In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, we chatted with Linda Trujano, a Weekend MBA student, co-chair of Coalition of Minorities in Business and an HR Generalist at Harley-Davidson. She told us about her transition to the US from Mexico, how she fell into her career path and about her experience at Booth.
I was born and raised in Mexico City. When I was 14, I moved to Houston with my mom and brother. It was a big culture shock, of course, but we were lucky that my mom had put us in a bilingual school in Mexico so we didn’t have to start from ground zero. The language was the easier part of the transition. The social and cultural aspects were the more challenging parts. However, within the first year, we pretty much adapted to American life. I got accepted and went to Harvard for undergrad on a full ride— which was a huge accomplishment for our family.
After graduating with a psychology degree, I joined a startup in Boston focused on bringing students from China to the US to experience American education. I quickly realized that I wasn’t living up to my full potential in the role and was eager to work at a more stable and larger organization. My mom initially suggested Human Resources because of my psychology background. I started looking at HR development programs and landed across Harley-Davidson Motor Company. I moved from Boston to Wisconsin to join Harley. A year into my time there, my family started talking to me about thinking through what I wanted to do long term. Right now with the way the economy is, a bachelor degree is just a minimum, you really need to expand your horizons and build that business acumen. My mom and step-dad really encouraged me to start looking for MBA opportunities and that’s how I came across Booth’s program.
My Booth experience started in the fall of 2017, when I joined the Chicago Business Fellows (CBF) program. Overall, it has been a phenomenal experience. Being part of CBF gave me a lot more confidence. At the time, I came in with barely three years of experience and appreciated having the cohort to practice those softer skills and building that sense of community. CBF has definitely been one of the highlights at Booth.
In 2018, I joined the Coalition of Minorities in Business and became a co-chair later that year. It’s been nice to connect with other minorities at Booth. I don’t see being an under-represented minority in business school as a disadvantage. Our culture has shaped our present and our future and the values that we have from our heritage shine through in how we present ourselves. I was already involved in the Latino Business Resource Group at work so I thought I could play a similar role for students. I wanted to help make an impact and meet other people who were passionate about leading this group. We have an annual networking event with Kellogg and are also planning to do a joint leadership panel with them with faculty from each school. Our next event coming up is a trip to a museum and dinner for Día de los Muertos.
My journey from Mexico to the U.S. serves as a constant motivation and reminder of feeling grateful for everything I have accomplished since we moved and started building our lives here. It helps ground me in my heritage and pushes me to keep my momentum of working as hard as I did when I first came here.