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Fernanda Lopez, DMSB’21, is taking over our Instagram @damoremckim this week! Follow along for an inside look at her experience at D’Amore-McKim!

Q: What is your major and what year are you graduating?

A: I’m a fourth-year student studying business administration with a concentration in marketing and a minor in behavioral neuroscience. I’m planning to graduate in December 2021 having completed three co-ops!

Q: Why minor in neuroscience? How does your business major enhance your minor and vice versa?

A: When deciding what I wanted to study, I knew one thing for certain: I love learning about the brain, human behavior, and, more specifically, consumer behavior. I’m fascinated by the way humans consume products and services and how we make decisions when interacting with new businesses. 

I’ve always been a very curious person. The idea of learning what specifically happens to our brain when we interact with others and exploring the different types of simulations that affect our current and future states is incredible.

The combination of these two fields has allowed me to think deeply about the ‘why’ behind any company’s user experience.

Q: Why did you decide to come to Northeastern and enroll at D’Amore-McKim?

A: I was born and raised in Mexico and was very set on going to college there. However, part of me always knew that I wanted to explore a different country, meet people from different backgrounds, and truly get a taste of diversity somewhere new.

I found Northeastern to be the perfect school for me because of its potential global experiences, co-op program, and strong focus on entrepreneurship and intrapersonal development.

Q: Tell us about your involvement with the NU entrepreneurship community.

A: On campus, I’m the co-vice president of WeBuild with the Women’s Interdisciplinary Society of Entrepreneurship (WISE), a thought-incubator for aspiring female founders. Within this program, we teach design-thinking workshops to a cohort of 10 women focused on how to turn ideas into tangible passion projects. It brings me so much joy to live my passion to empower other women to follow their dreams!

Previously, I had the opportunity to be the co-director of the Husky Startup Challenge and the co-president of the Entrepreneurs Club, which is the largest student-run organization at Northeastern! During this experience, I discovered my passion for helping student founders build their marketing strategies, business plans, and pitch decks. This semester, I’m happy to be a mentor for the Husky Startup Challenge program participants.

Q: Tell us more about your involvement with WISE and Women Who Empower.

A: I’m an ambassador for Women Who Empower, which is a program composed of emerging leaders from diverse, global backgrounds who are passionate about women empowerment and women’s rights. Our goal is to work together to brainstorm, ideate, and execute on initiatives that create opportunities and resources for women in our Northeastern community. 

I’ve admired WISE and Women Who Empower for the longest time! I’m very lucky to be part of these organizations now, as they constantly challenge me to continue to fight for gender equality and empower other women to develop self-confidence and awareness about the opportunities they deserve. 

Q: Tell us about your involvement in the PAC Mentor Network.

A: I’m a mentor for first-year students at D’Amore-McKim. Heather Hauck introduced me to the program, and I absolutely fell in love with it. The PAC Mentor Network helps first-year students during their transition into college by providing individualized support and hosting community events at D’Amore-McKim. It’s so important to receive access to mentorship and be aware of the opportunities your university offers from the start of your college journey. 

Along with Kenneth Kan, co-leader of the PAC program, we mentor a group of students interested in entrepreneurship and give them access to events, programs, and social opportunities enabling them to find their own communities. Our conversations with our mentees are centered around how to make the most of the college experience, how to find the right clubs/organizations based on personal interests and passions, and how to form social connections in times of COVID-19.

Q: Tell us about your past co-op experiences. Where were they and what was your role there?

A: My first experience was at tech startup Compt Inc. as full stack marketing co-op! During my time there, my manager went on maternity leave and offered me the exceptional opportunity to be the interim head of marketing while she was out of office. To say I was intimidated would be an understatement. However, I was incredibly lucky to be around an empathetic, encouraging, and motivating team that pushed me to take on this leadership role, connect with other marketers in the Boston area, and carry on all initiatives related to marketing for the rest of my co-op.

