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I am president of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). I run the largest regional development bank in the world with over 3,000 professionals who work daily to improve the lives of citizens in Latin American and the Caribbean.
Thunderbird is one of those schools that simply attracts certain kinds of people: those who are willing to explore the world beyond their borders while aiming to receive the best international business education. I knew since the beginning that I wanted to be part of such community.
I have had leadership positions both in the private and public sectors—from being a senior advisor at one of the most important private conglomerates in Colombia to Minister of Economic Development, Ambassador to the US and, more recently, President of the IDB. The education I received and network I built at Thunderbird has always been prevalent in all of my activities. Thunderbird was the enabler to walk beyond unknown territories.
Thunderbird, in many ways, gives you both a personal and professional formation. I gained a number of skills that I have used throughout my personal life such as in dealing with unknown circumstances or people. The education you receive is not solely based on the classes you take; it is also a combination of experiences that make you grow as a human being.
It is a mindset. Thunderbird is not for just anyone. It is a school for those willing to push boundaries toward the common good. It is a foundation for life that enables you to perform in many different positions and locations. But above all, Thunderbird is an education based on ethical principles in which one learns that the world cannot continue growing without caring for others. In the case of business, this means “shared-value.”
You are extremely privileged for having such a far-reaching education. Don’t base success on compensation or on other material things that can simply vanish from day to night. Be mindful of others, always keep learning and treat people with respect. The education you just received is the launch pad to explore a world of endless opportunities. Take advantage of them and always try to give back to society.
The fact that you are simply considering the school says something unique about you. This school is not for everyone. Talk to fellow T-birds and the staff and, if you have the opportunity, go visit the campus. You will very rapidly know if Thunderbird is your home.