Alberto Llaguno​

M.S. in Commerce 2009 (Marketing & Management), University of Virginia

B.A. in Foreign Affairs 2008, University of Virginia

After: BENSA, Real Estate P​roject Manager (Monterrey, Mexico) 

Now: CAXA, Director (Ramos Arizpe, Mexico) 

Leveraging liberal arts with business
There is so much competition today in the business world that it’s difficult to find that unique competitive advantage. Having a liberal arts background has helped me to think in different ways. By understanding history and human nature, I can recognize customers’ needs and how they evolve. The program also taught me the language of business through Excel, financial statements, and strategy. 
 
Real estate and project management
I love how dynamic the industry is. One day, I have to put my architect hat on; the next day I’m dealing with politicians, trying to get a permit passed. I also have to keep my salesperson, engineer, and financial hats nearby at all times. Every day brings a new challenge, but it’s exciting to see the buildings develop day by day.
 
A typical day on the job
There’s no such thing as a typical day when you're developing real estate! I might start the day with a monthly investors meeting to analyze returns on investments, then negotiated with a neighbors group about a new zoning project. Afterwards, I walk around the houses that are currently under construction to supervise the quality and progress. After lunch, I meet with sales staff to review current prospects and discuss whether to offer promotional deals to undecided clients. During the late afternoon, I review my monthly numbers and objectives and adapt them to what I had learned that day. 
 
Advice for future students
Right after you finish college is the best time to take risk, so take advantage of that situation and try your luck as best as you can. Finding the right job is not so much about your starting salary. Make sure you find a place where you can find a great mentor who will teach you the secrets to that business. Having a good mentor is key to success.
 
Biggest take-away
My biggest take-away from the M.S. in Commerce was learning to set goals and read financial statements. You need to speak the business language and know where you are heading. Dream big, aim high, and start sweating. It takes hard work to achieve your goals. I’m still young and have a long way to go, but McIntire has definitely given me the skills and confidence to fight for them.
 
Most memorable cultural experience
I am from Mexico, so my entire stay in Charlottesville was a cultural experience!