is what you’ve accomplished in that role.  As a general rule, you should have one MAJOR accomplishment for each year that you’ve been in a role.  Plus, never start off with “Responsible for..”.  That is a passive voice and there is always a better way to say something in an active voice.  For example, instead of “Responsible for managing a team….”, just say “Managed a team….”

c) Spelling and grammatical areas.  Some recruiters don’t care, most do.  It is more than once that I’ve seen someone’s strength listed as “Strong attention to detal [sic]”, having misspelled “Detail”, or listing “Manager” as “Manger”.  Once again, have a fresh set of eyes review your résumé.  The résumé is a reflection of you, so don’t give the impression that you didn’t take the time to proofread your résumé

d) For some, forget the “One Page Rule”.  This is a controversial one because so many people insist on compressing your résumé onto one page.  If you have a ton of experience, don’t sell yourself short by squeezing it onto one page.  I’d rather see a full list of accomplishments across two pages, than a short list of responsibilities on only one page. (See my other post, “Résumé Myths – The One-Page Résumé”)

2) Apply for interviews online on NSHMBA’s conference site well in advance – Most companies will close their online application process for the conference at least a week or two before the start of the conference to allow themselves time to review all the resumes and applications submitted and decide whom they will reach out to for an on-site interview.  It is a lot easier to get an on-site interview in advance than it is to get one at the conference (although not impossible, and I write about that below).  You want to get your interviews on-site, since the process from on-site interview to job offer is much faster than waiting for a follow-up call for a phone interview after the conference.  Also, more companies are starting to move to making offers directly at the conference, so securing that interview schedule in advance will allow you to better prepare for that all-important interview.

3)  Prioritize your list of companies and do your research – there are over 200 organizations at this career fair so it can become daunting.  It would be impossible to visit or do research on every company at the conference, so don’t bother.  Do some homework only on your top 10 companies.  Look for recent news articles, know the CEOs, understand their products and/or services, get a rough idea of how their business divisions are set up, understand their priority global markets.  For your top three to five companies, go even deeper.  What is their most recent stock price and how has their stock performed in the past five years?  What are their top strategic priorities and most immediate challenges?  Who are their key competitors and how are their products/services differentiated?  Find out the names of their key officers, especially in the field to which you are applying (for example, if you are applying to marketing, who is their CMO?  For finance, who is the CFO? etc.)  When you have an opportunity to speak with a recruiter or representative from that company, ask intelligent questions based on your research of that company.  I can tell you that leaves a lasting impression, because so few candidates actually do this.  I had one conference attendee ask me (no joke), “So, what does Microsoft do?”.  You can take a guess as to who was not even in the consideration set after that question.

4) Arrive early and visit your top companies on the FIRST day of the career fair – There are a few reasons why I make this recommendation.  First, you will have a better opportunity to spend more time speaking to the representatives of the company of your choice early in the morning on the first day.  Things don’t pick up until later, at which point you will find very long lines at the top tier companies (it is not unusual to wait an hour to speak to a representative during the “rush-hour”).  Even if you want to “practice” talking to representatives from companies you are not that interested in to get rid of the jitters before talking to your top choices, make sure to talk to ALL of your top companies before noon on the first day.

Second, you will set yourself apart by talking to your top tier companies before your fellow job seekers (aka “competitors”).  The recruiters are all fresh and eager to get started on the very first day.  By the end of the conference, many folks are tired and want to go home.  Get them while they’re fresh.  Also, being first shows you’re eager to speak with someone from that company, which always comes off as a positive attribute to these representatives.  If you wait until the last hours of the last day of the conference, the reps will tend to feel that you are not as serious as other candidates, and are just there as a back-up.  No one wants to feel like someone’s last choice, especially when they have options of people that made them their first choice.

Finally, many companies will keep a portion of their interview slots open to give to high potential candidates that they meet at the conference.  They will generally tend to fill up these open interview slots on the first day of the career conference.  I received four of my seven interviews at the 2004 conference by asking for them at the career fair on the first day or the corporate receptions (more on this later).  As mentioned, your goal should be to get an interview at the conference.  If you wait until the second day (or even the end of the first day), all of those open interview slots will likely be filled.

