In the Full-Time MBA class of 2018-19, eight of our 74 students are from Latin America. Below, we chat to some of these students about why they chose to come from working and living in countries such as Brazil, Panama, Chile and Colombia in order to study in the heart of London at Imperial College Business School.
For Pedro Diaz from Panama, the format of the Full-Time MBA was one of the elements that made him choose to study here.
“First of all I was looking for a one-year programme. I have been working for seven years already, and so going into to a two-year programme would be too much. Then, I considered the focus of the programme,” he said.
When I saw what Imperial offers in terms of innovation and entrepreneurship, that really caught my attention, especially as I was in the development of a new business.
Carolina Napoleao, who is from Brazil, agrees. “I think the entrepreneurship focus is something that caught a lot of people’s attention,” she said.
An international cohort
Carolina chose to study at the Business School because she felt she would get a real international experience here.
“For me, it was about the opportunities I can have after the MBA. I had the opportunity to visit a couple of universities in the states whilst I was applying, and what I realised is that over there you do not have a real international experience. I participated in some classes and the American way is completely different from here. Here I feel that everyone supports each other.”
“Another big advantage of the Imperial MBA is that the cohort is not that big,” said Diego Rodriguez Benitez, who is from Colombia. “We get to experience and live with people from all different backgrounds, but in a close way, because we are not that big.”
“I think this enhances the whole experience, as you’re not only getting the classes from the professors, but the experiences of your classmates.”
“One of the important things to consider is the tuition fees you have to pay,” said Diego.
“There is no comparison between what you pay here in Europe or in London and what you will pay at the traditional universities in the US.”
For me it is a good return on investment, because you get to study on a very well positioned and top-tier MBA programme, whilst paying almost half of what you would have paid in the US. That’s one of the biggest advantages I saw when I was looking for my MBA programme.
London as a location
Michael Stewart came from Chile to study in London, and said the location was very important for him.
“The city was as important as the university in terms of opportunities, not just for studying the MBA but for doing all the other things that come with it. In London, if you want to work in consumer products and retail like I do, you have every brand in the world, it is a massive market for that.”
Luis Saad, from Colombia, said that he considered the cultural aspect when deciding where to study. “I also considered the cultural richness that England possessed. I am a traditional person and I like to visit museums and that aspect of London, so it is a great location.”
‘The gateway to Europe’
Luis says he was looking beyond his MBA whilst deciding where to study.
“It was a decision I took after considering not only my experience while I was studying the MBA, but also the doors that will be opened after I finish studying.”
I thought that studying in the USA would give an American experience, but the post-study experience will be the same whether you are starting on the east or west coast. But if I came to study in London, I knew I would have the opportunity to work in Europe after graduating, which will be a very different experience when looking for a job.
Michael agreed: “It is also the doorway to Europe, meaning you can work in many different countries.”
“Another one of the big advantages I saw when I was looking for my MBA programme is that you get first hand contact to the most important financial institutions in Europe and also in the world,” added Diego.
Breaking free of the comfort zone
“I am sure that if I went to the US, it would have been easier to feel like I fitted in to the culture than it was coming to England,” concluded Cristian Hargous, who is from Chile. “I think pushing out of my comfort zone was one of my reasons to come here.”
Name: Luis Saad
Luis studied Business Administration, and his last position was within public water supply and sanitation utility company in Colombia where he worked as a financial analyst. After his MBA, he is considering working in corporate finance in the UK or in Europe.
Name: Pedro Diaz
Pedro graduated with a degree in Economics, and worked in the telecoms industry for around six years. A year and a half ago he changed industries to the healthcare sector which is where he started his own company. He is here at Imperial to gather as much knowledge as he can, and plans on going into an internship in the UK, and then going back to his company and bringing everything he has learnt.
Name: Carolina Napoleao
Carolina graduated as a mechanical industrial engineer, and started to work in Brazil. She was then transferred to Chile, where she lived for almost four years. She was working as a Strategic Planning Senior Analyst before starting the MBA, and wants to change career into a more customer-centric industry after graduating, and will probably go to Colombia after completing her studies at the Business School.
Name: Diego Rodriguez Benitez
Diego’s undergraduate degree is in Economics, and he has worked for nearly seven years in risk management at a publicly owned company in Colombia in the financial services industry. Although he doesn’t want to change industry after graduating, he is looking to change positions, and is also considering getting into the consulting industry. He hopes to build experience here in the UK after his internship.
Name: Cristian Hargous
Cristian’s undergraduate degree was in Business Administration. He has almost four years of experience as a strategic consultant at a firm in Chile. Once his MBA studies are finished, he is open to working in the UK, Europe and the US and also in Chile, depending on the opportunities, and is considering a change of industry to the financial sector.
Name: Michael Stewart
Michael studied business, and then for a Master’s degree in marketing. He has almost eight years of experience in different retail and consumer product brands, and wants to continue his career in the same industry, but in a more strategic position, in the UK after graduating.