Invested in Your Success

Every move you make requires time and energy. Should you apply? Is it worth the effort? What’s the near-term payoff? The long-term value?

You’ve been asking yourself those questions about the MBA; the same hooks hold true for applying to Toigo. We know there’s a host of programs and platforms vying for your attention. Give Toigo some of that. It’s the best way for you to discover if Toigo is right for you.

Take a minute and learn more about the program experience in this video short produced by Toigo Fellow Jesús Salas | Columbia Business School (2019). Then explore the questions and insights from Toigos about the program and what they value most.

Why Toigo?

Trusted. Diverse. Dynamic. Graduates of our program continue to applaud the connections—across ethnicities, across MBA campuses nationwide. The value begins pre-MBA and spans your career.

“It was the first finance-focused fellowship I saw that focused on minorities—and not just one class of minorities, but all underrepresented classes. Many other fellowships separate out the different minorities; it’s powerful that Toigo encompasses everyone.” — Lauren Shimbo | Wharton

“Exposure to investment management firms, particularly the large mutual funds was the draw. I think after graduating though, the greatest value will be the network. I sourced my internship partially through the network.” – Jerry Singh | Haas – UC Berkeley

“I believe that the greatest value of the Fellowship experience is simply that – “fellowship” with other Toigos. Sometimes you need someone who understands where you are coming from – for me that means I am a first-generation college student from low socio-economic background. This is not a conversation I am often comfortable having with my classmates but with Toigos, I know they understand. Many Toigos, like myself are the main bread-winners for their parents. Having someone to talk to honestly about the challenges that come with that reality has been invaluable.” — Linda Horner | Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth

“Toigo introduces you to a network of people who share a similar background. For you to see other individuals who look like you accomplishing things that you’ve always wanted for yourself makes the process of achieving it a lot more real.” –– John “JC” Langley | Wharton

“The connections I’ve made with other Fellows, Alumni, Toigo staff and friends of Toigo will be the greatest value. I know that at any juncture in my career, I have wise advisors I can call to help me navigate my next step.” — Christine Saffold | Chicago Booth

“The fact that I can always call upon a Toigo Fellow and know I will get a response that is the greatest value. The fact that we are each supporting one another is something remarkable.” — Zachary Lopez | Columbia Business School

Why Finance?

We focus at the cross section of finance and leadership—at the point where critical decisions regarding capital are made. That’s been our radar for 30+ years, so our roots are deep. We define finance broadly—from careers at finance and investment firms to finance functions at tech giants, start-ups and more.

“Finance is the oxygen of business.” — Karla B. Magana Figueroa | Chicago Booth & Harvard Kennedy School of Government

“It’s competitive, attractive to people who like numbers, and fast-paced.” — John “JC” Langley

“Finance resonates with me because it gives people the key to unlock financial independence. Most minorities lack the basic financial knowledge to become financially independent. I want to give that opportunity to them to become educated and become independent. This independence will not only change their lives but the lives around them. That is how true change is made.” — Zachary Lopez | Columbia Business School

“A passion for solving puzzle, numbers, and getting lost in my own thoughts. Investing encourages those qualities in me.” — Jerry Singh | Haas – UC Berkeley

“I love how it permeates every single aspect of our lives. You can translate human behavior/psychology into numbers and vice versa.” — Ernie Rodriguez-Dumont | Columbia Business School

“Black women are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the US yet have raised .0006% of the total venture funding since 2009. These statistics do not discourage me; instead, they make me more committed to becoming a significant financial decision maker and creating change in the industry.” — Christine Saffold | Chicago Booth

Why an MBA?

Graduate school—whether it’s an MBA or a graduate degree in real estate and investment management—signals a deep commitment to your career. That’s what Toigo is looking for, and employers too.

“I saw it as a way to pivot into investing. I think that has largely been true. The risks were mostly financial in my mind. It’s not cheap; plus, I’ve lost out on gains in the market since I liquidate my investments.” — Jerry Singh | Haas – UC Berkeley

“I’m an MD, but wanted a career in finance. I had no previous experience professional/educational experience/exposure. I knew there were ways to pivot without an MBA, but I didn’t want gaps in my knowledge. Also, I love school.” — Ernie Rodriguez-Dumont | Columbia Business School

“I had a non-traditional start in finance and decided to apply to business schools because I felt as though I might already be at a disadvantage if I wanted to stay in the industry.” — Lauren Shimbo | Wharton

“It’s a personal and career growth accelerator. Enter your MBA application process with the mindset that it’s an investment in yourself and your career that will more than pay for itself – if you make the most of it.” — Christine Saffold | Chicago Booth

“I wanted a seat at a table and ownership in whatever I did next. I felt that by leveraging the Wharton network and programs like Toigo I could take these two years to position myself to do so.” — John “JC” Langley | Wharton

Your Career Track?

