I grew up in the Basque Country, a beautiful region in northern Spain where, since very little, I was in contact with different languages and cultures, Spanish and Basque. That is probably why I always had a strong desire to become international.
I traveled abroad for the first time in 1997 on a high school exchange to Australia with a government scholarship. Things were different in Spain and Australia but not necessarily better or worse. For example, Australians valued friendship while family links were by far more important in Spain. In Australia, I learnt that being international is about open-mindedness.
I used to live with my parents until I went on an exchange to Germany in 2002, as part of the telecommunication engineering program I studied in Spain. In Germany, I started living on my own, sharing my apartment with international students, managing my own money… Being international made me become an adult.
In 2004, my passion for new challenges took me to France, a culturally appealing but completely unknown country for me. In France, I worked for France Telecom, launched a Research & Development project that was funded by the European Union, and was recognized as an engineer. On the other hand, being one of the first non-French citizens to obtain a sponsorship from the French Government, which allowed me to work in Hong Kong, was an important accomplishment for me because it represented my success at becoming truly integrated in France. Being integrated is just another side of being international.
In Hong Kong (2006-2008), I defined the first global Information Technology strategic plan for around sixty subsidiaries of a French tap water multinational company in Asia-Pacific. I convinced senior managers from different countries and cultures to resolve Asian region-wide issues. I learnt to understand their ways of thinking, agendas and feelings and guided them gently, with no formal authority, so that they found their own reasons to work together. Being international is about leadership but not about authority.
Learning Mandarin is an important personal project for me. I spent three holidays in Beijing taking a 3-week intensive Mandarin training each time. But my chances of practicing Mandarin back in Hong Kong were limited because Hong Kong people speak Cantonese. I was discouraged but did not give up. When I moved to Shenzhen (China) in 2008, I finally was able to talk in Mandarin with everybody in the office. Learning mandarin, I have found may obstacles but I have learnt that being international is also about making efforts.
I am currently an MBA student at Chicago Booth (2009-11). With its six Nobel prizes, Chicago Booth is probably the most intellectual school in the world and this is something I feel in the classroom. At Chicago Booth, being international is about generating ideas that change the world.
Finally, as someone who has greatly benefited from receiving a number of scholarships in different countries, I hope to contribute to others. Being international is about giving back…and this blog helps me to organize my ideas about applying my international know-how to business and society.
Globthink is a personal blog of an MBA student at Chicago Booth. As I explain in my profile, my whole life has been determined by my aspiration to become international. For the last 7 years, I have been living out of my home country, Spain, and have had many enriching experiences that have shaped my personality. I consider myself an international person. I have what w
e could call an “international asset”, my international experience, which I would like to apply to something: something useful to others and something that I can live on (because I need to live). But the question is: How? Where? With whom? When? Why? This is what this blog is about.
I would like to discuss the vision, mission and values of this blog.
A world in which people from different cultures and countries live, understand and collaborate with each other in fair terms and for the common benefit.
To explore and share ways in which an international mindset can be applied to business and society and set these idea
s in motion.
- Open-mindedness: Being international is about accepting other points of view and about forgetting about stereotypes.
- Integration: Being international is about being integrated in your country as well as in other countries. Being international is not refusing where you come from.
- Leadership without Authority: Being international is about leading people from different cultures and countries. This leadership is based on motivation, inspiration and empowerment but not based on authority. It is not about becoming a planetary dictator.
- Effort: Being international takes efforts. It is not easy. It is not just about having fun. You need to dedicate time and efforts to be able to understand other peoples and cultures
- Idealism: Being international is about generating and implementing ideas that change the world. You really need to be an idealist and an intellectual person.
- Generosity: Being intellectual is about giving back to society. It is about doing something for others.