The intersection of business, entrepreneurship, and education is my passion, and in it I have found my purpose. My passion for education stems from my belief that the strength of a nation’s educational system is inextricably tied to its economic health, and is key to ending the generational poverty cycle that exists in many low-income families. In 1994, my family fled Communist Cuba with the hope that moving to the United States would provide us with a life that could never be afforded to us in Cuba. As a first-generation immigrant, who has now become the first in her family to graduate from college, I feel an obligation to the educational system for providing me the tools and skills I needed to assimilate and succeed in a new environment and to others like me, who are the first for many things in their families. My passion landed me where I am today, the U.S. Department of Education, approximately three years ago. My professional experience at the Department has given me an opportunity to make an impact on the national and individual level, and has been incredibly rewarding. This experience has also given me unique insight into several issues that are confronting the educational system today, including college and career readiness, school funding, and student assessment. One of the things I’ve learned that has really resonated is that many of the issues in education today, at their core, arise from poor quality management, lack of oversight, and bureaucratic delay. The education system of today calls for multifaceted leaders who are exceptional strategists, confident decision makers, and inspiring team builders. An MBA will provide me with the opportunity to fine-tune my analytical skills so that I can better identify, frame, and solve complex problems and truly drive fundamental change. As someone who aims to not only understand the strengths and challenges of current public education policy, but also to be prepared to lead organizations and initiatives of the 21st century education system, obtaining an MBA degree is key. Through the Forté MBALaunch program, I have had unparalleled access to qualified experts available to help me get informed about, prepare for, and apply to top MBA programs. The program offers a unique opportunity to reflect and learn as much about yourself, as from your peers, and to connect with current and past MBA students in a variety of industries who share their stories, experiences and lessons learned. As with everything in life, you’ll only get as much out of it as you put into it! Be sure to maximize your opportunity to join the Forté family by attending the kick-off meeting and all of the webinars, connecting with admissions staff through the “expert office hours,” and meeting with your peer group regularly. The Forté MBALaunch program has played an integral role in the development of my level of knowledge and methodical approach to applying to business schools; they have been an invaluable resource along the way. A native Cuban, Lourdes was born in Havana and raised in Miami, Florida. When she's not busy working or volunteering, she enjoys traveling, doing yoga, and restaurant hunting.