Cecil Alfaro

Hometown: San Jose, Costa Rica
Major: Industrial Engineering/Business Administration
College: College of Engineering

What was you favorite Honors class?

My favorite Honors Class was Calculus 3 for Science and Engineering, with Professor Alexander Martsinkovsky. I liked it because it was a class that forced us to solve really complex problems. This helped me realize how capable we can be when we focus and embrace challenges with confidence and optimism.

During your time at Northeastern, what experiences shaped who you are today as a graduating senior?

All three of my co-ops made a big impact on me, but especially the third one, where I worked for Apple. During this internship I visited and worked on projects at several factories throughout China. As an Industrial Engineering student, I had often heard about Chinese manufacturing operations, but it was not until I visited that I was able to fully comprehend their true scale and complexity. It was shocking to see factories with thousands of operators and to think that my work had such a direct impact on their lives. Having been given such a large responsibility left a deep impression on me as I realized how big an impact I was capable of creating with the education and the skills I had developed in just a couple years.

Besides the co-op experience, being the President of a student organization (Institute of Industrial Engineers) was really exciting. The chapter was very inactive when I joined the Board along with a few other friends. Over the next year, with the continuous support of our department’s faculty and of many active members, we converted it into a top student organization as well as one of the most attractive student-run businesses on campus. The Institute was able to generate annual net revenues of around $20,000 through certification programs on two useful engineering concepts: Lean and Six Sigma. This opportunity really shaped my leadership skills.

What is your best memory from being a part of the Honors Program?

My most memorable of my Honors experience was the Second-Year Leadership Retreat in October 2012. It was a wonderful time to meet other students from the Honors Program and have fun at a beautiful place outside of Boston. I also enjoyed the times we went to the Boston Ballet.

Where are you headed after you graduate?

I am heading to Costa Rica, where I will be working for P&F Costa Rica Flower Farms, the family business, for a couple of years, guiding a series of internal process improvement projects. After that, I will come back to Boston, this time to get my MBA from Harvard Business School.