Some enter the Toigo MBA Program set on a certain career path, others are finding their way into finance. Regardless, we assist with coaching, counsel and connections. Our goal is to help ensure the path you forge fits your strengths.

“I came in wanting to be an investor and am still on that path. What has shifted is my understanding of the path. I have a better idea of what I want my life to look like and what it could look like.” — Jerry Singh | Haas – UC Berkeley

“As the daughter of a Mexican migrant farmworker, I am mindful of how hard it is to forge a path out of poverty. Less than ten years ago I was an undocumented immigrant with the seemingly unrealizable goal of going to college. Today my rewarding career reminds me of how far I have come and makes me wonder how much further I could go with the right preparation. — Karla B. Magana Figueroa | Chicago Booth & Harvard Kennedy School of Government

“I came to Booth with a dream of one day managing a fund that invests in early stage ventures led by women and people of color. My coursework, experiential learning experiences, leadership development, including serving as a Co-Chair of Booth African American MBA Association, and relationships with my classmates and other Fellows are preparing me to make that dream a reality.” — Christine Saffold | Chicago Booth

“I was never the smartest in the classroom, but I always believed in myself. Ever since I was a young kid, I have had responsibilities that many of my peers didn’t have. I have had a job since I was 14 years old to support my family. I have always been discounted and forgotten even still today. There has never been a role model for me to look up to or ask questions. These life experiences have been fuel for the fire in me to make change. I want to be the role model that young kids that look like me, think like me, and are like me to look up to. I want to open up doors that have been closed for people like me. I want to be the change that many people talk about. I want to figure out a process that works and can be repeated to teach the masses how to achieve.” — Zachary Lopez | Columbia Business School

Toigo Impact?

Toigo’s work focuses on both preparing and advancing diverse professionals as well as promoting the core tenets of an inclusive culture. Recruiting diverse talent is only half of the solution; organizations need to do a better job at retaining and promoting that talent.

“Prior to business school, I had never met a partner at any PE firm who was a woman. I never saw any mid-level females (principals or VPs) on any investment teams I interacted with. This made me much more aware of what I was looking for (and not looking for) during the recruiting process. Most teams are not going to be diverse and they will be far from perfect. But finding a group that has genuinely good, nice people who respect and appreciate the fact that you may have a different/diverse background or opinion is critical. Culture was a key element in my search for a job.” — Lauren Shimbo | Wharton

“All the conversations via Toigo have helped me understand the world of investing much better. I got numerous book recommendations, research advice, and general career advice that I still think about today.” — Jerry Singh | Haas – UC Berkeley

“I have realized the opportunities beyond traditional finance i.e. investment banking, investment management. I have for example, been exposed to venture capital in Africa (which is fascinating to me as a Ugandan-American) and search fund entrepreneurship which marries finance and a desire to run a business. Perhaps most importantly, it has shown me that you don’t have to settle for a career that isn’t your 1st, 2nd or 3rd choice.” — Linda Horner | Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth

Best Advise

The best part about the Toigo network is the support of each other. Each participant has the responsibility—and willingness—to support each other. Answer each other’s emails, take each other’s calls. Share opportunities, help navigate obstacles. That’s the power of the network.

“Spend the time understanding Toigo before you apply. Reach out to MBAs in the program and Toigo alumni. Understand the history of the organization and what it stands for. It will really help you realize the unique value proposition of becoming a Toigo for life, and it will help you write an authentic application for why you want to join Toigo and what you believe you can contribute to the organization in the future.” — Linda Horner | Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth

“The business school experience has taught me I’ve been thinking way too small for the majority of my career. We’re surrounded by a network of resources that can help us accomplish anything we set our minds to. Fortune favors the bold, so use this time to “shoot your shot”. ” — John “JC” Langley | Wharton

“Network as much as you can in your first year. Really lean on the Toigo network and have as many conversations as you can. Ask people why they did what they did and how they like it now. Listen and reflect on what resonates with you and what doesn’t.” –– Jerry Singh | Haas – UC Berkeley

“Go into business school with an open mind, but at the same time be intentional about what you want to get out of it. Eliminate options otherwise it’s easy to get distracted with all that it has to offer. Make time to develop deep relationships.”  — Ernie Rodriguez-Dumont | Columbia Business School

“Reach out to the Toigo Fellows in your network, or ask for an introduction to a Fellow in the field you are interested in. Ask them for examples of the impact Toigo has had on their careers and their lives. As you work on your application, remember that a passion for finance is not enough to qualify for the fellowship. You must demonstrate that you are humble, driven, resourceful, and community-minded.” — Christine Saffold | Chicago Booth