We met up with International MBA alumnus Iván Alvarez Holmann in his home country of Nicaragua. Iván attended university in the United States, where he also began his professional career. After completing his International MBA in Europe, Iván returned to Nicaragua to join the Mercon Coffee Group as Business Development Manager. The MBA helped Iván reach his professional goals by obtaining a management position that allows him to carry out business development in Vietnam and the United States.
What has the MBA meant to you?
Mainly, the MBA has represented a broadening of my comfort zone. Both in the Residential Training Centre and in the classroom, I was continuously placed in somewhat uncomfortable situations that not only challenged me, but more importantly, helped me gain confidence and assertiveness. This simulates what I face in the real world and I can honestly say that I am now much more comfortable in these situations.
The MBA also meant building a new and diverse family. The people I met in this MBA not only made me a better and more well-rounded person in the classroom, but we also shared amazing memories outside of class. I was amazed how quickly you can form long-lasting relationships; I will consider many of my classmates as part of my family forever.
Lastly, the MBA has meant a year of growth. Growth in perspective, growth in experiences, and obviously growth in overall business acumen.
How has the MBA helped you in your career?
As expected, the MBA opened doors for me professionally. I had held important positions before the MBA and had acquired what I considered “good” work experience. Nevertheless, I felt that there was still a ceiling preventing me from attaining senior management positions. Thankfully, the MBA allowed me to achieve this and I am currently Business Development Manager for a multinational company, overseeing new business opportunities from Vietnam to the United States.
The MBA also deepened my knowledge in all the areas and functions of a business, and most importantly, gave me the techniques and a considerable competitive advantage related to finance, business valuation and strategy, which has helped me in my new position. Just a few weeks into my new job, I have already impressed some of my bosses with some of the techniques learned in the MBA’s Structured Finance Path of Development (PoD).
What would you highlight about the MBA?
The Structured Finance Path of Development. It’s an intense specialisation, but I learned more in this PoD than I had in any of my previous courses. The techniques gained are vital and give you a strong competitive advantage when you get back to work. It definitely raised my professional competence level, which made all the work worthwhile.The diversity of the class, in terms of both cultural and professional backgrounds, it was amazing getting to know and learning from so many different perspectives and types of people. I met some of the craziest and smartest people in this MBA. Also, there is no better city to do an MBA than in Barcelona.
What makes EADA’s MBA different?
The smaller class size allows more personalised, one-on-one learning. It also allows you to build stronger relationships with more people. Every time we went out, it was difficult finding a space that could hold us because we were always such a big group. In other MBAs with larger class sizes, students tend to divide into smaller sub-groups, instead of maintaining the one big family like in EADA.
The Residential Training Centre is also an interesting component of the MBA. You get to do activities that disconnect you from the regular classroom environment and bring the class together since you are away from the city for days at a time.
The opportunity to specialise in a specific PoD at the end of the MBA was a great experience and, for me, the Structured Finance PoD made the MBA well worth it. In terms of value for money, EADA is unbeatable. You have a strong academic programme that is similar to other top-ranked MBAs, but at a lower cost.
The city of Barcelona complements the whole MBA experience. It is a relatively inexpensive city tmnio live in, with practically everything within walking distance. All I can say is: I love Barcelona.
What have you learnt from your MBA that you apply on a daily basis?
I am going to repeat myself a bit here. Being comfortable in all types of uncomfortable or challenging situations. Being confident and assertive with my opinions and my decisions.
The importance of keeping things simple when explaining things. Many professors always emphasised this, though I didn’t realise how truly important it was until about halfway through the MBA. Your message loses effectiveness and credibility when it is overcomplicated by too many explanations. Learning to argue your position in a clear and concise way is vital in the business world.
Learning to see and analyse problems and situations from different perspectives. There is never one correct solution for a problem, but rather several plausible solutions. I am sure that in an MBA the most common answer is “it depends”; it depends on the situation and how well you can defend your argument and logic.
Which was the most unforgettable moment during your time at EADA?
The whole year was basically one big special moment. It’s hard to pick one moment as the most rewarding. It is basically a combination of everything. The people you meet, the trips and experiences you share, the challenges you face, the knowledge you gain, and, of course, coming out of it all with my dream job, made my entire year in Barcelona extremely rewarding.
Define EADA in three words
Diverse, growing and rewarding.