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Cornell MBA Student Spotlight: Mauro Ovalle (Colombia)

Jun 18, 2024

Mauro Ovalle - Colombia

Cornell Johnson MBA '26


Q&A with B-Speak! Director Christina Ball 


Mauro, tell us a little about yourself! Where are you from and what are your professional goals and other interests?

I was born in Bogota, Colombia. I have been living here my whole life. I have somewhere around 5 years of experience working in investment banking here in Colombia and in South America. I speak English and Spanish. I’m trying to pivot my career into a more global role.

What motivated or inspired you to undertake an MBA in the U.S.? What attracted you most to the program at Cornell?

The US just has great academic institutions and a competitive landscape, meaning those schools are simply top tiered universities. Cornell just has a great curriculum and people at Cornell are very easy going. I really connected with the people that I've been in touch with there. It's a great place to launch my career within the Investment Banking atmosphere, which, of course, is centered in New York.

What prompted you to sign up for B-Speak! English coaching? What are your biggest communication challenges?

On a day by day basis, it is sometimes hard to actually speak in English with the people around you. I thought B Speak! was a great place to practice again in daily situations and polish my knowledge of specific areas like the recruiting process, so needed in the MBA program.

How are your coaching sessions with Rebecca helping you prepare for your MBA experience at Cornell?  

I am definitely more relaxed. Sometimes when people have these professional conversations you feel a bit stiff. But while working with Rebecca, I feel I can frame myself in the most original outgoing way.


If you continue with more B-Speak! coaching, how would it help you?

I think that no extra time spent practicing is a waste of time. When you have these opportunities to practice with different people you receive different types of feedback, which is invaluable. 

How would you describe B-Speak! to a friend or fellow international student or professional?

I think B-Speak! is a great opportunity to practice your communication skills with native speakers. I don’t know about the rest of the platforms, but I believe the people who are teaching you in B-Speak! are very empathetic and have a great way of connecting with the students and, therefore, you feel a bit more relaxed while interacting with them.

Thank you, Rebecca and B-Speak! for all of your time, patience and support. 

Mauro's coach, Rebecca, has a few words to say: 

Working with Mauro was a great reminder that I am merely a 'facilitator of language production' rather than a 'teacher of language.' If I stepped back and got out of the way, Mauro was more than capable of crafting expressions in English that eloquently conveyed complex ideas. An awesome student to work with!




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