My Journey to BI: from Mexico to Norway

Name: Guillermo Arturo Ibarra Valdez

Degree programme: Master of Science in Quantitative Finance

Undergraduate Degree:  Financial Management

Undergraduate University: Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores Monterrey

Hometown: México City

Citizenship: México

Motivation

I first heard about BI Norwegian Business School at QS fair in Mexico City; after that I made my research and found that it is one of the top business schools in Scandinavian area.

I decided to go to BI because I find a quite interesting program which appeared to be challenging and complementary for my career. In addition, I had never had the opportunity to visit any of the Scandinavian countries before but had read so much about their strong economies and equalitarian societies, therefore I found BI as an attractive alternative not only to develop myself in the financial area, but also to understand the way other economies and societies work.

I believe this will help my career by providing me with specific knowledge about finance. BI and my program are very challenging and are bringing out the best of me. I am developing (and remembering) skills that go beyond theorical knowledge and that add a lot of value to my profile.

Academic Experience

The best piece of advice I can give to a new student about my programme is that if she/he is looking for challenging and specific program related to finance this is the right option. Yes, it is true that it might be more difficult than other programs, but surely the reward will be higher. My mother always say “if things were easy, everybody would do them”. So I definitely think that this program is not for everybody, but only for those who are willing to develop a unique and highly competitive profile.  

I have been challenged by the school in a sense that I have had to adapt to the “student life”. After working for 5 years, getting back to the student life has been quite an adventure. Starting from assisting to classes, taking notes, studying on my own, preparing for exams, turning in homework, presenting exams, etc. All of these require special effort and of course time management skills; it has been challenging since there is no formula for being successful at school and getting good marks, it is about trial and error; while some studying techniques might work, others may not. Sometimes you must decide to stay at school instead of going back home to have lunch because you know that when you are back home, your efficiency can drop…or not; they are not difficult decisions, but at the end, the sum of the small decisions that can make different results.

International Experience

The biggest culture shock for me moving here was taco Friday! Can someone explain me why there is some Norwegian people getting together to eat tacos (not 100% Mexican, but tacos at the end)? I have to say that there are many different cultural things going on in here, but as a Mexican guy this shocked me a lot. I was not expecting to have so many Mexican restaurants in the city, nor being able to buy Mexican food, not even fresh avocados or guacamole kits (you can find in the supermarket boxes with everything you need to prepare your own guacamole!). There is even a place called “La Cantina”, where they serve tortilla chips, guacamole and Mexican michelada (beer prepared with lemon & salt). Good shock? … probably not when you see the prices…

The most remarkable experience I have had so far is sunset at 4:00 P.M.; wait, is it getting worse? I think at some point we will have only 5 hours of light, and I say light because some days is so hard to see the sun… I think my skin will get lighter soon.   

The one thing you absolutely must do while living here is enjoy every single day. Whether is sunny or cloudy, warm or cold, raining or snowing. There is no single day equal to the next one. Embrace the winter and love nature.

The scariest thing about moving away from home was moving out from comfort zone and jumping into the unknown. There is always an opportunity cost when making decisions and at the beginning I couldn’t stop thinking about all the things that would be lost if I moved to Norway. However, at some point I understood that the regret of not taking the opportunity will be a heavy load in my mind that could stay with me for the rest of my life; I decided not to carry that load, I took the risk and decided to go north!

Reflections

The most remarkable/interesting thing I learned about myself at BI so far is that sometimes I can be my biggest enemy, but also my biggest ally. That my mind is so powerful that can change the way I feel, or the way I see things. That sometimes there are things that we cannot control so we must let them go. I have learned also that failing big is part of success and that success is just a small lot of things done well.

My career goal is to go back to my country and apply all the knowledge and all my experience to contribute somehow with Mexico’s development. I understand how lucky I am to be in this place and in this precise moment; keeping everything for myself would be useless. Therefore, I’m willing to share knowledge and inspire people to keep on developing themselves.

Guillermo Arturo Ibarra Valdez started the Master of Science in Quantitative Finance programme in August 2018. To find out more about the programme, go to www.bi.edu or email myfuture@bi.no.

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