Circular photo of John Maldonado on a green background containing topographic map lines

Broadening Horizons

Diversity of experiences leads us to become better versions of ourselves, whether as leaders, workers, friends, or people—this is something second year MBA candidate John Maldonado knows well.

Prior to enrolling in the Oregon MBA program, Maldonado served in the U.S. Navy before becoming an urban planner for the city of San Clemente, California and earning his Master of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of California, Irvine. At that time, his goal was to stay in local government or find work as a consultant for a real estate company. However, he soon realized he wanted access to a more diverse range of projects in business beyond real estate development.

In his previous role, Maldonado explored how to increase efficiency within local governments, something he felt he could apply to private organizations as a change management consultant. When he first joined the MBA program, he focused on increasing his finance skills, but soon realized he wanted to broaden his knowledge across all areas of business.

“I needed more flexibility in my schedule, which allowed me to take coursework with Stephanie Peel, a former consultant with PWC, who has developed curriculum around data analytics,” he said.

He’s also found value learning from former Patagonia CEO Michael Crooke, who teaches a leadership course in the program and advises students looking to improve their abilities as future leaders. Overall, experiencing a wider range of curriculum, including coursework in the program's four specializations, has given Maldonado the opportunity to become a better business professional and consultant.

“Now as a consultant, I seek to evaluate all parts of a business, versus one specific area such as finance.”

His lessons have already been put to good use. This past summer, Maldonado interned with Intel, where he developed strategic business recommendations based on financial data. And as a member of the student-run Oregon Consulting Group (OCG), he helps advise local businesses in a wide range of consultant projects, from technology implementation to real estate development and beyond.

“Coming into the Oregon MBA, I knew I wanted to enter the world of management consultant, but it seemed so distant from where I was previously. Now, with the MBA, my internship, my mentors, and OCG, achieving that dream feels much more tangible,” he said.

The thread of Maldonado’s experiences, from his military background to urban planning to present day, weave together to make him who he is today, bolstering his confidence as he prepares to enter the workforce after graduation in June 2023.

“I believe the future of business needs more diverse perspectives, and I feel I can be one of those diverse individuals.”

—Makenzie Fancher, MBA Class of 2023