Raised in Mexico City, Pablo Gutierrez held steadfast to his dreams of a brighter future for himself and his loved ones. In 2017, he made the pivotal decision to relocate to the United States to pursue the American Dream. Yet, upon arrival, he encountered a myriad of hurdles, particularly in securing employment.

Despite having a bachelor’s degree from the highly ranked and accredited Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Gutierrez initially felt undervalued in his new environment. Reflecting on his job search, he said, "I earned my bachelor’s degree with honors in Mexico, and when I got to the U.S., I was treated like I didn't have anything to offer.”

His fortunes took a turn for the better when, at a job fair, he discovered he could apply for American graduate programs with an international bachelor’s degree. Applying to two Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs, Gutierrez was accepted into both, ultimately choosing Cal State San Bernardino for its combination of quality education and affordability.

“Not only is CSUSB highly ranked and accredited, but I could also afford it,” said Gutierrez.

Throughout his MBA program, Gutierrez found unwavering support from professors, including Barbara Sirotnik and Jacqueline Romano, who played pivotal roles in his academic journey.

"Barbara Sirotnik’s class was really my first impression of education in the U.S.,” said Gutierrez. “That experience made me so glad I’d decided to pursue my MBA at CSUSB. Professor Sirotnik really cares about her students. She’s one of the best professors I've ever had."

Pablo Gutierrez, doctoral (Ed.D.) student
Pablo Gutierrez, doctoral (Ed.D.) student, will be a two-time CSUSB graduate. He graduated from the MBA program in spring 2020, and he expects to graduate from the Ed.D. program in 2026.

Hailing from a country with fewer opportunities, Gutierrez felt compelled to seize the abundance of possibilities in the U.S. During his master’s program, Gutierrez applied for and received numerous scholarship opportunities, which not only provided financial assistance but also ignited a passion for international travel through study abroad experiences in South Korea, Germany and China.

While in graduate school, his career evolved. He obtained a marketing and communications role at CSUSB's Office of Graduate Studies and excelled at it. This role led to greater responsibilities in the form of a transcript evaluator position.

Upon completion of his MBA degree in spring 2020, Gutierrez returned temporarily to Mexico while he awaited his U.S. citizenship interview. Once he received his U.S. citizenship, an unforgettable milestone for him, he returned to the U.S. to embark on a new career path. After a stint with Oracle, he found his way back to CSUSB, landing a role as an international admissions evaluator in the Office of International Admissions.

Driven by his firsthand experiences as an international student, Gutierrez made the decision to pursue the doctorate of education (Ed.D.) in educational leadership program at CSUSB. Gutierrez was accepted into the program and is one of two CSUSB Holmes Scholars for 2023.

His focus in the three-year program is on diversity and inclusion. He wants to champion policies that support students facing challenges akin to those he encountered. Ultimately, his ambitions extend to leadership roles within higher education, aspiring to become a vice president or president of a university.

"As an international student myself, I know the challenges they face,” said Gutierrez. “Ultimately, I want to be in a position to create policies to help other students.”

In his journey from Mexico to the American Dream, Gutierrez’s story serves as an inspiration, showcasing the transformative power of education, resilience and gratitude.

"No matter how hard things are, there is a lot to be thankful for,” Gutierrez said. “I’m always grateful for the opportunities I’ve had and the people who’ve supported me."