Through the International Relations Department, EAE Business School offers its Bachelor Degree students the unique opportunity to gain an international experience on an exchange program and temporary placements abroad with the Erasmus program. The School has partnership agreements in place with more that twenty universities and education institutions around the world.
In this interview, we get a first-hand insight from a student who has opted for such an international experience. We would like to introduce you to Emilio Corpas, a final-year student on the Bachelor Degree in Business Administration and Management at EAE Business School. He has already settled in and started his first semester at the Université du Quebec à Montréal (Canada). Previously, he spent an Erasmus year in Cardiff (United Kingdom) and, as he explains, when he heard about the opportunity to go to Canada, “it became his sole objective”.
While he would rather not predict all the things that he is going to experience over the coming year, he admits that he expects to get good academic training in a country that is a leader at an educational level, as well as “having experiences that I would not have the opportunity to enjoy in Spain”. Of course, getting to know another culture and, even more so, making new friends, are other main reasons for which he advises students to take an exchange program. “All young people have an obligation to discover the world, to have different perspectives on life and get to know new working methods. We should take advantage of opportunities to do so and overcome the obstacle of fear of going abroad”.
Why were you so interested in taking part in this exchange program at the Université du Quebec in Canada?
It all started in the previous academic year, when I was on the Erasmus program in Cardiff (United Kingdom). In mid-December, I decided that it would be a unique opportunity for me to spend another year abroad. With this in mind, I asked for information from EAE, and specifically from the International Mobility Department. When I saw that there was the possibility of going to Canada, it became my sole objective. As we all know, the country is a leader at an educational level. Moreover, I found out about the destination university and discovered that it had an extremely good reputation.
As such, I thought it was a unique opportunity that I couldn’t let slip through my fingers because I would never have such a chance again. I had to try, whatever happened. I really had no other choice!
¿What was the process for getting on the program? What requirements did you have to meet?
In my case, it was a bit tricky. As I had already spent the previous year anterior abroad, the other students who had not had that experience had preference. So, I had to wait until the very last minute to find out whether or not there were any places still available for Canada. Once I had found out that there was still the possibility for me to go and there was still a free place for me, they asked me for a certificate of my language level in French or English, as well as having got the grades required to pass my all courses. Lastly, I had to take an interview with the Dean of EAE Business School, in order to show him my motivation for going somewhere so far away.
What do you hope to gain and learn from this international experience?
After my experience in Cardiff, i think it is better not to have any preconception of what to expect, without making any predictions. When you have and learn from experiences that you could never have imagined, the result is twice as satisfying.
However, I obviously hope to receive good academic tuition in the best possible way. Moreover, first and foremost, I want to have experiences that I would have the chance to enjoy in Spain.
For instance, in this first semester, I have had to pass two tests to enrol in just one course. After working and making a great effort, I was accepted. The course is called Social Entrepreneurship: Sustainable Solutions to Global Challenges. What makes it different is that, at the same time, we work with students from the University of Cincinnati (USA). Over the course of this semester, we have to work on a project with students from that university, focusing on an innovative product in a developing country. In November, we will present it to a panel of judges in Cincinnati. Moreover, we have to put it into practice in real life!
So, if I had to highlight one aspect in particular in terms of what I hope to gain from coming here, it would be the chance to have experiences that I wouldn’t be able to have in Spain. To tell the truth, I am also keen to meet lots of people from different countries and have the best time possible.
How did you settle in when you first got to Canada?
The first few days were a bit stressful and complicated, to be honest! You have to find your feet in the city, find out where the university is, the supermarkets and so on. In addition, the issue of the time difference had a slight impact in the beginning. However, once you get used to the changes, it is an easy city to be in. Montreal is ideal for students. Every day, there is something to do. The concept of boredom just doesn’t exist here!
What will you miss most about Spain over the course of this academic year?
Lots of things! My family and friends, the food, my motorbike and many more things. But I also have lots of things here that I wouldn’t have over there, so that makes up for it.
Turning to the other benefits of this international experience, what impact do you expect it to have on your CV and professional prospects?
