Each year Jorge Cardona (MBA ’96) speaks with high school students at Madison College’s annual Latino Youth College and Career Fair and knows his presence makes a difference.
“It’s like letting them open a book to see what the world has to offer them so they can envision it in a Hispanic face,” says Jorge, vice president of finance at the World Council of Credit Unions in Madison, Wisconsin.
After earning his undergraduate degree from University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, Jorge’s career was enhanced by the MBA he earned at WSB as a Consortium for Graduate Study in Management fellow. While he still uses the technical skills he gained from his MBA, he says he values the relationships and collaborations he experienced at WSB most.
“I learned from my classmates here, not just the professors,” he says. “That’s why having high-quality classmates is so important.”
The MBA helped put Jorge on track to move up in his finance career, most of which was spent at Oscar Mayer and its parent company, Kraft Heinz. Though he moved up the ladder in finance over his 19 years at Kraft Heinz, he still found himself in a unique situation of rarely encountering other Spanish speakers who were born and raised in areas with few Hispanics.
He hopes that changes for future generations, and does his part to ensure that it will. That’s why he tells students about his career, in English and Spanish.
“It almost doesn’t matter what you say,” Jorge says. “They see you, they realize anything is possible, and say, ‘We can do that. We can go to college.’”