Degree: Executive Master of Business Administration
College/School: College of Business
Growing up, Orestes Mirabal faced a household reality of domestic abuse, violence and illegal activities. At times, his mother would flee with her children in an attempt to start over. Orestes dropped out of high school in the beginning of ninth grade and, due to the violence he encountered hanging out in the streets, ended up joining a Miami street gang. Yet Orestes’ determination to lead a meaningful life, and a combination of mentoring and education, pointed him in the direction of wanting to help others through their own challenges.
After a Christian ministry mentor set him on the right path as a young adult, he took on opportunities to give back, as a mentor in Miami and a worker in a poor Ecuadorian village. He became a warehouse laborer at UPS and thrived under the discipline, rising to regional supervisor for business development over the course of 15 years. And he started a family. Through it all, he embraced the power of education, going back to school for his GED and an undergraduate degree.
A mentor at UPS introduced Orestes to FIU’s Executive MBA. It was there that his leadership, research and team building skills blossomed, fueled by a desire to maximize his ability to give back. His capstone project, “Real Walk,” is a non-profit mentoring organization designed to help low-income Miami-Dade youth get into college, and he hopes to turn it into a working agency in the future. In the meantime, he mentors for Take Stock for Children and plans to take his learning to another level: a doctorate in education.