Student / May 19, 2021

Twinning and Winning Together on a Career Path

As twins, Camila, ’21, and Valeria Arrieta Palacio, ’21, have lived their lives at each other’s side. Now, even as they graduate from the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business, that continues.

They are taking their first steps into the workforce together, accepting positions at Freddie Mac as capital market analysts. It’s just another part of their journey. The pair immigrated from Colombia six years ago and, overcoming language barriers, enrolled at Maryland Smith as finance and marketing majors.

Their success, Camila Arrieta Palacio says, is a testament to the bond they share and the unique level of support that stems from having a twin – someone they can relate to unlike any other.

“We are always pushing each other to be better. It’s our biggest strength and we’ve never stopped doing it,” says Camila Arrieta Palacio. “I think we’re both really happy to be twins because of how we can help each other even during the hardest times.”

When they arrived at UMD together, they planned to pursue different academic tracks. Camila Arrieta Palacio was initially interested in industrial engineering and also began taking classes for biomedical engineering, but quickly realized those fields weren't for her. Her sister, already on the business track, convinced her to switch over to Maryland Smith.

“I asked Valeria and she said she really liked the classes she was taking, which were accounting and all the introduction classes at UMD for business,” says Camila Arrieta Palacio. “That’s when I really became interested and realized it would be easier for me to make that transition because she’s already there.”

From there, the two continued on through their coursework and were eventually selected as Quantitative Finance Fellows. The experience would give them an important edge later, in job interviews with Freddie Mac.

“They talked to us a lot about the Quantitative Finance Fellows because of previous fellows that have joined Freddie Mac and stood out even among employees from bigger schools,” says Valeria Arrieta Palacio. “It’s exciting to hear from them and it’s important for us to go to a company that appreciates our hard work and background. Our journey hasn’t been easy, but we’ve overcome everything together and we’ve made each other stronger.”

Over the course of the yearlong application process, the two would review each other’s cover letters and identify ways in which they could improve their candidacies, Valeria Arrieta Palacio says.

It might have taken the interviewers by surprise when the selection pool was narrowed down to the final list of candidates and both of them were on it, Camila Arrieta Palacio says, but it made for a laugh when the two reintroduced themselves as twins during their first meeting.

They both say they can’t wait to get started at Freddie Mac, and seeing where their career paths take them next.

“The end goal is to have our own business. We don’t know what type of business it will be yet, but we know that if we do it, it’ll be together,” says Valeria Arrieta Palacio. “We'll learn as much as we can throughout our careers at Freddie Mac so that we can make it happen.”

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About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, specialty master's, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.

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