MSx Student

Jorge Quiroga

MSx Class of 2024
Jorge Quiroga
Jorge Quiroga
I see work as not just building companies but in creating things that don’t yet exist.
February 27, 2024

For Jorge Andres Quiroga, being an entrepreneur isn’t just about finding ways to iterate on success in the business world; it’s about something bigger than himself. “I see work as the main channel through which I fulfill my purpose of not just building companies but in creating things that don’t yet exist,” Quiroga says.

Inspired by his family and driven by an internal sense of curiosity, Quiroga has worn many hats — as board member, chief executive officer, and chief operations officer of three companies he co-founded, including BlackSip, an award-winning e-commerce consulting and development company operating in five South American countries.

After nearly two decades of building and exiting successful companies, Quiroga felt it was the right time to pursue the next chapter in his life — the MSx program at Stanford.

For many years you have built companies, sold them, and then set off on a new adventure. Where does your passion for this work come from? What’s your ‘why’?

My grandfather was a physicist who was born into poverty. He worked diligently and put himself through high school and college. He became a famous physicist in Colombia who wrote textbooks that shaped how future generations studied and interacted with physics. In my early years, he was a mentor who fostered curiosity in me through physics experiments, storytelling, and cutting out newspaper articles around science and technology experiments I could run. He was a significant influence in my life.

When I was about to graduate high school, I wrote a paper on how to solve a Rubik’s cube using code because I was curious about how to blend programming with a little bit of math. I’ve always wanted to understand how things work and be able to create — to make things happen from what I learn. Curiosity and the power to shape the world around me have guided me throughout my career, starting from a young age.

How did you decide to return to school after so many years in the professional world?

I always had the desire to come to Stanford. When you’re building companies, you can’t take a break, so graduate school was always a dream that lingered in the background. Three years ago, I was able to sell one of the companies I co-founded and exited successfully. I told myself it was time to fulfill that dream and come to Stanford and reflect on what I wanted to do next.

“I don’t think anyone achieves success and then can go to sleep and just be there forever.”

Returning to school is humbling, especially business school, because there’s so much to learn — you can always be a better manager and leader. A lot of research on what’s happening in the world and what will happen is taking place at Stanford. My path has been an unusual one, yet insightful and exciting. 

Talk about your own approach to leadership, especially as it relates to building your companies. What do you mean by “you can always be a better manager and leader?”

I could sum up my leadership style in a few words. One is people, and two is results. I’m obsessed with both. I see them as things I have to balance. I’m very people-oriented because the people I work with are my community in life.

Then, I believe that to drive results, a team has to operate much like a sports team, with the best players on the field playing the game, coaching, performance assessments, and a cohesive team culture.

I’ve always been passionate about metrics and numbers. I enjoy keeping track of KPIs and often wonder what any organization’s or person’s top KPI might be. My leadership also emphasizes empowering others to step out of their comfort zones and achieve personal and professional growth. From my experience, that’s when learning actually happens. When people get too comfortable in their jobs, they stop learning.

I think one of the reasons I really like to work is also because I’m very purposeful in how I choose the people I work with. I see my work as part of the legacy I’m building in my life. When I think about my legacy, I think about how people will remember me. Two years ago, my father-in-law, German, passed away unexpectedly. While he was a highly successful businessman, what left an impression on me was how others celebrated, remembered, and commemorated him — not for his achievements but despite them. He generously shared his time and knowledge, contributing to the growth and development of those around him, personally and professionally. His legacy inspired me to reflect on the impact I want to have. I’ve realized that success alone isn’t the metric by which I want to measure myself. It’s the positive influence and impact we can have on others.

You have so many successful experiences under your belt. But failure is also important for learning. Can you talk about a time you failed and how that motivated you?

A few years ago, with one of my companies, we responded to a government bid to build 2,000 e-commerce stores on a very tight schedule. We had to develop software for a lot of these stores. I pushed my team on metrics — I was tracking how many stores were launched every week. By keeping count of the metrics, I thought I had everything under control. Then, a few months into the process, we started getting negative feedback from customers who were unsatisfied with the online stores. I realized I was so focused on the productivity metric that I missed the real purpose of why we were doing the project, which was to help small businesses in Colombia sell products online. Ultimately, we had to re-engineer the whole process. It took more time and required more investment, but we started to see positive results. I learned to keep an eye on the real metrics and the bigger picture.

What do you think has been the key to your success?

I think success is a temporary state. I don’t think anyone achieves success and then can go to sleep and just be there forever. I see success as an ongoing process. It sounds cliche, but hard work, luck, and gratitude are why I feel I’ve gained some success. I have this fire inside me that even in the worst moments helps me pick up the shovel and get to work. Most importantly, success is multifaceted, and although work is a big part of it for me, being able to build successful relationships with myself, my family, and my friends are large parts of it as well. I see work as the main channel through which I fulfill my purpose of not just building companies, but in creating things that don’t yet exist.

What has been most impactful about your experience at Stanford?

At Stanford, classes are taught by researchers and lecturers simultaneously — so there’s a combination of expertise. The economics of private equity class is taught by Ilya Strebulaev, who is the most knowledgeable researcher in the VC and private equity space. He teaches with Dipanjan Deb, the founder and CEO of one of the most successful private equity firms in the world. In the same classroom, you have the research perspective as well as the practical world perspective. That’s so enriching. That’s been the highlight of the experience.

Photos by Elena Zhukova

Jorge Quiroga
Jorge Quiroga
MSx Class of 2024
Bogotá, Colombia
MS, Stanford Graduate School of Business
BSc, Universidad de los Andes, Computer Engineering and Industrial Engineering
Professional Experience
Co-founder and Board Member, EL MARKET
Account Manager, Google
Current Profile