On the path to the next adventure

Manuela Villota Rivadeneira professional photoManuela S. Villota Rivadeneira, B.B.A.’21, is going places. From her upbringing in Ecuador and Colombia to her time in Kalamazoo at the Haworth College of Business and now her dream job in Chicago, her broad range of life experiences has shaped her outlook on the world and how she sees her place in it.  This recent graduate of the Haworth College of Business talked to us about her experience at WMU and her next adventure.

Why did you choose your major or program? What appealed to you about that area of study?

Choosing digital marketing and eCommerce was an easy decision for me.  Since I was little, I have traveled worldwide and had a passion for being an entrepreneur. I chose my program because I wanted to combine my analytical brain with digital and marketing skills. I also wanted a career that encourages me to keep learning and would provide opportunities for me internationally. This field is constantly evolving and what appeals to me most is that there are many different paths, from data analytics to content creation to phone and web application and development.

How do you hope to apply your major to your future career?

The internships that I participated in during my time at WMU Haworth helped me to see how my major would evolve into a career. During my senior year I was a marketing science intern for the Critical Mass agency in Chicago and worked on the Army account. This role gave me valuable experience using data analysis in a real-world scenario.

What excites you most about your field?

I am most excited about the fact that I will be on a constant learning roller coaster! The challenges of digital media mean that we will be continuously updating the way we do things and creating new and better ways of marketing ideas and products digitally.

Have you had any mentors throughout your time at the business college? Who, and how have those individuals helped you succeed?

Yes, I have had three mentors throughout my time at the business college, both professors and WMU Haworth alumni. Dr. Cowley and Dr. Hazarika elevated my skills by challenging me to work on real-life situations and encouraging me to think outside the box. In addition, during my senior year internship, I was matched up with Ashley Mahler, a WMU Haworth alum who is a marketing science senior analyst at Critical Mass in Chicago. Ashley taught me about marketing science analysis and explained how that would fit into my chosen career field. Thanks to her mentorship, I can say that I have accepted an exciting position as a marketing science analyst with Critical Mass. I’m looking forward to embarking on a career that combines my digital marketing and eCommerce major and business analytics minor.

What advice would you give to current business students?

Networking is key! Networking allows you to set yourself apart from everyone else. Be sure to take advantage of the great opportunities that WMU Haworth provides.

What are your favorite spots on campus?

The business college computer lab, Waldo Library, Sangren Hall and Sprau Tower’s top floor.