I really hope it will have a positive impact! I think will give me access to more opportunities at both a national and international level. I truly believe that it is a unique opportunity that can open up lots of doors for me. I am even sure that getting to know people from different cultures will help me out at a professional level in the future. Moreover, the more experiences I have had, the richer my CV will be, in my opinion.
Is there any option to take an internship or some other type of work experience while you are studying in Canada? If so, would you like to?
Due to the type of visa I have, which is called a study permit, I can only work within the university campus. If I wanted to work in a company outside of the university, I would have to apply for a different type of visa. However, even though I only have this option, I am not ruling out looking for work.
But obviously, during the first semester, I want to focus on my studies and settling into the city. Later on, in the second semester, if I think I can balance both things, I will look for something.
As well as your Erasmus experience, you have also worked in London for MOTUL as an administration manager. What other international experiences have you had? What led you to choose them and what did you learn from each of them?
That’s right, I worked for MOTUL for two months in London. It was an opportunity that came up that I had to grab. They were among the most intense months I can ever remember experiencing. In the positive side, I learned loads of things that I never imagined I would be able to learn.
Above all, I realised how different working is from studying. I learned how procedures work in large companies and all the problems that arise in a multinational. I have to admit that the company treated me really well, which enabled me to spend a week in Paris at the end of my time there, to agree a communication plan for the following campaign, having meetings every day with directors from all of the world in the Communication Department.
As well as my professional experience, one of my passions is discovering the world, travelling and getting to know new cultures and traditions. In this respect, I consider myself very lucky, as I have already had the chance to visit lots of countries: China, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Argentina, Russia, the United States, Turkey, Tahiti and most of Europe. In every country I have been to, I remember unique international experiences that I will never forget. However, I also have to admit that they have sometimes been hard experiences that have taught me a lot and made me more mature.
What do you gain from these experiences at a professional level for the future?
I gained a lot from my last professional experience at both a personal and professional level. You realise that the smallest mistake that you may make can have significant consequences for the company. Therefore, you always have to be operating at 100% whenever you are working, paying attention to the smallest details. It is important not to leave tasks for another day. I would emphasize that being organized is fundamental. I also believe that motivation for what you do is essential, with the belief that every day is different and that you are going to learn something new.
In a world as globalized as ours, does experience in contact with other cultures become a competence with respect to finding a good job?
For instance, it is not the same thing to work on a university project with somebody from your own country as it is to work with somebody from another country or continent. At the end of the day, having experiences like this is a way of learning.
You have to be able to adapt to all situations and, as you mentioned in the question, we live in a globalized world. So, in my opinion, the fact that you have been in contact with other cultures will indeed become a key competence.
Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
To be honest, I don’t know! The truth is that I don’t know if I will be in Spain, although I would love to be. I don’t rule out the option of going abroad to gain professional experience, because that would be fantastic too.
From my point of view, all young people have an obligation to discover the world, to have different perspectives on life and get to know new working methods. We should take advantage of opportunities to do so and overcome the obstacle of fear of going abroad.
However, in the long run, I would really love to live back in Spain. I may know quite a lot of the world but, at the end of the day, there is nowhere like Spain.
I would like to be able to work in a large multinational, dealing with the international world. But I would also like to begin working in a startup or a bank to build a better professional foundation.
Why did you decide to take the Bachelor Degree in Business Administration and Management at EAE Business School?
I grew up in a family that always had strong ties with the business world. As I got older, I realised that it was the area I liked best and was most interested in. Luckily, I don’t regret having chosen this Bachelor Degree in any way.
Apart from the option of the exchange program, what other aspects of your education at the School would you highlight?
The School has given me tuition that has helped me become more competent and efficient at an academic but also at a professional level. The program is closely aligned to the needs of the professional world that we live in today. In my opinion, the School is extremely demanding in certain academic aspects but, on the flipside, it is very rewarding for students.
Lastly, would you recommend EAE Business School and why?
Of course, I would! It is a university that is always striving to improve. It is never simply content to accept what it has. Even more importantly in my opinion, it always strives to innovate. They give students great academic and professional opportunities. You don’t have to look for to find evidence of this. Just in the last few years, there are ever-increasing numbers of students who want to study at EAE Business School.