Natshalie Caban Arocho

Natshalie Caban Arocho
Class Year
Brooklyn, New York
Areas of Interest
Decision, Risk, and Operations
Financial Services
Venture Capital / Private Equity
Previous Education
LLM in International Business and Economic Law, Georgetown University; JD, University of Puerto Rico; BA in Hospitality and Restaurant Management, University of Puerto Rico

Current Company & Title: 

Senior Vice President of Operations at Capital Crossing Servicing Company

Prior to starting, what were you expecting the program to be like? How was it different than your expectations?

Before starting the program, my expectation was that the program would be very hands-on, dynamic, and rigorous. The program has been everything I expected and more. The core classes have provided me with the base I need to eventually select my own electives and path in the program. The Executive MBA offers the perfect combination and balance of traditional and modern learning. The classes are very collaborative and provide a safe space where we can learn in a fun and interactive way. The degree of preparation, commitment, and availability we get from the professors has been crucial to understanding and absorbing new materials and topics with which I am not very familiar.

Why did you choose Columbia Business School? Or, what does a Columbia MBA degree mean to you?

“Columbia Business School at the Very Center of Business” was the main reason why I applied and selected Columbia Business School to pursue my EMBA. It was a dream of mine to pursue an MBA in a top school and Columbia Business School offers the opportunity to be in a business-oriented environment where the School and city resources are at your fingertips. The EMBA from Columbia will provide me the necessary tools to complement my work experience in order to continue growing my career in management and operations.

How have your classmates help you balance work/life/family responsibilities?

Balancing work/life/family requires a lot of organization and support. As soon as I got accepted, I connected with my future classmates and since that moment we have been able to share personal and school tips on how to manage the stress and workload. The way the School assigns the Learning Team is amazing. Everyone on my Learning Team has very different backgrounds, expertise, and personalities, but we complement each other both at school and outside, which has been instrumental to succeeding in the program.

Which faculty members(s) influenced you the most, and how?

Professor Stephen Meier, who teaches Strategy Formation, has been a great influence so far. I have enjoyed learning from him the ways in which a company can create and maintain its competitive advantage in the market. I also enjoyed the level of detail and complexity in the materials used and how we were able to analyze the corporate scope and competitive advantages of different international companies. The format of the class uses case studies and break-out rooms where we could discuss and analyze different topics and exchange questions and answers based on both our work and life experiences.

What has been your most memorable experience at Columbia Business School so far?

The most memorable experience of the EMBA program so far has been the interaction with my classmates and the faculty. In a very short period, I have been able to build bonds and relationships with my classmates that I know will flourish into lifelong friendships. 

Can you describe a time when you learned something in the curriculum and applied it immediately to your work environment?

Since day one, I have been applying the recommendations taught by Professor Paul Ingram in the Leadership and Organizational Change class. The different lectures focused on how to improve your personal, interpersonal, and strategic leadership have been a great tool in identifying how I can grow my mindset to improve my organization and be a better leader for my team.   

Can you describe the EMBA community and why it is special?

The EMBA community is very supportive. Before starting classes, the alumni community was very present and available to provide feedback regarding their experience while attending Columbia Business School. Those conversations reassured me that attending Columbia Business School was the right fit and decision for me. Now that I am at Columbia, our diverse backgrounds enrich the learning process both inside and outside of the classroom.   

What advice would you give to a new student coming into the EMBA program at Columbia Business School?

Enjoy the process! Time goes by very fast so take advantage of everything the School has to offer. On a weekly basis, I set aside time to plan my weekly schedule and assign time to school, work, and personal life. The School has so many events, seminars, associations, and clubs that it is important to get organized so that you have time to participate and take advantage of every opportunity available. 

How will you apply your learnings to a post-COVID world?

COVID has changed how we approach many aspects of our personal and professional lives. Being in the program while we still go through the pandemic has shown me that we must always adapt when we are in an uncommon situation. We still do not know exactly how the post-COVID world will look like, but Columbia Business School’s core teaching and values will allow me to use my current knowledge in a post-COVID world. It will be particularly important to me to apply the tools and techniques learned at Columbia to manage an organization and a team in a hybrid working environment.