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From DACA to Dreams of Management

Arturo Minera

From DACA to Dreams of Management, Jose Perez embodies resilience and hard work

Many Hispanic immigrants come to the United States in search of a better, safer life. With that comes determination, inspiration and aspiration. 

For Jose Manuel Perez, who graduated in 2023 from the Master of Business Administration (MBA) program at Northern Kentucky University with specialties in marketing and supply chain, his career development began as soon as he committed to his education. He went to private school in Mexico before his family moved to the United States due to safety reasons. 

“We had a good life down there,” Perez says. “But I remember when I was in fifth grade there was an incident when we witnessed some violence. After that, my parents decided to bring us to the states for a safer environment, a safer life. And to seek an opportunity.” 

Perez came to the United States at 12 years old. He and his family settled in Michigan until he was 17. That’s when the family moved to Indiana. 

After finishing high school, going to college was important to him. However, most schools wouldn’t accept him due to missing a document needed as an international student. He eventually found an educational opportunity that took a chance on him.

“It means a lot because it gives recognition to the people who have paved the way through a more diverse culture, not only as a society but in our day-to-day activities."

“I started at Ivy Tech with international tuition,” Perez said. “So I used to work under the table and paid for my college. That was the only thing I was able to afford without that additional help.” 

Creativity was a skill that Perez has always loved using. That creative eye led him to studying visual communication at Ivy Tech. While there, Perez took up art, graphic design and photography. Acquiring those skills and talents helped guide him as he rose through the ranks in his career—combining them with business. 

Perez received his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) benefit in 2013, which has allowed him to work. Perez now works as a digital marketing manager for Senneca Holdings, a management and holding company specializing in specialty doors. While rising through the ranks, he was able to learn more and hone these skills on the business side through NKU’s MBA program

“Supply chain was a love that I discovered within the program,” Perez says. “I initially started the program with finance. I realized that finance was not my forte. It’s a lot of numbers. My respect to finance guys and girls and whatnot. Supply chain goes hand in hand with the industry I’m currently in.” 

Perez has ambitions for more, too. He sees himself someday being a vice president for a company. It’s not lost on him the significance of possibly accomplishing that as a young adult who found a new life in America nearly 20 years ago. He recognizes it wouldn’t be possible to even dream of that ambition if it weren’t for the people who are celebrated during Hispanic Heritage Month—those who came before him. 

“It means a lot because it gives recognition to the people who have paved the way through a more diverse culture, not only as a society but in our day-to-day activities,” Perez says. 

About This Article

October 2023

Written by
Clayton Castle ('15)
Contributor. NKU Magazine