Wednesday, June 23, 2004

From migrant worker to Harvard MBA

"Just the sight of peach trees is still enough to make Martin Curiel itch. As a boy, he spent hours with 50-pound bags of the fruit slung around his neck as he plucked peaches off the trees in California."

"Curiel and his family of migrant workers followed the harvests of cherries, olives, and other crops. But peaches were particularly difficult. In the heat, peach fuzz would stick to the sweat on Curiel's neck and cause days of infuriating itching."

"Yesterday, Curiel graduated from Harvard Business School, walking off the stage not only with a master's degree and a California consulting job, but with plans to found the Migrant MBA Project, a nonprofit that will put his degree to use back in the fields where he worked as a child."

"In 2002, Hispanics made up just 4.5 percent of students in MBA programs, according to the National Society of Hispanic MBAs. With the help of the College Assistance Migrant Program, an educational advocacy group for migrants, Curiel was able to find only seven former migrant workers nationwide who had earned an MBA degree."

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