If Michael Hernandez (‘17) could use one word to describe himself, it would be “grit.” No matter the obstacles that come his way, he is determined to find a path and make an opportunity.

Hernandez came to The Catholic University of America to pursue the goal of becoming a doctor. He was accepted to the pre-med biology program and excelled in his studies. But his career path took a dramatic turn when he overheard a friend talking about a business class with Professor Andreas Widmer.

“I had a light bulb moment,” he said. “I saw all the things my friend was taking in that class: the vocation of business, economic theory, accounting. I saw a whole new possibility for my life and I knew I had to switch.”

At the time, Hernandez was mid-way through his sophomore year, a tough time to switch from one demanding academic career to another. But by taking more than 18 credit hours each semester and using a little grit, he carved out a plan to major in finance and still graduate on time.

“It was the best thing that ever happened to me and the best decision I ever made,” he said. “The Busch School is exactly the kind of business education that the world needs. It’s no longer enough to simply make a profit in the marketplace; we need to pursue the common good, human dignity and solidarity and count that as part of our success.”

As a first generation American, with Cuban and Puerto Rican heritage, Hernandez has a unique perspective on the importance of entrepreneurship and free enterprise, hallmarks of the Busch School business philosophy.

“Many people have not had a first-hand encounter with communism and socialism,” he said. “I have seen the problems those philosophies pose and I consider myself fortunate to have never lived in a country where it wasn't free for me to do whatever I wanted from a business perspective.”