Gutierrez Inspires Diverse Students at Johnson Means Business

Citigroup vice chairman, former Kellogg’s CEO, and U.S. Secretary of Commerce illustrates growing scope of opportunities for diverse MBA students, especially those who adapt to changing conditions


Gutierrez Inspires Diverse Students at Johnson Means Business

Carlos Gutierrez, vice chairman of Citigroup’s institutional clients group, delivered an inspirational keynote address at Johnson Means Business, the annual event hosted by Johnson’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion that provides diverse prospective MBA students an opportunity to experience student life at Johnson. This year, Johnson Means Business was held this year Oct. 25-27. Gutierrez discussed the scope of opportunities available to diverse MBA students and offered his life story as a template of hard work, adaptability, and success.

Gutierrez was born in Cuba to parents who immigrated to the United States in 1960. Gutierrez’s father was a successful businessman in Mexico, the country in which Gutierrez first studied business administration. Gutierrez began his corporate career at Kellogg’s in 1975, rose quickly through the ranks, and by 1999 was appointed president and CEO. Gutierrez was the first Latino to serve as a Fortune 500 CEO. In 2004, he achieved another distinction by becoming the 35th Secretary of Commerce of the United States, the first Latino to hold that position. He moved to his current position as vice chairman of the Institutional Clients Group at Citigroup in 2010.

While acknowledging that many matriculated and prospective business students remain concerned by the state of the economy, Gutierrez discussed the importance of remaining flexible and opportunity-oriented. He emphasized that the nature of the business world has changed permanently and that students will be called upon to improvise and adapt more than previous generations. In a point also emphasized by Glen Llopis, founder of the Center for Hispanic Leadership and another speaker at Johnson Means Business, Gutierrez noted that Hispanics are growing in number and influence in the United States, and that Hispanic leaders have important roles to play in this changing environment. While Gutierrez was a trailblazer in many of his positions, he expressed the hope that other diverse students would find improved opportunities in both the private and public sector. 

Gutierrez’s talk was part of another successful weekend for Johnson Means Business, during which 54 prospective MBA students visited Johnson, sat in on classes, interacted with faculty and staff, attended the Sage Social, and got a taste of life at Johnson. Johnson Means Business allows Johnson to build its pipeline of diverse applicants and to cement Johnson’s leadership position as the most diverse of the elite business schools. 


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