In this article Ignacio Hurtado, alumnus of the Master of International Business Administration year 2010-2011 tells us how the MIBA he took at the Universidad Carlos III of Madrid contributed to his international vocation and also to open opportunities in his career. Currently, Ignacio is a Retail Account Manager for Google at their San Francisco offices in the United States.
“This story begins in 2009; that January, like all the students in my year, I was working hard, studying for the last leg of my course, which would come to an end in a few months. Opening up before me was a vast horizon of opportunities and alternatives; that was positive and stimulating, of course, but at the same time the breadth of the spectrum meant I had to do something quite scary, take a big step: choose a career path.
Among the possibilities I was considering at the time were, among others: entering the job market, going abroad again to gain experience overseas or taking a master’s degree / specialization.
One day I stopped to think about it seriously, and I asked myself this: What is it that I really like doing, and would like to do for the next few years? The question came up because I felt that I had taken courses in Business Administration and Management at the UC3M which would be an excellent foundation for working in the world of business but which, at the same time, seemed too general. It was as though I knew a little about everything, but not a great deal about anything in particular. So I racked my brains and tried to identify the things which had motivated me up to that point and those which had particularly interested me.
An international vocation
In my particular case, the things which stood out were my trips abroad, my international experience in the USA and Belgium (on exchanges and then one year on the Erasmus programme, respectively); the interest I had in different cultures and my passion for languages. In parallel, I realised that from the academic viewpoint the subjects which had most interested me had been those related to international marketing, international business management, foreign trade, the accounting systems of different countries, and so on.
I developed academically by understanding the world as a global market, with a tendency to bring down barriers, and ready to be filled with products and companies designed to establish themselves and be distributed worldwide.
So now I was beginning to have a clearer idea of what motivated me and, above all, which path would allow me to combine my personal interests with the world of business.
Business conclusions from the economic crisis
In addition to the two factors mentioned above (personal and academic motivations), there was a third, of equal importance. I graduated in 2009, as I said, and at that time my country, Spain, was mired in one of the worst economic crises in its history. On the positive side, there was a useful lesson to be learned from the crisis: it taught many companies that they cannot afford to rely on domestic demand alone; if they are to grow they must break into emerging foreign markets and seize opportunities. In fact, this is reflected in the Spanish balance of trade, which has been progressively reducing its dependence on imports and their weight in favour of the exportation of goods and services.
In short, inside enterprises and companies, export departments were gaining influence, and the race for internationalization was on. Besides the other two factors, this was the final spur which made me opt for specializing in International Business Administration.
Master’s Degree at Carlos III, the best decision
The Master’s (MIBA) was great and I can truthfully say it was exactly what I was looking for. Each subject offered had an international orientation which made it extremely relevant. International marketing, international business management, operations management, finance and accounting as well as numerous seminars (many of which focused on particular regions) and a wonderful end of course project involving the internationalization of a real company. Mine analyzed the possibilities of exporting Spanish wine to India and olive oil to the Middle East for a Spanish winery and olive oil producer.
If I was asked to define the MIBA in a few words, I would define it as the Master’s Degree which gave me all the academic and technical tools I needed to move with ease and savoir faire in international markets right from the start.
As soon as I had finished my MIBA I sat the Madrid Chamber of Commerce exams and went to Casablanca, where I worked in the Spanish Chamber of Commerce and the Commercial Office. During that year I was able to observe and apply, in situ, absolutely everything I had studied on the course, while helping Spanish companies to take the first steps towards exporting to Morocco. I stayed in Casablanca for another year, managing international projects for clients in our neighbouring country on an independent basis.
In 2012 I was given the opportunity to join Google, the technology giant, and worked at their European headquarters in Dublin for two years. At Google Dublin, among other things, I was developing strategic online advertising tools geared towards the internationalization of Spanish and European SMEs, allowing them to make the most of the solutions offered them by the new technologies. Currently I am working in San Francisco, United States, helping publishers to monetize their online content using Google’s solutions.
But Google is a global company and, like any other, as well as growing through the development of new products, grows through the development of new markets (e.g. the Latin American market, which is currently showing high rates of growth) as do the majority of SMEs.
Thanks to the knowledge I acquired on the MIBA, I have a “chip” in my head which allows me to spot these opportunities and pursue them.
I would encourage everyone to think about their motivations in life, about what interests them and where they see themselves working in a few years’ time, as I believe this is the best way to find one’s way forwards. If internationalization and all that it encompasses (making a business grow, prospecting, travelling and exploring, working with different cultures, speaking other languages) is something which motivates you and you are looking for a path which lets you study this and specialize in an area of high growth and increasing importance within organizations, the MIBA is certainly the best option I can recommend from personal experience.
Ignacio Hurtado, Account Manager Retail, Google. San Francisco, EEUU