Gerardo Arteaga (El Salvador) – Beedie School of Business

 

What led you from El Salvador to an MBA abroad?

I decided that I needed something to develop my professional skills. I felt a little bit stuck in my career, and I decided that something I really want to do is an MBA. It was not a decision just by myself – with my wife we were talking about doing it together and it was an idea that we really liked. 

We studied together in our undergraduate years, we were in the same career, the same schedule, so in the end that was something that we really wanted to repeat. We decided to study together and pursue an MBA outside of El Salvador. (02:31)

You ended up studying at the Beedie School of Business in Vancouver, Canada. What’s so special about Vancouver?

It’s like a combination of city and nature (04:44). Right now we’re living in a city that is super secure. It’s very different from El Salvador. In El Salvador, the crime and security situation is a little bit different. We are living very peacefully here and it’s better. Now we think that the decision we took was definitely worth it. (05:13)

Why did you take the life decision to leave El Salvador and do an MBA in Canada with your wife?

It was not an easy decision to make because both of us had secure jobs in El Salvador. However, we wanted to develop our skills more, and unfortunately in El Salvador job opportunities are not as many as you might think. We felt a little bit stuck; we wanted to keep developing, to have better challenges. At that moment we felt like we were in a monotonous situation where we were practically repeating everything we did last year. In the end, we thought we have to do something to change this situation. (05:45)

Was the investment worth it?

SFU had all of the things that we were looking for. It was an MBA that was really good, that would support us after the MBA, and was affordable. This evaluation of different universities and finding the one that was suitable for us helped us to pursue an MBA. After knowing how much we would have to invest, that’s when we said we have to make some sacrifices, we have to start saving, not going out too much. (09:04)

However, we always had this goal in our mind: to get a full-time job in Vancouver. In August we finished the academic part of the course and now both of us are doing our own internship. We are earning even more than we would earn in El Salvador in a full-time position. So even in an internship, the results are really good. Hopefully, when I finish this internship and I have a full-time position our future will be better. It’s a long process that doesn’t happen overnight, it’s a lot of hard work but I think pursuing an MBA is worth it. (10:18)

How did SFU Beedie assist you in your post-MBA career?

I started to look for an internship a little bit before we finished our MBA. I took a bit more than a month to find a position as a business analyst. The university helped me a lot with the career management center and I also had a lot of interviews that were possible because of the networking that I did before [the end of the MBA]. (14:20)

I’m very happy [with the internship] because I’m starting to learn new skills for my career and I think it will be really beneficial for us. It will complement the background that I already have. Hopefully, I can stay here or even bring those skills to another position. I’m pretty happy about it! (15:25)

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