MBA graduate using technology to drive social impact in Colombia
Juan Francisco Diaz-Torres used his MBA to land a job with the National Spectrum Agency in Colombia, which is aiming to roll out 5G across the country.
Technological developments and the rolling out of 5G technology in the near future offer huge opportunities for developing nations to harness the power of digitization, transforming the business landscape in areas previously untapped by technology.
After an MBA from the University of Bath’s School of Management, Juan Francisco Diaz-Torres landed a job with the National Spectrum Agency in Bogotá, Colombia, a state-run agency responsible for planning, managing, and controlling the radio-electric spectrum in the country, defining the frequencies available for the use of 4G mobile communications, Digital Television (DTV), and soon 5G.
Seeing the rapid change of technology while working as an IT manager for transportation company Frontier Liner Services, based in Miami, Florida, influenced his decision to pursue the Bath MBA.
“As technology evolves you have to understand business from a different perspective, not only from the IT point of view but also from the view of finance, strategy, even marketing and communications,” he says.
“I thought an MBA would be a good opportunity to improve my skills in those areas, and thus continue evolving in my career.”
The Bath MBA gave Juan the chance to return to his native Colombia and put his education into practice, as he actively sought work in the public sector after graduating—“it was an easy transition,” he admits. “I thought it was going to be harder as the economy was not good at the time, [but] I think the MBA made quite a difference in the selection process.”
He cites the Managing Operational Processes module—led by professor Alistair Brandon-Jones—as the stand out experience of his time on The Bath MBA, as the practical methodology and first-hand application of knowledge to business case studies shifted his focus towards operations management upon returning to Colombia.
“Looking at the big picture, and trying to make the whole activity within a company work in unity [is] essential in my new role,” he adds.
The National Spectrum Agency of Colombia is involved in Switzerland with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), where they are discussing how to implement 5G technology in the future.
Juan explains that in Latin America they are the leader in those discussions, as well as in other topics around how to get wireless communication that is faster and more reliable to faraway cities or smaller rural towns in Colombia.
He symbolizes the power of MBAs to enact change in developing, emerging economies, as expanding technology increases interconnectivity between businesses in regions previously shut off from the outside world.
“If you can deliver the Internet of Things (IoT) and technologies to someone who is growing, let’s say soybeans, you can improve how they do that and they can have a better quality of life,” Juan says.
To do so, you have to be able to build relationships with farmers and manage the supply chain process immaculately. On the Bath MBA, the multi-project suite gives students a taste of five different projects throughout the program, so they are immersed in a variety of circumstantial business projects that prepare them for real-life application of their knowledge.
Juan adds that when working with his cohort on team projects he was exposed to a multitude of personalities, industries, and cultures—“in my cohort the average age was higher than other MBAs, and for me that was a big plus because I could actually see from other points of view and experiences the reality of business,” he explains.
Quite a number of that cohort are now working in Colombia, Juan explains, as the MBA is highly-regarded there.
“If you’re coming from abroad, you can find jobs here in almost any sector you like,” he says. “Most of the people I know here who have done The Bath MBA have transitioned into managerial roles.”
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