Adriana Jun Machado: IE MBA Personal Essay

Hello. My name is Adriana Jun Machado and I am applying to the Global Online MBA program at IE Business. This decision was made during the COVID19 pandemic—a time that catalyzed a lot for me, both personally and professionally. The collective existential crisis that our planet is undergoing forced me to see that “business as usual” is not sustainable and that we need radical change. I hope to contribute to that change in the field of Data Science by bringing my unique cultural perspective and passion for critical thinking. I have researched numerous business schools over the past few months, and IE Business feels like one of the only institutions where I could gain the resources and learn what I need to make a significant impact. 

I’m a first-generation, South Korean-Brazilian American. My Brazilian father met my South Korean mother when he was a nuclear designer building power plants for Westinghouse and Bechtel, during the nuclear power era of the 1970s. They came to the US with hopes and dreams of a better life than what they had—for themselves and their future daughters. My mother became a nurse and has worked on the frontlines for 20+ years. I want to make sure the world in which they see hope and inspiration continues offering that to others. By forging a path that is more diverse, equitable, creative, and innovative, I hope to contribute to a holistic quality of life.

For me, I see more of a global possibility and responsibility, rather than limited to the US. My perspective is shaped by my multi-cultural upbringing, and being a millennial seeing the rapid evolution of technology and how we connect. The US is a historical powerhouse in the world but, to me, there is more potential in shared empowerment and collaboration.

Forty percent of Americans do not trust our political leaders. As of November 2020, the US unemployment rate was 6.7% with some states as high as 10.2%. According to a 2016 report by McKinsey, automation has the potential to raise the global GDP per capita, but there are many economic and efficiency obstacles to handle before we can get to a sustainable point of automation. I want to help mitigate a dystopian future with technology and create a life-centered world where we can work alongside the robots. 

The insurrection on the US Capitol in January, was the pinnacle of dystopian technology colliding with humanity. Social media and its algorithms have shown the power to amplify voices and ideas quickly. It can be used as a tool for revolution, by amplifying the voices of the oppressed, as seen in the Arab Spring; or, it can also be used as a tool for organizing hate, by those who are isolated and economically frustrated, as seen with the recent conspiracy theorist groups that organized the violent US Capitol attack. These same types of tools fight for and exploit our individual attention—the newest commodity for those who seek to conquer. The pandemic is leading to higher levels of substance abuse and declining mental health. We are in a highly vulnerable place, as humans, on the verge of a mental health crisis, amidst a post-truth era, while seeped in technological possibility. I don’t want the “business as usual” that got us to this point of no return. I want us to heal and transcend into a healthier era, but we must make sure that as we automate and integrate artificial intelligence into life, we aren’t continuing to confuse darker skinned people with gorillas or allowing our cognitive / algorithmic biases to become amplified in the darkest corners of the internet. 

Much of my professional and personal life experiences have led me to this point. I would be honored to continue this journey thinking critically and finding solutions for a better world with IE’s International Business School.