Business Major Finds New Beginning After Leaving Hurricane-Damaged University

Victor A. Fuentes Ortiz is now studying business at LVC after leaving the University of Puerto Rico

I am Victor A. Fuentes Ortiz, a junior undergraduate student in business management at Lebanon Valley College. I am originally from Caguas, Puerto Rico.

Why Business Management?

When I was a young boy, I would always see kids selling lemonade in front of their homes and making decent profits. I knew that if I was going to have any chance at making some money in my neighborhood, I would have to come up with a better strategy. Just because everyone else sold their lemonade one way did not mean I had to follow their methods. I knew I had to add value to my business, which would lead people to support my product. A few weeks later, I had the bright idea to set up my lemonade stand in front of our local grocery store. Business was so good that I had to get more of my friends to come work for me to help manage drink orders. I learned a valuable business lesson that summer. I learned that non-value added transportation is a waste in business; that my competition’s customer base was anyone willing to drive or walk up to their stand. On the other hand, I was in front of the grocery store, where customers could approach my stand entering or exiting the store.

Right after this experience, I knew that I wanted to study business administration. My long-term goal is to build my own business and to be a role model for the next generation of students. I know that a good manager and entrepreneur is someone who is responsible, determined, self-motivated, and a good leader with deep knowledge and adaptability. I am certain that I have the passion and determination to achieve my goals.

Transition from Puerto Rico to Pennsylvania: why I chose LVC and what I like the most about it.

I had a home, a normal life, and college experience. A few months ago, everything changed. Hurricane María left me without a house, zero communication, a water shortage, and an unstable electric grid. Moreover, I was no longer able to study at my previous college, the University of Puerto Rico, Humacao campus. The campus was among the worst damaged by María. It is mold-infested with leaking roofs, so there is a lot of work to be done before students can use it again. Even though my previous campus is gone, my desire to study is stronger than ever. Unfortunately, the current situation in Puerto Rico jeopardized my career so I decided to continue my studies in Central Pennsylvania, where my sister is located. 

I am going to be completely honest… when I arrived to Pennsylvania, I was lost. I had to get used to the language, the weather, the environment, and, most importantly, being away from my family. I come from a low-income household. Therefore, I was concerned about how expensive it would be to study in the U.S., especially at a private institution such as LVC. When other institutions did not understand my situation, LVC—and especially Mr. Roberto Marti—helped when I needed it the most. I felt valued. So, when you ask me what I like most about being part of LVC, besides the professionalism and quality of education, I say ‘the people, and how friendly and supportive they are.’ 

I chose the Business Administration Program at Lebanon Valley College because it provides me with key management competencies, including effective leadership, team building, managing and motivating human resources, facilitating organizational change and learning, and fostering and applying organizational knowledge for competitive advantage. The program delivers a solid background in the fundamentals of business and conforms closely to the national common body of knowledge recommended by the Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). This is what I need to become a leader in the business industry and to create my own company. I know the importance of finishing my college career and I am definitely ready to continue stimulating my voracious desire for knowledge, here at LVC.