5) Prepare and practice your elevator pitch – every MBA student knows what an elevator pitch is, but many don’t have one.  If you don’t, you can find a ton of online resources to help you generate one.  Create your personalized elevator pitch and then practice it, OUT LOUD, in front of a mirror, fellow student, colleague, parent, or pet.  You must feel comfortable with it and it should come out as second nature.  However, be flexible with it so that you can adjust to the changing circumstances of your environment and audience.  As mentioned, for most of the top tier companies, there will be long lines of potential candidates that the company representatives need to go through.  You may only have two minutes to make your impression and speak about why you are a good fit for the company.  A bit of preparation goes a long way in making that first impression.

6) Always be prepared for an interview – it has happened to me at the conference, and I have done it to potential candidates.  One second you’re giving your elevator pitch to a company representative, the next minute you are squeezed into an interview slot for that same company.  In the 2008 conference, I met an outstanding candidate at the career fair, but our company ran out of formal interview slots.  So I went to a quiet area of the career hall and gave her an interview on the spot.  I will continue to emphasize that your goal should be to get that interview, so if you get it, you might not have time to prepare for it.  Prepare in advance!  If you followed tip #3, you already know something about this company, but perhaps it wasn’t a company for which you prepared to interview.  No matter!  The vast majority of interviews you will have will be behavioral interviews, so you should prepare answers for these types of questions in advance and know them cold.  Standard questions such as “What is your greatest strength/weakness?”, “What is your greatest achievement?”, “Give me some examples of your leadership/teamwork/communications skills”, etc. etc.  Once again, there are plenty of online resources to help you identify the most common behavioral interview questions.  Type each of these questions into Word document, then type out multiple answers for each question.  Read these out load BEFORE the conference.  The point is not to memorize these answers, but to bring to the top of your memory examples from your prior work experience that you will be asked about.  I have interviewed many candidates with these standard questions, and can easily tell those that prepared versus those that did not.  Some people will argue that if you practice these in advance, it will sound pre-fabricated and the recruiter will know.  That does NOT matter.  I know when someone has prepared answers for these questions in advance, and I can tell you that I far prefer to speak to someone who is prepared than to someone who has to take five minutes to think about how to answer “What is your greatest strength”.  Be prepared.

7)  Attend the Corporate Receptions – most companies will throw a reception, party, or small get-together for interested candidates.  Many of these will be open to all conference attendees, some are by invitation only.  If you are interested in a company that is throwing an open reception, you should absolutely attend.  This is the opportunity to speak with representatives away from the chaos of the career fair floor.  You will have more time with less pressure to speak with them, and you will get to speak with many more representatives than you could at the career fair.  Don’t miss out.  Please remember that the companies are there to hire people, so even at the receptions, we are looking for talent.  So don’t forget to bring your résumé and DON’T GET WASTED (even if the recruiters do).  You should treat these events as a large group interview, so behave accordingly.

8) Build Rapport – HR reps, hiring managers, company representatives, and recruiters are all just people. It’s important to build rapport with them, because many times they are thinking “Is this the type of person I’d want to work with?” and “Are they a good fit for our corporate culture?”  Building rapport takes time, so this is difficult to do at the career fair booths because of the long lines and time constraints.  Therefore, try to do this at the corporate receptions, lunch meetings, dinners, etc.  If you are at the career fair booth during a slow time, feel free to take your time with the recruiters to build rapport.  Also, don’t hesitate to check back on your top companies to see if the lines have died down and ask the reps how they are doing.  As long as you don’t overdo it (see tip #10 below), you will be more memorable and they’ll know that you are truly interested in the company.

9) Ask for an Interview – As I mentioned earlier, many companies will keep a small number of interview slots open for high potential candidates that they meet at the conference.  I specifically asked for an interview for the majority of the on-site interviews I received at the conference in 2004.  As a speaker at a breakout session at a NSHMBA Conference, I once mentioned the fact about interview slots and my success in directly asking for interviews, and the results proved to be disastrous.  I had a couple of candidates come up to me at the career fair and, before even introducing themselves, directly asked me for an interview slot.  I naturally told them no.  They missed the basic point that these are reserved for high-potential candidates, so just asking for an interview without an elevator pitch (tip #5) or building rapport (tip #8) was absolutely the wrong way to go about doing it.

There are two main times when you will have an opportunity to ask for an interview.  The first one is at the career fair AFTER you’ve given your elevator pitch and AFTER the representative seems to be done with the conversation (see tip #10 below).  If they have not offered to interview you on-site by this point, you can then state your great interest in working for the company and the desire to be interviewed should they have any slots open.  If they do not, ask them at least for an invitation to their corporate reception (if it is not public).

