After graduating high-school, two twin sisters embarked on a journey of self-discovery, perseverance, and exciting challenge.

paola and valeria guillermo in msj quad in front of St. Joseph Statue smiling.

“The Mount has made a huge impact on our lives. We are proud to say, ‘We are Lions.’”

After graduating high-school, two women were met with opportunity and self-reliance to put their passion into action.

Hailing from Mexico, both Paola and Valeria Obregon Guillermo’s roots and their future paths are woven tightly together. They are juniors both majoring in the Mount’s Finance program, on track to pursue their MBA to set the precedent for the next generations in their family to come study in the U.S.

Today, they share their story.

paola
Photo: Valeria Obregon Guillermo

Paola and Valeria were born and raised in Mexico with their two older brothers and all of their cousins until the age of 12. Since the age of 12, they moved homes across the country before turning 18.

At age 12, they moved for the first time to the United States to a little town called Tuscaloosa in Alabama, attended 7th grade, and moved back to Mexico for two years to attend 8th and 9th grade.

From here, they moved to Lathrop, California for a year and a half, moved back to Mexico, and graduated from high school online before moving once more to Texas for two and a half years. They studied their prerequisite courses at a college in Texas, and after two years here, they were finally ready to bring their dreams to life, and transfer to another university.

Finally, in pursuit of completing their bachelor’s degrees, the right time had come to look for universities across the country.

Paving the Way for Future Generations

For these two current juniors, deciding to apply to the Mount is a moment the two young women won’t forget.

Valeria describes this moment. “We remember that sensation of finally having an answer to which University was the best for us. We looked at 30+ Universities across the nation and had interviews with most of them. It took us an entire semester to narrow down the list of universities to only five options, and the Mount was one of them.”

Finally, after reviewing each of their pros and cons lists, Paola and Valeria realized that the Mount was the university that suited their goals the most. That sensation of relief, certainty, and knowledge of where they were headed next is unforgettable when reminiscing on the chance that they would re-locate to Mount St. Joseph University.

“We chose the Mount because it was the best option for us and our future. We feel certain that we are on the right path to reach our very ambitious goals,” states Valeria.

valeria
Photo: Paola Obregon Guillermo

After their acceptance, Paola and Valeria immediately announced it to their parents, whom, after congratulating them, decided to call their family back in Mexico. As the first members of their family to study in the United States, these two special women understood that they were setting an example for their family. One of their uncles even said, “You are paving the way for my kids.”

“That is when it hit us; we are not going to the Mount just for ourselves, but for them too,” says Paola. “We are setting the precedent for the next generations in our family to come study in the U.S. We are here for them and our family’s support; that’s our motivation.”

In the next two and a half years, Paola and Valeria plan to graduate with their Financial Economics degree, and they will set out to pursue their MBA from the Mount where they will benefit from its personalized attention and small class sizes.

New City, New Faces, & Authentic Connections

While Paola and Valeria have moved many times throughout their lives, moving to new city on their own to come to a university where they did not know anyone was certainly exciting, but still no easy task.

At first, living on campus in the dorms with other students they did not know was challenging; however, with time, their neighbors became their friends. The Mount truly made it easy, they say.

“The support that we’ve gotten since we arrived has been unconditional,” says Paola. “Everyone here is so nice and supportive. Students, professors, and staff have made our life in Cincinnati so much easier and enjoyable. Living by ourselves has been a challenge because whenever we need help with personal things, we don’t have our major support system (our family) around us. We can only rely on ourselves whenever stuff happens. So far, we’ve managed life away from our people pretty well. We have met awesome people throughout our stay here, people that care for us; people we can count on.”

Choosing a Major: Putting Passion into Action

When they were nearly 17 years old, the finance discipline began to strike the two after their parents encouraged them to participate in extracurricular activities.

Thus, Paola and Valeria began taking stock trading classes. In 2017, they decided to participate in an international stock trading competition (Reto Actinver). Over 10,000 contestants participated in it and by the end of the competition, Valeria had won 4th place, and Paola had won 5th place. In 2018, they participated and won again; this time, Valeria winning 15th place and Paola winning 7th.

When it came time to choose a major, the answer was clear. Finance was the way to go for the both of them.

“Since then, we have been educating ourselves more about financial investments and everything involved,” Paola describes. “The more we learn, the more we like it. We have genuinely developed a passion for the art and skill of managing money and how it impacts the world.”

Climbing Higher Socially, Academically, & Spiritually

With a knack for numbers, they find investing a truly exciting field with interesting possibilities to achieve financial freedom by their 30s.

After graduating from the Mount with their MBA, Paola and Valeria would like to gain experience working in a commercial or investment bank.

Their ultimate end goal?

Their dream is to work on Wall Street as stockbrokers for a couple of years, retire, and then trade and invest their money. On a more personal level, they would like to have the financial freedom to support their family and sponsor their family’s tuition if they decide to study at a university in the United States.

During their time in school at the Mount, Paola and Valeria expect to give back in any way they can to the community; a community that has been their home for the past ten months. They want to graduate with honors and be the best version possible to grow professionally and spiritually.

“We want to expand our vision and have many different experiences. We want to meet as many people as possible from different majors with different values and goals. We also wish to serve as outlets and assets in our community.”

Small Moments with Large Impact

With so many memories made at the Mount already like attending spring formal and campus activities, sometimes it’s the small, unexpected moments on campus that are incredibly special.

“One of our favorite moments is as simple as the first time we had dinner at the Dining Hall with a new group of students,” Paola reminisces. “We could not stop laughing and talked for almost six hours straight. We talked for so long that the Dining Hall closed, the lights were turned off, and we were still talking. Then, we proceeded to walk all around campus at night to get to know the University. Since then, we have [all] stuck together.”

While their coursework can be overwhelming at times, they understand this is just part of the process. The staff and faculty have been outstanding in their support and expertise, from their advisor, Mary Mazuk, to their professors, particularly Dr. Georgana Taggart who have went above and beyond to help them feel at home.

People at the Mount were friendly, generous, and welcoming.

“We are actually impressed by how kind, and supportive everyone has been to us. We have noticed that not only have our social skills improved, but also spiritually; we feel closer to God. The Mount has made a huge impact in our lives. We are proud to say, ‘We are Lions.’”

Their Best Advice: Discover Your ‘Reason Why’ in College

With their goals set, Paola and Valeria share their Mount experience to learn, explore, meet new people, and reach their fullest potential.

“We know who we are here for, and all the sacrifices our family has made for us to be here. That is our motivation during challenging times,” they assert.

Paola and Valeria’s advice to other students beginning their college journey as freshmen, adult students, or transfers is to discover your “reason why.”  This reason will propel you forward to get through challenges when things don’t turnout the way you expected.

They also recommend setting and organizing your time and priorities. “It is your responsibility only to better yourself and work on your future. Take control of your life, and do what needs to be done to reach your goals.”

Are you interested in a career in Finance like Paola and Valeria? Check out our School of Business page to learn more about our offerings so that you too can become the leaders of tomorrow through hands-on, experiential learning opportunities.