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Everything revolves around people. Camila Escalante. Success stories

Recipient of the Forté Fellowship, for women exhibiting exemplary leadership, and an IESE Excellence Scholarship, for outstanding achievement, personal merit and strong fit with IESE’s values. IESE MBA 2025.

The first woman in her family to pursue an MBA, Camila Escalante follows in her family’s entrepreneurial footsteps, aspiring to lead the sustainable growth and internationalization of her Peruvian family business.

Six years before she was born, Camila Escalante’s mother, Luciana D’Angelo, launched her own dairy business, Delice, in 1990. Today, the company has more than 150 employees and is Peru’s leading maker and exporter of cream cheese products.

Although she grew up with the family business, Escalante had a different career in mind for herself in corporate finance. “Delice was a small, artisanal company, managed in a very traditional way. I didn’t see myself going down that path,” she says.

After graduating with a degree in economics from the University of the Pacific in Lima, she began working at Ataria, a venture capital firm for early-stage startups in Peru. With a management team of just five people — two of which were women — Escalante got her first taste of the world of venture capital.

Triple tsunami

This continued until the pandemic hit in 2020. It was a period she describes as a “triple tsunami.”

Alongside the personal restrictions imposed by COVID-19 lockdowns, Escalante’s family business had to deal with operational and supply-chain difficulties. As if that weren’t enough, Peru went through a period of political and social turmoil, further complicating the collection and distribution of the fresh milk on which Delice’s entire business depended.

Given that her mother had always been her role model for hard work and resilience, Escalante was quick to lend a hand. She got involved in the purchasing side of things, managing the daily procurement of some 50,000 liters of fresh milk to supply their production line.

“That’s when I truly understood how all the different areas of a business relate to each other,” she says. “I had studied economics and was very good with numbers and finance, but until then I had never seen a business operate in real life.”

Today, she can proudly say that she has contributed to Delice’s transformation and growth. She adapted the recipes to be healthier (lower sodium, sugar and fat) and more sustainable (eliminating GMO ingredients). The new cream cheese recipe will reduce costs by an estimated 7%. In addition, she implemented a variable compensation scheme to boost employee motivation and give team members a greater sense of ownership and commitment.

It was this defining experience at Delice that made her decide to go and get an MBA to broaden her management skills and acquire a global perspective on business operations. She now sees her professional future linked to Delice in some way.

Camila Escalant
Credit: Roger Rovira

An unprecedented opportunity

In choosing between a U.S. or European business school, what eventually sold her on the latter was Europe’s cultural and national diversity. In terms of IESE specifically, “it helped that it has a significant community of Latin American students.” As such, Escalante sees promising opportunities for building a strong network across Latin America, helping to expand and consolidate Delice’s market presence in the region. IESE’s focus on people clinched her choice: “It’s something you can feel in the atmosphere,” she says.

Escalante feels fortunate and grateful to be a scholarship recipient of the IESE International Foundation. As the first woman in her family to pursue an MBA, she feels “immense joy and pride to represent both my country, Peru, and the aspirations of first-generation MBA students like me at IESE.”

She describes her experience on the Barcelona campus as an endless stream of stimulation, and she transfers her learnings to Delice through regular online meetings with the company back home.

She has wasted no time in getting involved in various student-run organizations — from the Women in Business Club to the Family Business Club (naturally) but also the Mental Health and Wellbeing Club, helping others thrive amid the stresses of life (the subject of her undergraduate thesis was the effect of the mother’s mental health on children’s emotional and cognitive development). She also finds time to visit supplier factories and attend trade fairs related to her sector.

Growth rooted in a social mission

Since 2020, Delice has tripled its sales, expanded its product lines, and added Colombia as another export market on top of its established presence in Chile. Delice’s commitment to sustainability involves advancing the use of eco-friendly and mono-material packaging that facilitates recycling, and establishing long-term business relationships with suppliers: “When we grow, they grow with us,” she says.

Escalante is determined to take the family business to another level: “In helping to make the company grow, I want us to consider how each step we take will affect others: the community, the workers, the consumers and other stakeholders. In the end, everything revolves around people.”


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