The second opportunity is at a corporate reception AFTER you’ve built rapport with a representative.  If things seem to be going well, once again, express your desire to be part of the company and ask if they have any open slots for you to interview at the conference.  If things do NOT seem to be going well, try to move on to another representative and repeat the process.  You will have greater success getting an interview slot with someone you’ve made a positive connection with, but if you ask prematurely, you may have used up your options.  Be selective about when you ask.

10) Observe visual and verbal cues – When speaking to a recruiter, don’t be oblivious to visual/verbal cues that your time is up.  Representatives are there to network and meet as many high potential candidates as possible, so don’t monopolize their time.  Take enough time to build rapport (tip #8), but if there is a line forming or you see the representative fidgeting/looking around/checking their watch, etc., it’s time to move on.  This is especially true if they directly tell you that they have to speak to other candidates.  I’ve had candidates take up an inordinate amount of my time, and trying to be direct without being rude, I have told them that I need to move on.  They have literally refused to let me go because they have one or two more things they want to say.  That certainly does not leave a positive impression.  Thank the representative for their time, ask them if it is ok if you can contact them for questions and/or advice, then move on to do some more networking of your own.

11) Network with your peers – your peers and colleagues are a valuable resource at the conference, so don’t overlook them.  They may have heard about an opportunity that is not of interest to them, but may be of interest to you.  When I was an MBA student at one of these conferences, I met someone who knew someone who was an intern at P&G in Puerto Rico.  I asked them to point her out to me, I met with her and talked about her experiences, and she connected me with the recruiter that hired her the previous summer.  I followed up with that recruiter and ultimately landed a position at P&G in Puerto Rico.  One of the many advantages of being at a conference versus applying for positions online is the sheer number of people you can meet in person.  Take advantage of this available network and don’t forget that networking is a two-way street.  Pass along information and opportunities to others that may benefit.

12) Don’t get discouraged – I had a professional career recruiter (not associated with any company), look at my resume and tell me that I would have a tough time finding another marketing position since I had relatively little marketing experience (even though it was with P&G) compared to my technical experience.  I had a total of seven interviews at the conference and turned down two requests for fly-back interviews since I was crisscrossing the country interviewing at my top five companies (all for marketing positions).  Needless to say, she was completely off the mark.  Stay focused and stay positive.  It is not as hard as you would think to set yourself apart from thousands of other candidates.  Little things go a long way to make you memorable to the recruiters who are there to hire top talent.  If you are truly excited about the opportunity and the company, that comes across and you will achieve your goals if you are qualified for what you are seeking.

Feel free to leave any questions or feedback in the comments section below.  For a more rapid response, you can ping your questions through Twitter to @Rich_Velazquez and I’d be happy to address them for everyone to benefit.

For those seeking a new career opportunity at the 2012 NSHMBA National Career Conference or any other career fair, I wish you the best of luck.


Recess from the Recession – Investing in Higher Education

image (An article I authored originally published January 16, 2009 in Tu Decides Newspaper, WA.  A Spanish language translation of this article can be found by clicking here.)

The national unemployment rate hit 7.2% in December (2009) – the highest rate in 15 years. Last year alone, 2.6 million jobs were lost. While much has been said about the challenging economy and unemployment, a topic frequently missing from the headlines is a potential reinvestment in higher education. Is it more worthwhile to reinvest in your own education than trying to find a new job in this economy?  Here are two things to consider:

1. Return On Investment

One of the greatest expenses of an advanced degree is the opportunity cost of lost wages during your time in school. From a financial perspective, there is no better time to invest in your education than during a period of reduced wages and employment opportunities. Analyzing data from the U.S. Census Bureau, a Master’s degree will help you accumulate roughly $4.9 million in lifetime earnings versus $3.8 million for bachelor’s degrees and less than $1.8 million for high school education only. Also, factor in the investment potential of these extra dollars and the payoff is evident. You can maximize your return on investment by leveraging opportunities to lower the costs of attending graduate school.

For Hispanics, there are two exceptional opportunities for financing a higher education in business. The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management (CGSM) provides a full two-year fellowship to diverse individuals seeking an MBA ( The National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA) offers scholarships between $2,500 and $10,000 per year to Hispanics pursuing graduate management education. ( There were less than eight applicants for this scholarship from Washington last year, so odds of receiving a scholarship are good for those with demonstrable academic achievement.

