LatPro.com’s scholarship program for Hispanic students is proud to announce Jose Antonio Flores as one of the three finalists for its December deadline application. Vote for his essay by clicking the thumbs up button at the bottom of the page, and/or leave comments of support to help us with the selection process.
Jose Antonio Flores‘s Essay:
How did you choose your major? What obstacles have you had to overcome and what will it mean to you to graduate with this degree?
My dad left Mexico when I was born in search of a job in the U.S. to be able and provide for our family. My mom worked two full time jobs in Mexico while my sister and I were taken care of by nuns at a local church. Early on, I learned to value the little that I had and knew that the most important things in life could not be summed up in dollar values so when my mom told me we were finally going to the United States to reunite with my dad I was ecstatic. The night we arrived, my dad took us to his apartment where he introduced us to all his neighbors and roommates; we all shared a small bed in the living room of his apartment and rented out the bedroom to afford rent and groceries. As a way to teach my sister and I the importance in saving money, my dad gave us a weekly “Domingo” allowance of five dollars. Instead of spending the money on video games like my parents thought I would, I would buy collectible pokemon cards and candy to then sell door to door to my apartment complex neighbors. At the end of each year I would eventually end up giving my money to my dad to help pay for bills. This business I had, as my parents called it, got me interested in pursuing a career as a businessman.
I was very business savvy at such a young age but considered myself to be a complete professional in my job. Each customer I approached to sell candy or pokemon cards demanded a different tactic. I would convince mothers that they could give the pokemon cards and candy to their kids as rewards for doing well in school. When selling to the kids, I would stress how far away the local store was and how they would have to first get their parent’s permission to go to the store and buy candy or the cards themselves. I would do this two or three times a week and through this job I learned a valuable lesson in entrepreneurship and marketing.
In high school I started a film club, the Aspiring Filmmakers Committee, and faced the challenge of attracting members to come to the meetings while giving up some of their valuable time during lunch. Despite being a new student group that year and with very few resources we ended up becoming the most successful one by expanding to over thirty members and producing various short-length music videos and one full-length film by the end of the year. Part of the reason why I started the club is because I wanted to gain leadership experience through my experience as president of the group and because I have a passion for film.
A future goal of mine is to start a media production company that focuses on making documentaries, specifically I want to document the struggle that immigrants go through to cross the U.S. border to live a life of constant uphill battles. To do that, I have to first become very successful so that I will be able to provide for my family when I do start my own media production company. That is why I want to first use my skills and interest in the marketing sector of business when I finish my college career.
As a Hispanic, I would provide significant and valuable insights into consumer practices and desires of one of the largest and fastest growing consumer segments; the Hispanic population. Most significantly, I feel I would be a very big asset to any marketing consulting firm since I am very knowledgeable and ingenious when it comes to finding ways of increasing and improving customer satisfaction. I have learned these insights through my experience with my film club in high school, various odd jobs and internships throughout college and high school, and through the various student group leadership positions I have had.
My sophomore year at Berkeley I founded a student organization, M.E.N.D., at UC Berkeley that advocates for an alternative to the current drug war other than military force and raises awareness over the current drug war in Mexico and over the fact that the status quo of military force to combat organized crime is failing; new approaches such as increasing community welfare and advancement programs have to be implemented throughout Mexico while having increased cooperation from the U.S. I have now been the president of M.E.N.D. for one and a half years and have gained significant experience as a leader that will help me later on in my career. I feel that I would be a very successful businessman because of not only these traits that I have but also because of my hard work ethic and dedication to always provide the best that I can offer.
The only thing that is getting in the way of me achieving these goals is my struggle to find the money to pay for school each semester. Given the increasing tuition hikes in the UC system and with very little help from my parents, I am forced to take on odd jobs such as participating in sleep deprivation studies, attending events that offer free food, and organizing tamales sales. I am currently about to enter my second semester of my junior year, and am confident that I will somehow find the money this semester to continue my studies. This scholarship would allow me to concentrate in my school work more and not have to stress about my financial situation as much while helping me get closer to pursuing my dreams and goals. Graduating with a degree in business from the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley will mean that I have succeeded in graduating from one of the top undergraduate business schools in the country while becoming an example to my little brother and other Hispanic students who are struggling through their educational paths as well.