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MBA Goes From Posting Letters In The Bronx To A Job At JP Morgan On Wall Street

Carlos Pena’s humble origins have shaped his attitude towards life, work, and personal development; he’s now reveling on the Executive MBA at Copenhagen Business School


Wed Apr 10 2019

Carlos Pena grew up in The Bronx, New York City, speaking only Spanish, in a single-mother household where he was raised to grab every opportunity made available to him.

His humble origins have led him to where he is today—as a client service associate for JP Morgan and a current Global Executive MBA student at Copenhagen Business School.

Seeing his mother’s drive, he says, kept him focused and motivated not just for himself, but for her. “It was a blessing I was in New York, and able to have these opportunities,” he adds, “and I wanted to not only embrace my education but my heritage and background.”

From the US Postal Service to Wall Street

Carlos began his career at the US Postal Service as a letter carrier. He battled all the elements during his time there and recalls, one year, trudging through a good few feet of snow.

“I always knew that I wanted more for myself, so I quickly graduated to supervisor, and I ended up leaving the Post Office after 11 years as an area manager overseeing over 100 employees,” he explains.

But Carlos wanted more, and when the idea of moving to a job at JP Morgan came up, he didn’t hesitate. He wanted to use more of his personal and language skills—Carlos explains that his thirst for knowledge has led him to speak English, French, Italian and Portuguese, on top of his native Spanish.


“I feel languages are a barrier to entry to experiences, to culture, and business, and the more languages I can learn the more barriers I can break down,” he says.

Carlos explains that an MBA was always on the horizon, as a natural next step in his personal and professional development—with his extensive work experience, an Executive MBA was the logical choice.

Initially, he researched business schools primarily in New York—NYU Stern, and Columbia, for example—but there was something missing, he says. A global outlook extended his search to Europe, to Frankfurt School of Management and Stockholm School of Economics, to no avail.

Alas, when he encountered Copenhagen Business School, he explains, the choice was made for him.

“After my first phone interview, they were able to see something within my simple resumé that no one else had been able to see before,” Carlos says.

“[They] understood my struggle, desire, and drive in a way I can’t even describe, and we clicked from that very second […] I knew Copenhagen Business School was the school for me.”

What is the value of the Global Executive MBA?

Carlos—who started the Global Executive MBA program in September 2018, and is set to graduate in 2020—says the expertise at Copenhagen Business School feels like a secret, in a sense.

“They have so much great content, incredible professors, and respected leaders in their professional field, and I got to meet [them] in the first week.

“I was amazed at the level of content I was receiving, and it was applicable to my current job. I find myself adapting my leadership skills at work and viewing things through a different lens and perspective. It’s really helped me evolve in these [past] few months.”

The 20-month program consists of 11 one-week modules, which take students to four continents as they study in Copenhagen, London, Chicago, Shanghai, and Kampala.

That international diversity is evident in the classroom, too. Carlos says that out of his cohort, nine students fly in from around the globe for their modules.

“Everyone is a dynamic, respected leader in their field,” he adds. “We engage in conversations, challenge each other, motivate each other—we are committed to each other’s success.

“If it wasn’t for my classmates, I probably wouldn’t be able to complete some of my assignments—when they are due, we are in constant communication even though we’re not on campus.”

He says that’s the real value of the Global Executive MBA, adding that he’s developed a close relationship with each of his classmates. That experience, he explains, has fulfilled his desire for personal growth.

“CBS is a fantastic school. We had a week in Shanghai studying supply chain, and I recently finished a module in Chicago at Kellogg School of Management—these are very important aspects.

“I hope I can promote it more to my American colleagues and American friends, and push more people to the school, which I see as the top school in Scandinavia and in the Ivy Leagues of Europe.”

Student Reviews

Copenhagen Business School (CBS)




CBS: efficient international network

CBS has always been ranked among the best universities in Europe and this means that it has become a sign of professionalism and success. The academic level is great thanks to the good teachers and the atmosphere is proactive and challenging. Lots of events are planned every week and this helps you to find your own way. CBS is not only a business school, it is a great and efficient international network.