2. More Opportunities

It may be difficult to consider making a career change when you are in a stable job. The jolt of unemployment or potential unemployment might be the wakeup call you need to evaluate whether your current career meets your ambitions. If it does not, consider expanding your education credentials at this juncture to help you achieve your ultimate career goals. Returning to school could help increase the range of positions for which you are eligible in your current company or industry, or even give you greater access to completely new industries and positions. Post-graduate degrees can also help widen your geographical reach. For example, for those in the auto industry, escaping Detroit might be a significant long-term career goal. I entered the MBA program at the University of California Berkeley in an attempt to switch from the automotive industry to the tech industry. After navigating through the dot com implosion, I renewed my career search at the NSHMBA National Career Conference in 2004. I received five job offers in five different industries, an impossible feat for me to accomplish without an advanced degree. Education can be used as a means to ride out the economic storm, reinvest in oneself, and create more opportunities long term. My story demonstrates that while recessions are temporary situations, higher education is a lifelong asset.

Richard Velazquez is the President of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA) Seattle Chapter and a Sr. Product Planning Manager for the Xbox group at Microsoft. For more information about NSHMBA Seattle, visit

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Receso de la Recesión

image (this is the Spanish Language Translation of my article “Recess from Recession”).

La tasa nacional de desempleo llegó a 7.2% en diciembre (2009) – la tasa más alta en 15 años. Sólo el año pasado, se perdieron 2.6 millones de empleos. Si bien se ha hablado mucho de la difícil situación económica y el desempleo, un tema que con frecuencia se omite en los titulares es una potencial reinversión en educación superior. ¿Es más útil reinvertir en su propia educación que tratar de encontrar un nuevo empleo en esta economía? Aquí hay dos cosas a considerar:

1. Retorno de la Inversión

Uno de los mayores gastos de un grado avanzado es el costo de oportunidad de las remuneraciones perdidas durante su tiempo en la escuela. Desde una perspectiva financiera, no hay mejor momento para invertir en su educación que durante un período de reducción de salarios y menores oportunidades de empleo. Analizando los datos de la Oficina del Censo de los EE.UU., un grado de Maestría le ayudará a acumular alrededor de $4.9 millones en ingresos en toda su vida frente a $3.8 millones para una persona con título de licenciatura y menos de $1.8 millones aquellos que únicamente terminaron la educación secundaria. Asimismo, el factor en el potencial de inversion de esos dólares extra y la rentabilidad es evidente.

Puede maximizar el retorno de su inversion al aprovechar las oportunidades para reducir el costo de asistir a una escuela de postgrado. Para los hispanos, hay dos oportunidades excepcionales para la financiación de una educación superior en negocios. El Consorcio para Estudios de Posgrado en Gestión (CGSM) ofrece una beca completa de dos años a diversas personas que buscan un MBA. ( La Sociedad Nacional de MBAs Hispanos (NSHMBA) ofrece becas entre $2,500 y $10,000 por año para hispanos que desean seguir estudios de postgrado en gestión. ( Se presentaron menos de ocho solicitantes del área de Washington para esta beca el año pasado, por lo que las probabilidades de recibir una beca son buenas para los que tienen logros académicos demostrables.

2. Más Oportunidades

Puede ser difícil considerar la posibilidad de un cambio de carrera cuando te encuentras en un empleo estable. El susto del desempleo o desempleo potencial podría ser la llamada que lo despierte de su aturdimiento que necesita para evaluar si su actual carrera se ajusta a sus ambiciones. Si no es así, considere la posibilidad de ampliar su educación en este momento para ayudarle a alcanzar sus objetivos de carrera decisivos. Regresar a la escuela podría ayudar a aumentar la gama de posiciones para las cuales usted es elegible en su actual empresa o industria, o incluso darle un mayor acceso a industrias y posiciones completamente nuevas. Los títulos de Post-grado también pueden

ayudarle a ampliar su alcance geográfico. Por ejemplo, para los que se encuentran en la industria automotriz, escapar de Detroit podría ser un importante objetivo de carrera a largo plazo. Entré en el programa de MBA en la Universidad de California, Berkeley, en un intento de pasar de la industria automotriz al sector de tecnología. Después de navegar a través de la explosión de los puntocom, renové mi búsqueda de carrera en la Conferencia Nacional de Carreras de la NSHMBA en 2004. Recibí cinco ofertas de trabajo en cinco industrias diferentes, una hazaña imposible para mí de lograr sin un grado avanzado. La educación puede utilizarse como un medio para capear el temporal económico, reinvertir en uno mismo, y crear más oportunidades a largo plazo. Mi historia muestra que mientras que las recesiones son situaciones temporales, la educación superior es un active para toda la vida.

