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Going the Extra Mile: Carlos Arango Combines Military Experience With an Executive MBA to Advance His Career

Georgia Tech Scheller Executive MBA student Carlos Arango shares how his military background impacts his approach to the degree and how he landed his new job thanks to the opportunities the program provides.
Georgia Tech Scheller Executive MBA student Carlos Arango

Georgia Tech Scheller Executive MBA student Carlos Arango

Carlos Arango is a Georgia Tech Scheller Executive MBA (EMBA) student, Air Force veteran, and now, management consultant at Accenture. Arango, who previously worked in risk management and procurement while serving as a traditional reserve civil engineer in the military, credits the networking opportunities the EMBA program provided for helping him secure his new role. We recently caught up with Arango to learn about his experience in the program and how his military background has impacted his journey.

Why did you choose to come back to school and earn your EMBA?

Getting an MBA had always been a dream of mine, but it seemed so far away, as if it were something I couldn't achieve due to time restrictions. Whether it was military training, deployment, a family life event, or now, a pandemic, I was constantly in the middle of something. But time shouldn't be an obstacle. If you truly want to achieve something in life, you must learn to deal with every situation that arises and stay focused on your objectives.

I've always considered myself a capable corporate leader, and in previous roles, I've always done my best to lead and contribute fairly to the business. However, I've felt that something was lacking and preventing me from establishing a stronger foundation as a company leader. Since returning to school for an MBA, I’ve strengthened my management and business skills, as well as my confidence in my capability of becoming the outstanding corporate leader I know I can be. That confidence was the missing link. I know that obtaining an MBA will help me to excel in any business or profession I pursue.

Scheller’s EMBA program has supported the development of my analytical talents, long-term strategic thinking, networking ability, and leadership capabilities. I've always been interested in administration and management, and this outstanding MBA from Scheller has given me the academic knowledge and experience I've required. This MBA is a stepping stone for me to make a career transformation.

Why did you choose the Scheller College of Business?

Scheller's MBA programs produce leaders who are well-suited to contribute value and make a difference in a tech-driven economy. Regardless of industry, I believed Scheller would provide me with the skills required in today's tech-savvy world. Residing in Georgia and being near to so many excellent institutions, Scheller was my first choice.

Has having a military background impacted the way you have approached getting your MBA?

One of the most challenging things I've ever done was enroll in an MBA program. I needed to be willing to go the extra mile to achieve my career goals and invest time and effort into a curriculum that could only be described as demanding. There are no easy passes when it comes to an MBA, which is why they are so valuable, right?

The military mindset is the product of extensive training, strong discipline, and undivided focus. It forced me to concentrate on completing certain tasks with the express aim of completing a mission, regardless of where I was on my flight (team). When confronted with obstacles, adopting a military mindset helped me have a clear path and achieve the goals I signed up for, no matter how difficult they may be. The mindset necessary to complete a task in the military is comparable to the attitude required to earn an MBA. Studying for an MBA will push you out of your comfort zone and motivate you to work harder, smarter, and longer than you have previously.

What was your experience on the EMBA international residency in Dubai like?

The student international residency program was a fantastic experience and coming to Dubai as a global business graduate was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It helped me develop a better understanding of global business. I learned so much by watching real-world initiatives taking place in Dubai's rising businesses. It was ideal for strengthening important soft skills, like adaptation and cultural sensitivity to business procedures and cultures outside of my own country.

How did being in the EMBA program assist with you getting your new position at Accenture?

The EMBA program assisted me in looking at all of my years of work experience, valuing it, and determining how to increase the value of those years of experience. The curriculum offered me an excellent overview of management, strategy, and innovation, but it was the connections and advice I gained from the program that really pushed me forward. The EMBA program aided me in obtaining my new position by providing me with many networking opportunities, allowing me to consider multiple possibilities, and in the end, choose something fresh that I never imagined I would be capable of.

What has been your favorite part of Scheller’s EMBA program?

One of my favorite aspects of the EMBA program is the relationships I established with other students. These interactions influenced my perspective on business development. Many students and faculty members encouraged me to connect and strive for more and to find value that is unique. I met amazing individuals with different experiences and perspectives than mine, but it was amazing to see our shared desire to earn a higher degree and achieve more in our careers.

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