Carlos Astete LarraínCarlos Astete Larraín is a former Executive MBA student at the Universitat de Barcelona Business School. He is now employed as an expert in training at the law firm Cuatrecases, one of the market leaders in the Iberian Peninsula. Only five months after having started the EMBA, Astete found a job in a tech startup based in Barcelona. In this interview, he speaks about his experience while at the University of Barcelona and his later professional life.

In which way has the Executive MBA at the UB Business School contributed to your professional career?
It has been an adventure that has paid off. Only five months after starting my courses and having come from Chile I found a job in a tech startup based in Barcelona. There I took on responsibilities completely different to what I was accustomed, such as assessing forecasts for investment rounds, digital marketing tasks and daily efforts to understand the programming language. It was a great experience, which dragged me out of my comfort zone and helped me to learn a lot about more strategic positions. I could not have opened this door without the EMBA. I have taken up again my career as a development and training professional again, but with a very different perspective.

Does the knowledge acquired in the Executive MBA have a practical application in your current job?
In every sense. On one hand, it provided me understanding about my role in the organization. On the other hand, it have me a set of tools that I can use in my daily life, including staff management abilities, collaborative work, innovation, social responsibility and even financial and marketing tools, which are very useful even if someone does not work in these areas.

Do you think that you would have been offered your current position without the Executive MBA?
It is difficult to say. However, I do not think so. The Executive MBA gave me a new perspective and knowledge that make me stand out from other professionals in my area of expertise.  However, that is not enough. You need to translate knowledge into action, test yourself and keep up, because the world is changing very fast.

Why did you choose the University of Barcelona to study and MBA?
I think that organisations order have to improve people’s life and change the world. The University of Barcelona encompasses the right mixture of social commitment and the academic rigor that I was looking for.

Do you think that an MBA gives access to positions of more responsibility?
An MBA could improve your personal branding substantially. However, if you do not put your knowledge into practice, it will not guarantee your medium and long term success. I think that today MBAs are questioned because many people enrolled just to improve their social status, but did not generate a positive impact on their surroundings.

Please share with us one of your favourite memories of the time when you were at the UB Business School.
All the memories that come to my mind are situations where I shared experiences with my colleagues, all from different countries. At the University of Barcelona you connect with people that are very different from you, which makes you grow as a person. You develop a sort of cultural empathy. Those walks after class and that complicity while you work with your team until late in the night are things that I had not experienced since my previous period of study at university.

What are you short and long term professional goals?
We live in a fast-changing world and we cannot speak of long term goals anymore. However, I do have a vision. I want to consolidate my career in Barcelona and develop projects in the academic and consulting world.

Do you plan to study anything else in the near future?
Yes. I am interested in fields such as cognition, social learning and new technologies.