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Discovering the Future in Shanghai

Discovering myself
If I have to define my life in one word, it would be ‘discovering’. I come from Chile, a very narrow and large country located at the bottom of the world. In the north you can find the most arid desert on the planet, and in the very south you find lush forests, icebergs and beautiful lakes. I am from the middle, a very small town named Los Andes, located close to a mountain of the same name and Santiago, the capital. My grandmother, with enormous effort and little resources, built a small family business, a restaurant where I developed a passion for cooking. I had the privilege to go to a private school and from then I started to discover myself. First, it was sports, I did all sort of sports with a ball. In the end, I stuck with basketball where my height and agility were my main competitive advantages. In high school I discovered my spirit of social awareness. I was the president of the student union where I ran several projects to improve not only students’ lives but also those of vulnerable people in society. I feel that during this time I started to develop my ability to lead and build relationships with people.

 
Torres de Paine, South Chile; Atacama Desert, North Chile

Discovering my career
Later I studied industrial engineering. I kept playing basketball and developing my social abilities as the communication director of the student union. I graduated from university with great experiences, friends, and a desire to make an impact, and then I went to work for the government of Chile. I led a programme to help vulnerable youth find stable and well-paid work, managed remote teams in 25 technology centres throughout Chile, and implemented 32 new centres. It was a very fulfilling experience.

 

Discovering the world
When I was at university I went to Spain for an exchange where I got a feel for how it was to live in a very different society, sharing with people from different cultures, and making friends from all over the world. I also discovered many new cities in Europe, their rich history and architecture. Partly as a result of this I decided to work for an airline company – the benefits of free flight tickets would allow me to continue to discover the world. After travelling around Chile, Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe, and meeting very challenging professional goals, I decided it was time to continue to learn. I decided to go and live in the UK to improve my English language skills and pursue a Master’s in Technology Entrepreneurship at University College London. After my gaining masters, my wife, myself and two of our best friends, spent five months travelling around Asia. This was my first encounter with a very exciting and dynamic new world.

 

Discovering my strengths and weaknesses
After returning to Chile, I joined one of the largest commercial real estate companies in Latin America. I enjoyed having a large team and travelling around Latin America for work. However, I felt that being in a back-office position meant I did not get to make strategic decisions. Also, when I looked at the big picture and saw that all the corporate directors had MBAs from prestigious international business schools, I realised it was time to do something.

Moreover, in a highly connected and fast-moving world it is necessary to learn about the global economy and to have international business experience. So, I decided to go overseas again and continue to discover. For me, the best way to do this was to pursue an MBA abroad. It was not an easy decision. I was well above the average age of MBA students and planning to start a family with my wife. Also, leaving everything behind was a risky decision. It is hard to leave a good and stable job and family and friends, but in the end for me, this is what life is about, making difficult decisions to gain new experiences that will change your life forever.

 

Discovering the future in a new world
With the decision to live abroad taken, we decided to come to China, one of the most exciting places on earth. As a key trade partner for Chile, the Chinese presence in Latin America is growing every year, so this was an opportunity for me to become a bridge between these two distant worlds. So far, it has been a great decision. Shanghai is an exciting city, it has almost twice the population of my home country, and everything works perfectly. It is a very modern and well-connected city with new challenges, and it is where I will discover fatherhood – my first child is on the way.


Mandarin Classmates, Practicing at a Local Restaurant

This city is also where my journey at CEIBS started – one of the most prestigious business schools in the world, ranked number 1 in Asia with its unique mix of "China Depth” and “Global Breadth". You can find this mix every day in the classroom, and I have had the opportunity to work with many brilliant students from China and the rest of the world. World-class professors teach you not only popular and common company cases taught in other top business schools but also those unique to China and Asia.


Term 2 - Section 2

One of the greatest discoveries for me was a module on “The Globalisation of Chinese Companies” which required reading a book on the subject, and several Chinese company cases written by CEIBS professors. We then travelled as a group of 30 students to Nanjing for a week to visit the companies involved in the cases and get a real-life learning experience by speaking with the management on how they overcome the issues.

 
Nanjing Module, Company Visit; Corporate Finance Presentation

The school is also a place to rediscover and reinvent yourself. It offers many activities to discover your career interests and to get all the necessary skills to achieve your goals. There are over 16 clubs that organise various industry specific events. The Career Service Department organises recruitment fairs with top companies and provides mentors in the form of an experienced CEIBS alumnus.


Hosting Chilean Barbecue for my Classmates

There are many opportunities for networking and making new friends. MBA students are divided into three sections which rotate each term, so everyone in the cohort can meet. Recently, we had Shanghai Night, a party on a boat on the Huangpu River which was incredible. I have also organized Chilean barbecues for my friends from school.


With the missus at Shanghai Night

All this is only the beginning – we are just finishing the second term and there are still many more new things to come. Every day in China, every day in Shanghai, every day in CEIBS is a new opportunity to learn new things, to make new friends, to have new experiences, and most importantly, to rediscover and reinvent yourself.


Participating in the Football Tournament at Sunny Cup