In March 2020, Andrea Mendoza (MBA 2016) hopped on a plane to Peru to visit family. Days later, the world collectively hit pause to grapple with the impacts of COVID-19 turning that short trip into an eight month stay. While in Peru, Mendoza seized the opportunity to make her musical dreams a reality by recording and releasing her first single, March Eleven, on all music streaming platforms and she also launched the next phase of her career in banking.

You may be surprised to see someone both recording music and working in banking (and we haven’t yet mentioned her additional experience in consulting) but Mendoza has embraced the surprise factor and learned to be unapologetically herself. What that looks like is a financial services professional, a strategic leader, and a performer all wrapped into one multidimensional persona that serves her in all areas of life.

“Maybe I don’t need to be just one thing.”

Growing up in Peru, Mendoza developed a love of music alongside the quantitative skills that made her succeed in the classroom. She completed her undergraduate degree in Industrial Engineering and found a fit for her interests and abilities within the consumer banking sector at Banco de Crédito BCP after graduation. Meanwhile, she performed as a singer with different ensembles but didn’t regularly share the artistic side of her personality at work as it didn’t fit within what she viewed as the professional standard.

Day one at HBS changed all of that. Sitting in Aldrich getting to know one of her classmates, Mendoza offered a fun fact about herself; she had made it to the finals of a televised singing competition. Mendoza shared this “off resume” fact not imagining it would be one her classmate would remember, but she soon realized that her talents would be appreciated at HBS.

“When my classmate described me to others, my singing was what she focused on as being impressive,” Mendoza said. “I was surprised, coming into a community that was so impressive by all professional metrics, that my artistic background would be validated.”

This was an important turning point for Mendoza and she began to build a personal brand around performing while at HBS. She noted “For the first time I thought ‘Maybe these two things can coexist. Maybe I don’t need to be just one thing.’”

Bringing Authenticity to Business

As she explored this new idea of embracing her musical talents within the business world, Mendoza joined the HBS A cappella group, Heard on the Street, and the HBS Sound Society, a spinoff of the Entertainment Media Club focused on the music industry, which gave her more opportunities to perform and connect with other artists on campus. The more she performed and immersed herself in the world of music alongside her classmates the more validation she felt and her confidence rose.

Meanwhile, Mendoza wanted to pressure test if returning to financial services would be the right path for her career or if there was another industry she should explore. This led her to joining BCG as a consultant after graduation and gaining valuable experience across a range of sectors.

At BCG, Mendoza continued to bring her authentic self to her work and surrounded herself with colleagues who did the same. “The people I’ve done my best work with I’ve connected to personally because of an interest they have outside of work. When people are comfortable to show their full identities, they also are more willing to share ideas openly. This drives better results,” she noted.

Launching onto the Music Scene

While at BCG in late 2019, Mendoza reflected on her career to date and found herself drawn back to making her own music. “I had never done it though, so I turned to my brother for help coaching me through the process of writing my own songs,” she said. While working remotely for BCG by day, Mendoza spent her free time diving deeply into writing, recording, producing, and music marketing learning from her brother’s expertise.

Regarding setting the go-to-market strategy for her music, Mendoza took advantage of her experience leading projects. She said, “I applied my consulting skills in mapping out the value chain and distribution playbooks to pick what my strategy should look like. My experience leading teams helps me effectively work with partners in production, distribution, and marketing.”

As much as her professional experience has helped Mendoza with her music career, music has also helped her at work. “When you’re motivated outside of work, you’re happier and more efficient,” she said. She has found for herself and for others that the energy from outside pursuits spills over into everything you do and keeps you motivated.

Entering a New Stage of Her Career

Now, as her music is launched out into the world, Mendoza is both returning to her roots and opening new doors of possibility.

The first six songs she wrote, recorded, and produced with her brother will be released on all streaming platforms throughout 2021, fulfilling a lifelong goal. Her musical style is experimental, which suits her multidimensional personality, and combines pop with folk, blues, funk, and traditional Peruvian drums and charangoes.

Mendoza has also returned to Banco de Crédito BCP, the bank that launched her career after undergrad, just like she aspired to do in her HBS admissions essay years ago. Now as Head of Daily Banking, she oversees product management within Consumer Banking including debit and credit cards, savings and checking accounts, and interbank transfers.

Returning to the bank also fits perfectly into Mendoza’s plan to continue bringing authenticity to work and inspiring others to do the same. “The CEO of Banco de Crédito BCP is an Ironman and he brings that identity to work,” Mendoza shared. “This creates opportunity for others to do the same and as a leader within the organization I can set an example as well.”

Mendoza knows that not only does bringing her full identity to work makes her happier, it also brings out her best in all areas of life. “A friend from HBS once told me that I am at my best when I am being unapologetically myself,” she said. “When I’m owning who I am and everything that comes with it.” She carries that message with her and encourages others to do the same. It is Mendoza’s way of making a difference in the world, one song and one professional at a time.