Where are you from?
I am from Peru and have lived there all my life. It's my first time abroad studying.
You say that one of your hobbies is ballet dancing. How did you get involved in ballet dancing?
I started when I was 4 or 5. I liked the presentations on TV and my mum said that I started to do some steps and that's how I started. I had to stop my hobby when I entered university because of the time. Ballet was very demanding. I preferred to go to university but when I have the opportunity I try to go to the theatre. I decided to go to university because in Peru, it's not possible to have a good quality of as a ballerina.
You did an industrial engineering degree. What does that involve?
In Peru, we don't have so much industry, so when I started my course it was restructured to make people able to work in industry and services. In Peru banks prefer people with a background IN engineering because they think mathematical skills [...] are good for banking.
Why did you choose ESMT?
When I took my GMAT test I received an invitation from ESMT. From the information that they offered I really liked the structure of the programme, the emphasis on leadership [and the opportunity] to continue growing. It's a 1 yr program and you don't need to disconnect yourself from work and they offered a scholarship for women. The MBA was in English which was very important to my decision.
Did you find the GMAT difficult?
The mathematics aspect was not that difficult [because] I'm an engineer. The verbal part was not so easy I had to take some time to prepare for the exam.
Are MBAs popular in South America? Is it normal for MBA students to study outside of the South America?
Yes. With time it's more popular. Ten years ago the most important universities started to create MBA programs. Taking the MBA abroad gives you more opportunities whether you want to work abroad or return to your country. Most people look for a MBA in Europe or the US. I'm not sure of prices in South America but sometimes it's cheaper to take a MBA in Europe than in Peru. The program in some cases is cheaper in Europe because it is only a 1 year program.
You've worked in a male dominated industry; do you think the culture of machismo still exists in South American business culture?
I think there is still some machismo in Peru. Sometimes you can see that in companies. The management roles are generally assigned to men. It's changing little by little in Peru but in general the trend is that it is still difficult for women than men, especially if you want to study degrees such as engineering.
What has been the highlight of your course so far?
I'm a person for whom it is real difficult to talk in front of people. My class has 41 people and I now feel happy to participate but before this was difficult. I feel that I am working a lot and improving that way. I really like the dynamic of the classes and working in groups is very good. You can improve your communicative skills, which is something you need in the future.
What do you plan to do after you graduate?
It's highly probable that I'll return to Peru. I'm on leave of absence from my work in Peru I feel I have good opportunities. Probably I'll receive a promotion and more responsibilities will be involved.
What advice would you give to students from Peru who want to study abroad?
Don't worry about the language. [...] People think they need to speak German to study here. I'm here and I don't speak any German. I also recommend it because sometimes people focus on the US and London but they miss some opportunities [when they only focus on those locations].