Andrew Mairena

My Trajectory

General info
Open to speaking about:
Resources I used on my MBA application journey
One thing I wish I knew about the MBA application process

“Everyone runs their own race” - Don’t compare yourself to others in the MBA Application process.


My MBA journey can only be described by one phrase - resiliency through circumstances. I feel I had to always fight an uphill battle, trying to prove myself each step of the way.

Within two years of graduating from the University of California, Berkeley, with a degree in Electrical Engineering Computer Science, I had gotten twice laid-off. In both situations, the parent company and division went bankrupt and dissolved, respectfully, with little-to-no notice. Indeed, I felt like an Underdog, a person who had ambition, wanted a better future, but didn’t know how to get there. Furthermore, my career continued to be tumultuous and I struggled to map out how to get from point A (Engineering) to point B (Business). After spending some time with my family in Nicaragua, I centered myself and recovered from the tough two years. I had applied to several companies and took-on a role that allowed my work and travel in Asia and Europe for the next five years.

When it was time to prepare my MBA candidacy, I again hit a series of unfortunate circumstances that tested my conviction of my own experience and abilities. In 2015, I had reconnected with friends from undergrad who had successfully applied to top MBA programs. Intrigued, I had asked how they did it. I learned about the various MBA prep programs such as Ivy Fellows and Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT) - both work with underrepresented minorities to apply to business programs. When I applied to MLT, I was waitlisted for the MBA Prep program. Thankfully, I had a great friend and advocate who guided me through the process and I was let in. When I applied to business schools, I was denied to one program and waitlisted at three programs, including MIT Sloan School of Management. Thankfully, I had become great friends with the co-president of the Hispanic Business Club (HBC) at MIT Sloan who coached me. For 6 weeks, I navigated two waitlists with no fallback MBA program. At the end, I was accepted to MIT Sloan with a generous Dean’s Fellowship.

At MIT Sloan, I sought an internship in Product Management but was tested again with over 35 rejections from Big tech companies and start-ups. With almost two weeks left of the Spring semester, before summer started, I obtained an internship offer at Moveworks - a company that grew from 30 to 260+ employees and raised over $300M in VC Funding. Now, I am a Product Manager leading some of the key initiatives for this company.

I share with you my story in hopes that the MBA journey is a challenge but if you have strong conviction of your abilities and experience, YOU will overcome anything. More importantly, you will avoid actual career setbacks, since you don’t go with your Plan B (unless it absolutely must be taken). At Underdog Mentors, we are here to help you discover yourself so you can learn into those experiences and strengths in your MBA candidacy.

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