Richard Velázquez es el Presidente de la Sociedad Nacional de MBAs Hispanos (NSHMBA) en la sede de Seattle y un Gerente de Planificación de Producto Senior del grupo Xbox de Microsoft. Para obtener más información acerca de la NSHMBA en Seattle, visite

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NSHMBA Seattle and Microsoft Diversity in 2010

On November 11, 2010, the Seattle Chapter of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA), in partnership with nine other community organizations, held the Biannual Microsoft Diversity Recruiting and Networking event at the Commons in Microsoft Studios West.  This event continues to increase in popularity and we had to close the registration list when we hit 600 attendees.  The final count was north of 400 and turned out to be one of our best events to date.  We changed the format from previous events DSC_7987to have a larger focus on recruiting.  So we did away with Keynote Speakers and instead had a Career Fair room where job seekers had the opportunity to speak directly to Microsoft recruiters without interruption.  We also invited, for the first time, six local MBA programs to have a booth at the career fair to talk to attendees about the benefits of getting an MBA.  Thanks to the six schools that participated:

  • University of Washington – Foster School of Business
  • University of Washington – Bothell
  • University of Phoenix
  • Bainbridge Graduate Institute
  • Argosy University
  • Seattle Pacific University

DSC_8000 We also included a résumé review area so that attendees could schedule time with a professional career couch to have their résumés critiqued.  I’d like to thank all of the reviewers who volunteered their time to help the attendees.  Also new for this event was a separate room devoted to a Job Hunting 2.0 Panel – a panel of Microsoft recruiters that talked about leveraging social media in a career search.  Special thanks to the panel:

  • Christine Chen, Chen Communications, Panel Moderator
  • Jason Pankow (Blog expert)
  • Kay Kelison (Twitter expert)
  • Heather McGough (Facebook expert)
  • Marvin Smith (LinkedIn expert)

I would finally like to thank all of the partner organizations that helped make this event such a great success for Microsoft, the schools, and all of the participants.  They include:

  • Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers Puget Sound Chapter (SHPE – PSC)
  • National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP)
  • Ascend Seattle
  • Association of Washington State Hispanic Chambers of Commerce (AWSHCC)
  • King County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (KCHCC)
  • El Centro de la Raza
  • Professional Women of Color Network (PWOCN)
  • Executive Development Institute (EDI)
  • Washington State Commission on Hispanic Affairs

We plan to continue holding two events per year in 2011 and beyond, generally in April and November.  Details will be posted as they become available on .

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Microsoft Diversity Recruiting and Networking Event

temp Last Sunday I was humbled and honored by the Seattle Times when they featured me on the front page of their NWJobs section (click here or on the image to see the full article).  I didn’t realize this was more than a blog post until several co-workers mentioned it when I returned from Washington D.C.  The story focused on the large recruiting event that I organize twice a year for Microsoft through the Seattle Chapter of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA).  The next event is coming up on Thursday, November 11, 2010 and will be held at Microsoft Studios West Campus (details and registration here). 

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NSHMBA Brillante Award at the National Conference in Minneapolis

At the 2009 NSHMBA National Conference in Minneapolis, I received the NSHMBA Brillante Award for Member Service Excellence from emcee Maria Celeste Arraras (host of Al Rojo Vivo con Maria Celeste on Telemundo/NBC).

According to the NSHMBA website, “this is the most prestigious honor granted by the organization, and is given to bright, radiant, and shining leaders whose work and contributions reflect NSHMBA’s mission “to foster Hispanic leadership through graduate management education and professional development in order to improve society”. This was my first nomination for the award, and I was honored to have received this award based on both my professional accomplishments and more than a decade of leadership in the Hispanic community driving initiatives to improve educational and career opportunities.

I could not have received this award without the help of many individuals along the way, so I would like to thank some of them here:

First, my wife, Christine Chen. Running the Seattle Chapter as President these past two years is akin to having a second full-time job, and working at Microsoft is already more than a full-time commitment. She has been extremely supportive of the amount of time and energy that I devote to the organization and to Microsoft, and has even volunteered to serve on the NSHMBA Board to show her support and provide her expertise to advance the mission of the chapter. Had she not been so supportive, I would not have continued to grow the chapter to what is has become, so she is most directly responsible for the success that I have achieved. I cannot thank her enough.

