Born and bred in Madrid, Enrique Serrano Muñoz is a senior consultant for KPMG in Spain. It’s been his calling for the past four years, during which time he’s augmented his skillset with two master’s degrees in big data and business analytics.
Now, he’s ready to take his professional career to the next step. To gain more experience an MBA is the logical choice. And he has his eyes set on going abroad.
Enrique’s parents’ generation, he says, didn’t have the opportunity to travel as easily as his. He explains that their encouragement to explore and continually develop has led him to where he is today.
“Both my parents and my brother are my role-models, as they always encouraged me to go abroad in order to keep growing both personally and professionally,” he says.
That development makes him think about the possibilities after the MBA. On the one hand, he says he would continue his path into consulting as he loves helping people and companies grow and perform in a better way.
On the other, he would take advantage of his business analytics and acquired knowledge to jump into a new adventure.
Enrique is keen to go abroad for his MBA to get more international experience, to expand his network, and to discover new industries. It’s the only way, in his eyes, to develop as a professional.
Learning to adapt
Speaking at the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) MBA bootcamp—a week-long event at the beginning of July for prospective MBA students to get a sample of life in China, attend lectures, company visits, and network with likeminded peers—Enrique says his eyes have been opened to the benefits of studying far from home.
He was experiencing China for the first time. He was nervous before arriving—you never know what to expect from a country so different from his native Spain, he says. He enjoyed it though, and has seen how moving out of your comfort zone can help you adapt to unfamiliar situations more quickly.
“Asia is incredible. It’s so fast-paced compared to Europe, and that’s really good. On the other hand, you do have to get used to it.
“From a cultural perspective you realize how important it is to be open to other peoples’ beliefs and ways of thinking. All these factors help you create a global mindset.
“You suddenly realize that you are building a new set of skills and a new cultural mindset. Worldwide relationships are the key to this.”
Enrique says an MBA in China is for anyone looking for a career linked to the country. For a management consultant there, learning Mandarin should be on your agenda, as should be working for a Chinese company looking to expand to the US or Europe, or vice versa, he adds.
Diversifying your perspective
While you do get diversity in MBA programs in Spain, studying abroad adds an extra dimension. Being placed in a different environment is tantamount to diversifying your perspective.
The MBA bootcamp at CEIBS was a melting pot of diversity—over 50% of the students were international—giving attendees the chance to learn the ins and outs of multicultural management.
“Being in the bootcamp allowed me to learn that being with people from different cultures and backgrounds is really useful for a consultant or any professional that wants to work in a global market,” he says.
As you get to know about other cultures, he adds, it becomes easier to manage others’ expectations and personalities. All of this turns into stronger relationships. You gain the skills to work cross-culturally and to create global teams.
Working with a plethora of companies over the globe, Enrique adds that it’s key for him to study an MBA outside of Spain and Europe.
“Taking a step forward out of your comfort zone, I think it’s a risk, but I would advise every single person to do it because, even if you fail, it will make you a better person and professional.”
Opening your mind
Staying in Spain, attending lectures in Spain, networking in Spain; you only get to know one thing really well: Spain.
Studying abroad is an opportunity to learn something new; to understand different markets, perspectives and needs.
Enrique explains that the one thing he learned at the bootcamp is that from the culture to business everything in China revolves around the language.
Though Shanghai is open to the world, he adds that learning Mandarin is important for long-term success in China. For those looking to China, he recommends the CEIBS MBA.
“Another thing I’ve learned is that Shanghai is growing really fast. Maybe China is a destination many people don’t think about…yet. Considering China’s pace for the last years, people should keep an eye on what’s going on here,” he says.
“If anyone is thinking about coming to Asia or China, or they’ve been learning Chinese and would like to try working here after pursuing an MBA, CEIBS is a no-brainer.”