Patricio Cofre is a current MEM student who brings a unique perspective to the program as an entrepreneur from Chile. Patricio’s education is sponsored by the national government through Becas Chile (Scholarship Chile), part of the national strategic plan emphasizing education and innovation in order to increase productivity and entrepreneurship in the country. In the following post he discusses what it’s like to be an international student and an entrepreneur in a program primarily made up of Americans working for well-established corporations.
Unlike most of my classmates, I come from a small company in a relatively small country. Six years ago my business partner and I started Metric Arts, a business intelligence consulting company that helps major retailers and financial institutions in Chile improve their business decisions using databases. As the company expanded and developed strong technical processes, we decided it was time to focus on our management and our goal of internationalization. I chose the MEM program because it allowed me to learn the necessary management skills while experiencing my first exposure to the business culture in another country.
Since Chile is a relatively small country, it is not easy to find diverse experiences. The diversity that I find here in the United States is greater than any I have experienced ever before, in terms of countries, cultures, industries, ideals, and more. Also the variety of engineering majors in Chile is not as extensive as here, so it is great to share experiences with other engineers from very different fields than mine and that I have never been exposed to before.
In addition to my classmates, working with experienced professors to develop my management skills has also been important to my education. In Chile, our company is young and growing, so every piece of experience we gather from the professor’s and classmates will be incredibly useful to our clients. When I return to Chile, I have extensive plans to use everything I have learned in the MEM program. As an entrepreneur, I hope to keep the company growing and to become a rich source of job opportunities for engineers in Chile and Latin America
Although my education is particularly useful as an entrepreneur in Chile, any entrepreneur could benefit from the MEM program. The IT fields in the United States and South America are growing and currently, the critical need for more professionals is not being met. As companies collect enormous amounts of data, they need consulting firms to help evaluate complex data sets and take strategic advantage of the information. I want to offer the knowledge and experience learned here to new generations of engineers and entrepreneurs and help fill the demands for consulting needs that develop in the United States and Chile in the near future.