Good academic career

I did my Bachelors at CBS and their academic excellence and career opportunities led me to pursue my Masters in Accounting, Strategy and Control. I was very lucky to go on an exchange in Singapore for one semester it boosted me to get a career in a global firm. I like that it is super modern and has all the facilities for the business student in 2019. Especially, I liked the library and Bitlab where I spent most of my time studying. However, note that it is very demanding and studying here is no joke. Everything is very competitive and you are among the most excellent business students in the country. The interaction with international students helped me to see different perspectives in business and culturally and I was lucky to make friends from any part of the world. CBS is like a brand in Denmark. Every serious business company prioritizes us over any other Danish university and also it is free for European citizens. Overall, I have a very satisfying experience at CBS and I'm looking to continue my academical career even further.




CBS is one of the best!

All I have to say regarding my experience at CBS is that it is AMAZING. Having been tutored by world-class academic staff, I can definitely support that I am receiving the best of quality regarding my studies in Digital Marketing. Staff is very friendly and easy to approach. In addition, the facilities we enjoy are top class and meet any demands. Keep in mind that, EU citizens do not pay any fees. Student life might be non-existent here, but the location of the University in The very center of Copenhagen has a huge variety of choices to offer to students regarding their entertainment. Accommodation might be a problem, but early research of the market can be very useful. In addition, the University promotes diversity. In CBS University you can meet people from the whole world which is quite interesting. I definitely suggest CBS for any student who he's interested in pursuing a career in marketing or business.




The ideal business school

I have been enrolled in this university for 2 semesters. What I took from this experience is that there is nothing better out there for those looking for professional growth while being guided by some of the top-notch professors in Scandinavia. They have a really strong focus in technology and digital transformation and they are up to date to guarantee you land a job in the modern fast-evolving world. They also embrace diversity which means many students come from any part of the world and it takes the entire learning experience to another level. You simply learn from every other student cause everyone has different experiences and background which makes you open your mind and see the world from a different angle. In Denmark, even businesses prioritize people who graduate from CBS as it's commonly perceived as the most prestigious university for business graduates.

José Pedro



A Place of Personal Growth

In CBS you can expect an environment of proactive thinking and growth. The university staff is always open to help and to debate. The teaching methods balance theoretical knowledge and practical skills enabling the student with capacity and confidence to enter the job market successfully. The existence of students from all over the world stimulates discussion and promotion of different cultures, ideas and perspectives. I highly recommend this university for students in business-related areas.





The environment here is really great. Despite the well organized buildings and libraries, there are also places for students to just stay and relax also even study in the corners of each campus. The professors are mostly really nice and try to interact with students a lot. So, to sum up, the environment is really nice for studying here.




Quality education

Quality education where it emphazises the importance of academic. No finger to put on this aspect of the school. However, sometimes the administration and IT can be lacking a bit, but in general a really good choice for education!




Best Time!

Classes are challenging and conducted in a professional manner. CBS offers a wide range of possibilities to develop outside of the classes! Libraries and other facilities on the campus are very well adjusted to the student needs.




A heavily theory-based curriculum combined with an ever-stimulating environment

I am currently a Master student at CBS, but I have also completed a Bachelor's Degree in this university. I am quite satisfied with my studies and the teaching level. However, when compared to other business schools, it becomes apparent that most courses at CBS strive to find a good balance between theoretical insight and real-life examples. Compared to my exchange university, the projects that I have found myself writing at CBS have a far less practical application and also leave little room for creativity. If the teaching is heavily theoretical, on the bright side, the university arranges a number of events throughout the year to encourage students to apply their knowledge, in the form of career fairs, case competitions, and other events organized by student associations. In my experience, teachers are very easily approachable and happy to answer your questions. A foreign student like me will find a more international environment at Master level, since the number of international (or at least non-Scandinavian) students enrolled in the Bachelor programs is quite low. However, all communication (both oral and written) from teachers and the university offices is always in English. Administrative offices, student guidance services, the career center, and the international office are definitely worth a mention. All of the requests that I have had throughout the years have always been met with kindness, promptness and efficiency.

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