Jose Mario Arango. Photo by Jim Krause


Figuring out one’s life as a college freshman sometimes means there will be a few twists and turns along the way. But that doesn’t mean things won’t all turn out better for it. So says Jose Mario Arango.

“The plan was to get a music degree and be in and out in four years.” Arango, 29, says of his years studying violin at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. “I thought I wanted to teach once I graduated, but I quickly came to realize that teaching wasn’t for me.”

During his senior year, as he prepared for an uncertain future after graduation, Arango decided to take a class on art law at the IU Kelley School of Business.

“We focused on a lot of technical aspects of the entertainment industry that I hadn’t ever really considered before, like how to protect artists from studios, and drawing up contracts,” Arango says. “I just absolutely fell in love with it.”

He began studying at the IU Maurer School of Law in 2012, focusing on the entertainment industry.

After graduating, and after seven years at IU, the El Centro, California, native didn’t plan on staying in Bloomington. He worked for a year at a law firm in Indianapolis, but then Arango found an opportunity he couldn’t pass up.

“While looking for jobs geared toward entertainment law, by chance I found that Maurer was looking for a new intellectual property fellow, which is exactly what I wanted,” Arango says.

And then, last summer, life threw Arango another interesting opportunity. After seeing one of his cakes on social media, his cousin encouraged him to audition for the first season of Telemundo’s MasterChef Latino. Arango spent more than two weeks in Miami for the competition.

“I guess baking has been the through-line in my life,” Arango says. “It started as something I did with my mother and grandmother in the kitchen, and since then it’s been my go-to thing to de-stress. But I never thought it would be anything more than a hobby.”

Although he didn’t make it past the first round, Arango says baking will always be one of his passions. And knowing that planning for the future means being prepared to change trajectory, Arango says he’s leaving his options open.

“Baking as a career was always a pipe dream, especially now that I love what I do as a law fellow,” Arango says. “But opening a small café or bakery has always been in the back of my mind. So, maybe someday.”