Carolina Navarro Sarmiento









By Carolina Navarro Sarmiento

Get to know Carolina Navarro Sarmiento, MBA 2019-20

Tell us about yourself: 100% Colombian. Book and Coffee lover. Running and Boxing is my stress relief therapy. Enjoy travelling to meet and experience places, cultures, people and smiles. Industrial Engineer and Economist with certificates in Marketing and Pharmaceutical Management. Corporate Finance professional who dreams about a better life for people with Rare Diseases.

Sector/Industry you worked in pre-MBA: Pharmaceutical Industry

Sector/Industry you are hoping to work in post-MBA: Pharmaceutical Industry/Healthcare

Country of residence before coming to Oxford: Colombia

College: Green Templeton College. I chose this college because its focus on business and management and in health and medicine, aligns exactly with my interests and careers plans

Twitter: @CaroNavarroS
Instagram: @caro_navarros

Q1. In one word, how would your best friend describe you, and how would you manager describe you?
Best Friend: Witty
Manager: Inquisitive

Q2. Tell us about where you have come from and what has led you to Oxford, and more specifically, the Oxford MBA.
I was born in the beautiful Andean Mountains of Colombia, where I’ve lived most of my life. I am a proud Latina, daughter of two Lawyers, who instilled in me the values of discipline, ethics and social justice. After completing my bachelor’s in industrial Engineering and in Economics, I worked in corporate finance for several industries (education, transport, consumer goods); but it wasn’t until I started working in the Pharmaceutical Industry that I understood the meaning of working beyond self-interest. About two years working in healthcare shaped my life purpose. Being able to witness the repercussion of a Job, not only in business, but also in people and society, has driven my career aspirations towards a position where I can impact people with rare diseases, boosting positive transformation in their lives.

After understanding my purpose, I decided to pursue my MBA at Saïd Business School because its culture aligns exactly with who I am and what I want to do in the future. Oxford has a tradition of developing purposeful and responsible leaders, who acknowledge the value of making ethical decisions to drive change. The opportunity to challenge myself studying at a first-class university – the number one university for healthcare studies -, an intellectually stimulating place that brings humanity into business is a dream come true.

Q3. What have you done to prepare yourself for the MBA?
From the moment I was accepted in the Oxford MBA, I haven’t stopped imagining my life there. I have been reading a lot about the university, coffees, libraries, sports, societies and life at Oxford because I want to make the most out of my MBA year.

I have also taken my time to make a deep reflection about my after-MBA plans. I have taken all the Career Development Program courses, and I have been thinking about the best way to make the big impact I want to make. I am convinced that the more aware I am of my future plans, the more advantage I can take of the classes, social events, societies, and experiences that come along with the MBA.

Finally, I had the chance to attend the Forté MBA Women’s Leadership Conference, where I had the fortune not only to meet and connect with amazing girls who will be sharing the Oxford MBA road with me, but also to receive encouraging advice from exceptional business leaders. This opportunity inspired me and empowered me to arrive to oxford with big dreams and ideas to make the world a better place.

Q4. What do you hope to gain from completing your MBA?
I have very high expectations for the year ahead. I am confident that the strong curriculum will reinforce the skills I need to achieve my future plans of making a huge impact in the lives of rare disease patients. But the biggest expectations for the year ahead go beyond the academic aspect. I am very excited to meet, share ideas, and build lifelong relationships with such talented and inspiring individuals who share with me the willingness to make the world a better place. I am convinced that the experiences I will live this year with the MBA cohort will shape my personality and my ideas, creating a better version of myself

Q5. What is the best advice you received before commencing your MBA?
So far, the best advice I’ve received is: “Don’t try to get involved in absolutely everything”. I was told to choose wisely to what clubs or societies I want to belong to and to make a strong commitment with them. As I understand, the MBA is very demanding not only in the academic aspect, but also in what relates to social events, and trying to belong to everything will not allow me to give 100% in anything. Along with this, I was warned of the overwhelming feeling during the first weeks and months when receiving so many event invitations, responsibilities, commitments, etc. To deal with it I was advised to find my perfect balance between academic and social life.

Q6. What part of the programme are you most looking forward to?
I am definitely most looking forward to meeting the amazing and inspiring cohort, I can’t wait to listen about their personal and professional experiences, and about their plans for the future.

I am also really excited and expectant to know the GOTO project theme of this year. Having the opportunity to generate solutions to a complex problem with high scale impact is one of those amazing opportunities that drove my decision to pursue my MBA at Oxford.

Q7. What do you think will be the most challenging part of the programme?
I think the hardest part of the MBA will be defining priorities. I am aware of how demanding the MBA year will be, and I think that finding the perfect balance between academic and social life will be very challenging. It is going to be hard to make choices on what to attend and what to miss. Time management will be challenging and crucial to take full advantage of all the opportunities, and to make the best out of the year.

Q8. How do you plan to take the learnings from the MBA to influence positive change?
About two years working in the Pharmaceutical Industry have revealed me how crucial it is for pharmaceutical companies championing rare diseases, to include diagnosis as the centre of their value chain. I have come to realise that big steps need to be made toward improving the relationship between pharma and diagnosis. Integration of technology, creativity, expertise, and commitment is necessary to develop long term solutions on the subject. It is fundamental to treat patients as customers in the strategic pipeline, as well as partner each drug with a diagnosis scheme. Bearing this in mind, I am really expectant to use all the learnings from my MBA to improve this issue, reducing the diagnosis timeline in patients with rare diseases, and hence having a positive impact in their lives.

Q9. Are there any sport teams, societies, or clubs you’re hoping to become a member of?
Biotechnology Society
Oxford Women International Society
Athletics Sport Club

Q10. Lastly, what’s your favourite hashtag?

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