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A Social-Impact Entrepreneur Journey as a Ross MBA Student


Sowing my intention: Why business school?

When Clear Admit asked me at the beginning of my MBA experience “why business school?” I answered “to unlock the potential of the people and businesses in Latin America to reshape our reality for the better.”

This may have sounded fuzzy and romantic; however, the seed is being sown and I’m excited to say that this intention is happening.

Dimitri Esteban Alejo Giraldo, MBA '22

I’m from Colombia, worked at Uber for four years as a brand manager for Latin America, and before that I co-founded and ran my own startup. Therefore, my initial thoughts on how to achieve that post-MBA intention was to work as a strategist or general manager in a  company whose goal is to create holistic value through tech for Latin America. Nevertheless, life showed me another path, a closer one to my truest self.

During the pandemic (right before starting my MBA), something “unusual” happened: I wrote a book in Spanish called Creating Who You Are and Choose to Be. In a nutshell, it is my perspective of how we can become that highest and most genuine version/reality of ourselves by using in coherence our thoughts, feelings, and actions. Thanks to the readers’ positive feedback, I realized this could be a better path to fulfill that primary goal. Still, I needed the resources to figure out exactly what this was going to look like.

Unlocking my potential through opportunities at Michigan Ross 

At the Ross School of Business, out of all the student programs and opportunities, there were two that really stood out to me: the Zell Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies and the Business+Impact initiative. The former is the go-to center for entrepreneurship by offering vast opportunities to further develop innovative business ideas, and the latter is the hub to leverage business tools to address pressing global challenges. 

Fast-forward a year and a half, and these two Michigan Ross institutes have helped me to unlock and bring my dream into reality. Through the Zell Lurie Institute’s Dare to Dream program workshops and awards, I’ve been able to understand and structure the idea. Through the Business+Impact Summer fund and the ZLI internship, I could spend my summer testing my first online educational prototype (cohort-based workshops that teach consciousness) while receiving advising and funding. And, via the Zell Entrepreneurs Program, a year-long mentorship and resourcing program, I’ve been able to connect with other entrepreneurs and develop the product and business plan so I can work on my venture full-time upon graduation.

Still, I went beyond. I worked for a whole semester on an Independent Study course under the supervision of Ross Professor Felipe Csaszar to benchmark and analyze organizations that are transcending traditional business models, resulting in this publication. This research is key towards my goal because it will help to create my company with more purposeful and conscious foundations to trigger real transformation in businesses. 

Creating Who You Are

Anyone who wants to pursue an entrepreneurial and/or social impact career here at Michigan Ross can be sure to find and have the resources and opportunities to make that happen. I am a witness of this, and I am very grateful because I have been able to take bold bets and go beyond the conventional paths by tailoring my own journey and turning my intentions into realities.  

Moving forward, I’ll be going back to Colombia to work full-time on my venture “Creating Who You Are,” an online educational platform for Latin America that provides consciousness and spiritual content from experts and the community for self-development and life's inner-transformation. 

Two years ago I would have never thought that I was going to create this reality, but it is much better than whatever else I could have imagined. Because when we go beyond the forms and the conventional expected path to follow that truest self, that’s when we Create Who We Really Are.

Learn more about the Zell Lurie Institute

Learn more about the Michigan Ross Business+Impact initiative