‘Sending The Elevator Back Down’: How This Columbia MBA Is Lifting Those people Soon after Him

Everybody who talks with Paul Capon comes away amazed. Even just before earning MBA levels from equally Columbia Small business College and London Business enterprise College in 2013, he was a United States Air Power Academy graduate and Air Power officer for 6 several years, during which he served as a convoy commander for more than 120 convoys in Afghanistan. Article-military and submit-MBA, Capon founded influence financial commitment fund LunaCap Ventures, which invests in armed forces-, females-, and minority-owned or -run companies.

A yr later, he launched LunaCap Foundation, which assists those people of Mexican descent born wherever in the entire world or present-day lively armed forces or U.S. Armed Forces veterans with the expense of an MBA instruction. A deeply private undertaking, LunaCap’s $200,000 scholarships have been awarded to 10 excellent recipients at the primary organization universities every single of the previous two decades. The 2021 collection system is now underway the deadline to utilize for this year’s cohort is March 30, with interviews by way of Might and last selections introduced in July.

Inextricably intertwined with Capon’s amazing qualified story is his own a single. It is a basically American and vastly inspiring tale. Born Moises Luna Soto in Mexico, he was adopted at 3 months old by a effectively-to-do spouse and children in Connecticut and renamed — for this reason the moniker of his undertaking firm and foundation, LunaCap. “It’s opportunity fulfills likely,” Capon tells Poets&Quants. “It’s bridging the gap in between The us and Mexico. It doesn’t suggest ‘moon capital’!” he adds, laughing.


‘I Had Improved DO One thing WITH MY LIFE’

Paradox is a topic for Capon, who grew up in an affluent group, however felt drawn to the military. “One of the factors I went to the Air Force Academy was, I recognized that I have been offered an option, that I grew up with privilege, and that there were a whole bunch of other persons out there that didn’t develop up with it,” he suggests. “The Academy, I feel, was one thing wherever I desired to go off, do a little something on my own. I didn’t want mommy and daddy to be equipped to just pay back my way by it.

“And when I was at the Air Power Academy, I satisfied a entire bunch of actually interesting people, and just to give you an idea of the town I grew up, it was the 1st time I’d at any time met another person who was not able to afford to pay for higher education.”

Just one summer season whilst he was nonetheless in the Academy, Capon traveled to Mexico to obtain his delivery mother. He was unsuccessful. However going for walks all-around the area in which she experienced lived, he had an epiphany.

“It seemed like Eastern Europe soon after Earth War II,” he recalls. “I observed anyone the precise exact age, could have been a calendar year older than me, just sitting on the sidewalk. And I’m there in my khakis and button-down shirt, and I realized, just looking at what my lifestyle could have been and recognizing the point that I had been offered an remarkable chance — what if this specific had that chance? What would he be able to do? Not only for himself, but for other people — and how numerous other people could this man or woman aid out?

“This man or woman would give their proper arm to be in which I am. So I had improved do a little something with my daily life!”


Marcia Austin

If Paul Capon experienced introduced LunaCap solely as a way to meet interesting persons, he couldn’t have found a greater motor vehicle. Between the 20 MBAs who are the very first to get the organization’s six-digit award, a lot more than 50 percent boast sterling army resumes — Air Pressure navigators, Maritime Corps logistics officers, Navy SEALs — and the other folks are similarly outstanding young gurus with Mexican heritage.

Marcia Austin, in the latter group, came to business faculty from the Los Angeles media amusement globe, wherever she worked in strategy and investigation of expertise promotions and co-financing. Ten many years into her career, she was recommended to prevent an MBA, but in 2020 she began her MBA at Stanford Graduate University of Business enterprise.

Now nearing the close of her 1st year, Austin says the LunaCap scholarship has been “more beneficial than you can consider.”

“All of my mentors stated that an MBA was a waste of my time and that I must not leave for worry of perhaps getting rid of my place,” she tells Poets&Quants. “Coming from a background wherever financial security is not a matter, it is a truly terrifying position to be, that personal debt — I think about it every single day. And so the point that there was a portion of that, that was capable to be coated, was a single of the most uplifting points that they could do.”

Austin says the course of action of implementing to Stanford, and afterwards to LunaCap, “made me realize I had been, from a youthful age, really ashamed of my track record.” Growing up in San Diego with the final name Garcia, she was a focus on. “People would make jokes about, ‘Oh, my gardener’s past identify is Garcia. Are you relevant to him? Hey, can you have your dad appear mow my garden?’ And so, although all those points were being stated in jest, it was just a thing developing up that I was embarrassed about.

“And I would snicker it off for the reason that of training course in junior significant, you’re not heading to in fact tell an individual, ‘What you are stating impacts me this way.’ It would not arrive right up until, again, making use of to grad faculty and definitely unpacking: ‘What does issue to me?’ There was a lot of rising as a result of those obstacles, understanding to watch the distinctions that I noticed in myself — not only in high college, but particularly likely to undergrad, currently being 1st era there — not experience like I was mirrored in a great deal of my classmates. I was ashamed of that at initially. And it is now at the point in which 10 yrs away from undergrad and in the authentic environment that I acknowledge it is really been these a large possibility for me to develop, to discover, to look at myself improved. I see these as victories that I’ve been in a position to just develop from and empower.”


LunaCap’s mission “resonated with me, so impactfully,” Austin suggests. And her working experience — and phrases — resonated with the foundation’s founder. In assembly Capon for the very first time to job interview for the fellowship, she employed a metaphor for encouraging individuals who occur immediately after you: “sending the elevator again down.” In subsequent conversations, Capon recurring the phrase as central to his worldview and that of LunaCap’s fellows.

“I assume it is these a ideal way to explain a circumstance as you speak about empowering, creating a pathway for some others,” Austin states. “This isn’t just about finding a plan which is likely to enable get you this, and then you get your occupation and you experience empowered as a minority in the workforce. It is about likely by way of your possess personal journey, exactly where yet again, you mail elevators down and you will elevate up other individuals and you assist them. I think the way that Paul has explained it and the way that I view it is becoming an active component of making mentorship and furnishing assets to all those who will need it.”

What do all those sources search like? They are not just economic, Austin suggests.

“Sure there is the fiscal methods, but there’s much more than that,” she says. “It’s mentorship, it’s sharing activities. It’s possessing an individual wherever you can match a pupil to and have some type of connection. I feel which is definitely needed. There’s so lots of huge selections that are becoming made inside this two-year outrageous time that I believe there is a whole lot you can learn from that. But I imagine there is a ton that you could share with folks right before they even get below, to fully grasp how can they embolden them selves to see that they have a feeling of goal and a rightful spot to wander into management.

“I’m in my 1st 12 months in the MBA system, I’m just in excess of 30 a long time previous, and this is the initially time that I’m in fact variety of proud of my heritage and I’m happy of where I’ve occur from. I’m very pleased that I’ve been capable to set up a legacy for my household to come, that this is not just a area for the overprivileged. It’s not just a area for persons who have a route in entrance of them by now laid out.

“I consider if you glance underneath the achievements and the GPAs and the accomplishments and careers — and I can only discuss for the people today coming from far more of a Mexican track record — but a ton of us, despite the fact that we have that on paper, have not certainly felt that we deserved it still. And so I consider a whole lot of this is recognizing that you can be uplifted, even with one thing you may well have thought was not a thing to be very pleased of. So yet again, this has been a transformative watch of myself, because of one thing that this corporation is now striving to empower people today to assume is an essential aspect of our heritage.”

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