Wharton Celebrates National Hispanic Heritage/Latinx Month

During National Hispanic Heritage Month, Wharton celebrates the histories, cultures, and contributions of Hispanic and Latinx Americans. In honor of this month, we’re hosting a special admissions event: Hispanic & Latinx Perspectives at Wharton. Join us to hear alumni and students from Hispanic and Latinx communities share how their backgrounds and perspectives enriched the overall Wharton EMBA program experience, and how the program professionally and personally impacted them. The event will be held Tuesday, September 28 at 8:30pm EDT. 

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We also are highlighting stories about the experiences of Latinx alumni in Wharton’s EMBA program.

Sulianet (Suli) Ortiz Torres, WG’21 
Facilities Systems Engineering Manager, Disney Parks, Experiences, and Products 

“I wanted the toughest program possible and to be pushed outside of my comfort zone. If I could succeed in this rigorous program, then I could succeed anywhere,” she said. After being accepted into Wharton, Suli found a “welcoming and collaborative” learning environment. As for diversity, she saw that it takes on a lot of different definitions at Wharton from industry, function, and family background to culture, geography, age, and religion.

“To me, diversity means allowing everyone from different experiences, interests, races, and socio-economic backgrounds to sit together. There were around 110 students in my cohort, and everyone brought something unique to the program. We also all shared the desire to learn and work through challenges as a common ground,” she said.

Yezenia Ramos, WG’09
Senior Manager of Employee Engagement – Global Community Impact, Johnson & Johnson

“My parents are from Puerto Rico, and my sisters and I are the first in our family to be born in the mainland U.S. and the first generation to go to college.”… She explained, “My parents always stressed the value of education, and my sisters had gone to graduate school. I wanted to further my education as well, and gain new perspectives and a more holistic view of business.”

Yezenia set her sights on Wharton’s EMBA program for several reasons. “I wanted to go to the best finance school possible. I also wanted to take classes with other experienced professionals because that would elevate the classroom conversations and provide an opportunity to extend my network. Finally, J&J’s educational assistance program would provide sponsorship at Wharton.”

Marlene Avitia, WG’20
Chief Operating Officer, Bailey Brand Management

Marlene was excited to come to Wharton, but she admits to feeling a bit concerned about what the environment would be like. “I’m a Hispanic woman and a mom. Would this program be all white men? Would I see anyone like me? Would I fit in?” she wondered. When she came to campus for Orientation Week, she saw more diversity than she expected. Marlene explained, “The reality is that this program is very diverse not only in skin color, but also in personal and professional backgrounds. In my class, there are three students from Mexico City and Canada. And if you look at heritage, we have Russian, Italian, Japanese, Jamaican, Chinese, Indian, Korean, and Guatemalan students. I’m not sure if there is a race or heritage that isn’t represented.”

She added, “Diversity is important because it provides new perspectives. If you want to start or lead a company, you need as many opinions as possible to avoid ‘groupthink’ and to be innovative. Wharton embraces inclusivity and creates a melting pot of people in the EMBA cohorts.”

Edgardo Jiménez, WG’20
Global Operations at a FinTech company

“(My classmates) are all amazing people from diverse backgrounds. When a professor asks if anyone in the class works or worked at a particular company, someone always raises their hand. Or, if the professor asks if anyone has experience with a particular business issue, a classmate shares their experience.”