A: For my second experience, I was a customer success co-op at BounceX (a behavioral marketing agency) in New York City. I wanted to be part of a company that combined my fields of study within the tech space, and BounceX was the perfect fit. During my time there, I worked to develop digital marketing strategies for amazing clients. Some of the clients that I worked with included Caspers, Sonos, Society6, Saatchi Art, and Overton’s. I even got to travel to Chicago with the company for a client meeting. I’m so grateful for the responsibility and trust my manager gave me during this co-op experience.

Q: Tell us about your current co-op experience at KKR & Co.

A: I’m currently completing my third and final co-op as a business analyst of private markets and capital raising technology at KKR & Co! While its office is in New York City, because of COVID-19, I’m doing my co-op remotely. It has been a fantastic experience to work with the engineering and data team to learn about their applications, how private equity firms utilize technology, and gain more knowledge of the fintech industry.

This co-op has definitely challenged me in a great way as I begin to think about numbers and problems with an engineering mindset, which is crucial to being a great analyst! 

Q: What is the biggest takeaway you have from your co-op experiences so far?

A: All my co-ops were in different industries, different roles, and different-sized companies – and I wouldn’t have it any other way. My biggest takeaway has been to get out of my comfort zone, and understand that these experiences are meant for students to explore various industries and find their real passions.

At the end of the day, I realize that it’s not about the company or industry that makes a great co-op experience; it’s the people, the team, and the resources a company offers that can make or break your experience. My biggest motivator has been to work with incredibly smart, skilled, and talented people who were able to mentor me on how to get to my next level.

Q: Tell us about initiatives you’re involved with outside of Northeastern.

A: Outside of Northeastern, I’m a brand representative for BUILT BY GIRLS, an organization focused on empowering women and non-binary people in the technology space. As a brand representative, I work with other ambassadors to ideate on new women empowerment initiatives, promote the WAVE program (a mentorship initiative), and learn more about the specific challenges that women face in this industry.

In my free time, I dedicate my time to working at The Loop Network, a non-profit organization that connects women interested in entrepreneurship with one another through 1:1 pairings, incubator sessions, and panels showcasing powerful women in the VC, marketing, and entrepreneurship industries. I’m the team’s head of operations and marketing lead, so I get to lead a team of 15 passionate, intelligent, driven women across the country.

Q: What are you involved with on campus to strengthen our commitment to diverse community experiences?

A: I believe that there is still a lot of work to be done to make sure that all clubs and organizations are truly diverse. I want to really focus on bringing the perspectives of the Latinx and Black communities to our programming and events. I’m currently working with Women Who Empower on a new entrepreneurship initiative that will open the doors to often-marginalized communities through table talks, roundtables, and panels with BIPOC leaders. 

I’ve also had the privilege to connect with other women of color at Northeastern through panels hosted by the Interdisciplinary Women’s Council to listen to various community challenges, perspectives, and needs. 

(PS: If you have an idea to promote diversity and/or have active conversations regarding this, don’t hesitate to reach out! I’d love to be part of it!)

Q: You’re doing a lot! How do you balance co-op, time with friends, passion projects, and more with time for yourself?

A: I really try to remind myself of the big-picture and understand my overarching purpose. While it’s so easy to get stressed and frustrated with day-to-day things, I often take a step back and ask myself, ‘Why am I doing this?’ Most of the time, the answer is very meaningful, as I try to get myself involved with companies and projects that are aligned with my values: women empowerment, inspiring others, and offering resources to underrepresented groups. And when it clicks, it doesn’t feel like work anymore but rather me acting on my personal purpose.

I also think a big aspect of balancing everything is to know that I’m still only 21 years old! It’s important to pay equal attention to family, friends, and relationships. Awards, promotions, and successes don’t really matter if you don’t have amazing people to share it with. I’m grateful to have such a caring and empathetic group of friends, a supportive family, and incredible mentors who remind me to not burnout, take care of myself, and spend time with the people I love.

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