Second, to the NSHMBA Seattle Board Members, volunteers, and student liaisons, who volunteer their time to drive our mission and grow our chapter. I am very grateful for the amount of their own personal time that they sacrifice for the benefit of others. Among this group, I would like to commend a few exceptional individuals who have gone above and beyond the call of duty:

  • Fernanda Badano – one of my original fellow cofounders of the NSHMBA Seattle Chapter in 2005, Fernanda has worked tirelessly and non-stop during our rapid growth in several different roles. As VP of Events, she spearheaded our expansion from one event a quarter, to, at times, up to 3-4 events per month. We would not be able to sustain this growth without her dedication and leadership.
  • Sandra Rivera – a fairly recent transplant to Seattle from Texas, Sandra jumped right into volunteerism with the Seattle board when she arrived. As VP of Marketing, she has brought structure, process, and creativity to our marketing efforts and has been instrumental in the phenomenal growth in attendance and awareness of our organization. We have gained the shining star of Texas with her arrival.
  • Hector Torres – another original fellow cofounder, Hector has touched, formatted, compiled, assembled, and more practically every bit of communication that has ever gone out from the NSHMBA Seattle Chapter. If that’s not amazing enough, he doesn’t even live in Seattle yet contributes an incredible amount of his time to sustain and grow the chapter. Hector has also become another indispensable member of the board.
  • Miguel Gil – translating his experience in finance at Microsoft into the CFO role for NSHMBA Seattle has enabled us to do an outstanding job in forecasting, budgeting, and accounting. I’d be lost in a financial quagmire for the chapter if it weren’t for Miguel.
  • Anthony Garcia – driving our efforts with collegiate partners as VP of Education, Anthony has enabled us to reach out to the many MBA programs in Washington and Oregon, extending our reach and awareness well beyond our founding university partner, UW.
  • Evelyn Martinez – the first volunteer for the pilot Student Liaison Program for NSHMBA Seattle, Evelyn has brought to life everything we hoped the program would be, and has helped us a firm foothold in the state of Oregon, encouraging talks about expanding the chapter beyond Washington.

The awards ceremony was held on Saturday, October 10, 2009 shortly after the end of the NSHMBA National Career Expo. I had spent the previous two days at the Microsoft booth helping the MBA recruiting team talk to prospective candidates. The Brillante Awards ceremony was a very nice ending to a great conference. In lieu of acceptance speeches, the NSHMBA team selects a topic that helped the recipient receive their award. My topic was the student liaison program (which I blogged about previously).

After the awards ceremony, the entire audience was treated to a concert by Latin-Grammy awarding winning singer, Alejandro Fernandez. Post-party salsa dancing at Picosa was difficult to get into, but a great time nonetheless. Overall, I had a fantastic time and will cherish the memories and the award for many years to come. Below are some pictures of the event (with the Student Liaisons and with my wife).

IMG_8273 IMG_8300

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NSHMBA Seattle Student Liaison Program – Sharing Best Practices

Some feedback I received from interviewing NSHMBA Presidents on the west coast is that we lack an effective forum for regularly sharing best practices.  I feel this LinkedIn group is a perfect opportunity to do just that.  I’d like to start it off with one of our new and successful programs for 2009, the Student Liaison Program.


  • Build awareness of NSHMBA in MBA programs in the Pacific Northwest.
  • Increase membership by enrolling student members in untapped universities.
  • Increase attendance at our events through better promotions at the university level.
  • Establish a main point of contact to the administrators of these programs to promote the NSHMBA National Conference, the NSHMBA Scholarship, and the University Partner Program.
  • Increase Hispanic student representation at both the Universities and the National Conference.

Program Outline:

Student Liaisons from AACSB accredited MBA programs in Washington and Oregon agree to support the chapter by:

  • marketing NSHMBA events and programs
  • attend monthly conference calls and board meetings
  • submit status reports
  • compiling statistics on Hispanic representation in their respective programs
  • serve as a conduit to the adminstration to promote NSHMBA Scholarship, Conference, and UPP.

In exchange, Student Liaisons receive:

  • $400 towards travel to the NSHMBA National Conference and Career Expo
  • Complimentary NSHMBA Student Membership
  • Access and visibility to local corporate recruiters and sponsor companies
  • Direct access to NSHMBA Seattle Executive Board of professional members for mentorship, recommendations, and referrals.

