Mayra Mas Echevarría
Mayra was born in Cuba, but at the age of 10 she moved to New York City. She finished high school in three years, rather than four, by completing tasks during the summer. Later on, she decided to study computer science at Queens College, which is a prestigious university. She was admitted to the school due to her outstanding grades and by being the top in her class.
After finishing her degree, she moved to Spain, where she got married, and then went back to New York to work for a company as a programmer for diaphones. She realized that it wasn’t what she really wanted to do because the work was never over. Programming made her constantly think about how to solve problems, even in her free time and after work.
After a year in New York, she moved again to Spain, where she decided to study economics at the University of Barcelona, going on to earn a PhD. Next, she worked as an auditor inspector for the government, as well as a tax consultant for 8 years. She thought that tax consulting involved too much authority, was too demanding and high-pressure from the legal point of view. As a result of having 5 children, she had to find something that allowed her to have her own time schedule. So in 1988, she started her own auditing consultancy business, which gave her time for her kids and her job.
For Mayra, family is essential in her life and, in fact, it has helped her understand her students better. The only students that Mayra wants are those who are willing to learn and have their neurons in “on mode.” She dislikes students who are lazy, immature and are only thinking about what they are going to do on the weekend. That’s why she finds Master’s degree students a lot more gratifying – they tend to show more interest and their willingness to learn is much greater.
Currently, she is mainly teaching at business schools, stepping into her business once in a while. Mayra considers La Salle to be a very prestigious university. She also believes that the university is progressing well and that the quality of the students is continuously improving. She teaches some days in the afternoons, although she tries to avoid afternoon classes to have time for her kids and herself.
In terms of her personal life, Mayra loves to spend time with her family and to work out. In fact, she identifies herself as a workout “freak,” training five times a week and following a diet. Her main sport is spinning. Living close to the universities where she works is a great incentive for her to continue teaching, as she believes that, at this point in her life, she wants convenience.
As I have mentioned before, she has 5 kids. One of her sons worked in the university as a professor of business law. He studied an MBA at MIT, a Master of Laws at Harvard and holds a PhD in law from the UB. One of her daughter is currently working in Abu Dhabi as an event organizer in a prestigious hotel. Her second daughter currently works in the tax division for the OECD in Paris. Her youngest son is finishing high school in Barcelona. Even though her kids live all over the world, they constantly call her for advice. Once in a while, her phone rings in the middle of the class and she always responds “Sorry guys, it’s my son/daughter.”
Mayra is a professor who is exceptionally valued at our university by the staff and the students. She is particularly respected because she motivates students to go beyond their limits and possibilities. Above all, she says, she wants students to learn in her class so that when the real “fire” starts, they are all ready to be a step above the others in the competitive world that we live in.