Oscar Saavedra

Current Employer: PNC Bank 

Position: Mortgage Loan Officer 

Favorite Place in Charlotte: Whitewater Center  

Hometown: Bucaramanga, Colombia 

Undergrad Institution and Degree: Business Administration at ITAEE (Colombia) 

Dream Job: Multicultural Director 

Master of Business Administration
What degree did you pursue and why?

I am pursuing an MBA because it helps me become more competitive in the labor market arena. Also, since I studied business administration in Colombia, completing this MBA helps me actualize my knowledge on the business industry in the United States. 

Why did you choose the Belk College of Business over others? 

I chose the Belk College of Business for the recognition that the MBA program has received, for its extremely knowledgeable and prestigious faculty, and because the class schedules accommodate my work schedule. 

Where do you work? What activities are you involved in when not working/studying? 

I work for PNC Bank. When I am not working or studying, I spend time with my wife and two daughters, help with several community organizations in which I am a board member, and dedicate time to my church. 

What has been the best part of your academic experience so far? 

The best part of my academic experience so far is that I have been able to apply the knowledge that I have learned from all my incredible teachers to my current job. My MBA classes are helping me learn more about the industry and helping me to think in a different way. I think getting that preparation, getting that knowledge is helping you immediately perform in my job because of your experience, your point of view, the comments you’re able to make, it’s really a great choice to improve you career.

How would you describe the Belk College of Business to someone considering a master’s program? 

First of all, I would say that the Belk College of Business is an excellent school that promotes and embraces diversity, which I find extremely important. It is also a great school that provides a quality education at an affordable price compared to others. Finally, it is a great place to network with other students and to make business relationships.

What was your reaction upon receiving the Businessman of the Year award from La Noticia?

It was a combination of different things, especially because I had been attending these awards for more than 15 years and have known the people being recognized. You can imagine now for me, going from an attendee to the person who will be recognized, it was really shocking initially, but it makes me really proud. I’ve enjoyed sharing this with my wife and two daughters, because it’s an opportunity to teach them that giving back to the community is important. I try so hard to be involved and to be the person who connects the bank with the community activities, I lead a Latino group here in the bank, so I’m happy to make them proud, as well. I was excited to share the news of my award with the Belk College, because I’m so happy to be part of this program and I recognize the impact that being part of the UNC Charlotte MBA family has on my professional success. I have professors whose classes I took a year or two ago and they still remember me, and it means a lot to know that because this wouldn’t have been possible without their knowledge and support.

How has the MBA program impacted your career?

I will say that doing an MBA has already helped me in many ways. When someone nominated me for the Excelente Award, they asked me for my biography, and I was very proud to put that I’m pursuing this program. The program is helping me improve my qualifications, and having that higher education tied to your name helps people recognize that you are a well-prepared candidate and you’re working toward that higher level of knowledge. It really enhances your profile for every opportunity, from the opportunity earn an award or be part of a board, to your profile in the workplace, and the way you’re viewed by family and friends. The MBA is terrific in helping me show my dedication and qualifications in a number of areas.

What advice do you have for prospective MBA students?

Every time I have the opportunity to talk about the MBA with my network and friends, I always recommend the Belk College MBA. I think my advice is that if you have the opportunity to pursue an MBA, even though it’s no secret that it’s not easy, especially if you are a working professional with a family, the sacrifice will pay off many times over. The MBA program is well worth the effort. It’s a terrific reward that you receive for your hard work, and it will help you find success in your career.

Oscar Saavedra is pursuing his MBA at UNC Charlotte to increase his qualifications, add to his knowledge base, and expand his network. An involved community member and leader at PNC Bank, Oscar was recognized with the Businessman of the Year Award in the 2017 Excelente Awards presented by La Noticia, Charlotte’s Spanish-Language newspaper.