Full details on our chapter website:


1) Preliminary results have been promising.  Since our founding in 2005, we’ve only had consistent dealings with one school, the University of Washington Foster School of Business.  Since we initiated the Student Liaison Program, we’ve expanded to 5 additional schools and have a student liaison in each school:

  • University of Washington-Bothell
  • Gonzaga University
  • Seattle University
  • Willamette University
  • Washington State University

    2) Our student liaison at Willamette, Evelyn Martinez, has done a phenomenal job in organizing our very first event in Portland, Oregon (a 3-hour drive from Seattle) – the Career Management Program geared to professionals and students in Oregon attending the National Conference.  This will segue into another event next month in Oregon.  This is the beginning of our goal to increase the presence of NSHMBA to our neighboring state of Oregon.

    3) All five student liaisons will be traveling to the National Conference.  They are also actively promoting the National Conference in their respective schools.  Before this program, many of the administrators at these schools did not know about the NSHMBA National Conference.  There will now be representation at the Conference from schools that have never historically attended.

    4) In promoting this program to the Universities, we made contact with the Business Director of the University of Washington – Bothell, and they have agreed to join the University Partner Program and attend the NSHMBA National Conference.

    Next Steps:

    1) Our goal for this academic year is to expand this program to identify student liaisons in five additional universities, for a total of 10 student liaisons.

    2) We will be following up with the current and future universities, through contacts provided by the liaisons, to promote the University Partner Program.

    3) All Student Liaisons will be able to meet at the National Conference, for a strategic planning session as well as to share best practices from each of the schools.

    4) We plan a much stronger scholarship drive from the Pacific Northwest by leveraging the student liaisons before the scholarship period begins.

    5) Share the program with other NSHMBA Chapter Presidents.  Do other chapters have a similar program?  What have your results been and how can we learn from your experiences?

    If you have any questions about this program, feel free to contact me.

    Richard Velazquez, NSHMBA Seattle President

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    NSHMBA Seattle President’s Intro for Newsletter – June 2009

    Dear members and friends –

    The weather is improving tremendously but the economy remains weak and still poses a challenge for many. As corporate jobs become harder to find, many begin to look at this time as an opportunity for a new business venture. NSHMBA Seattle has organized a panel of entrepreneurs, including Christine Chen of Chen Communications and Marcelo Garces of Luxtom Homes, to talk about their experiences building and maintaining a startup in this economy and provide information for those considering their own ventures. This event occurs on Wednesday, June 24th and you can find full details in this newsletter and at

    We also had two great events last month that will lead to future events later this year. The Pre-MBA Admissions session was attended by representatives of seven local MBA programs and provided valuable information to attendees interested in pursuing graduate management education. We plan to hold a similar session this fall based on the very positive feedback we received. I would like to thank our VP of Education, Anthony Garcia, for putting this event together and moderating the panel. I also want to personally thank the representatives of the attending schools for their time and energy at this event. The attending schools were: Bainbridge Graduate Institute, City University of Seattle, Northwest University, Seattle Pacific University, Seattle University, University of Washington, and Willamette University.

    We at NSHMBA Seattle would also like to extend our sincere gratitude to our sponsor, American Family Insurance, for hosting the first NSHMBA Seattle Speed Networking event, which turned out to be a smashing success. The format was devised by our own VP of Events, Fernanda Badano, and facilitated by her and our VP of Marketing, Sandra Rivera. You can read more about that event in the event recap below.

    Finally, on May 31st we joined our partners at Expo NW for the Latino Business and Consumer Expo in Kennewick. The event was an outstanding success with thousands of attendees and dozens of sponsoring companies. Additionally, we made some valuable connections who are interested in extending our chapter to the Eastern Washington. If you live in Eastern Washington and would like to get involved with this effort, please contact me at NSHMBA Seattle is proud to be an official partner of Expo NW and we look forward to working with Blanca and Albert Torres and Gracie Campos on the October event to be held in Bellevue. A full event recap is available on
    Tu Decides Newspaper Online.

    We will be taking July off to enjoy the weather, so our next event after the Entrepreneur Panel will be our annual Summer BBQ/Picnic. We look forward to seeing you at our June events. Have a wonderful summer!

    Happy reading,

    Richard Velazquez
    President, NSHMBA Seattle


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