Marcelo has a degree in civil engineering from Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María. The bulk of his professional experience has been in the mining industry, firstly for major Chilean copper producer Codelco, and more recently for Minera Escondida, the highest producing copper mine in the world. He joined London Business School’s Sloan Masters in Leadership and Strategy in January 2013.
Sloan was an opportunity for me to refresh and update my business knowledge. I originally studied civil engineering and later completed an MBA in Chile, but as my career moved on I found I had less and less time in my working day to think deeply about key areas like leadership and strategy. With that in mind I decided to take time out to reflect on and explore new business perspectives whilst refining my skill set.
Studying abroad was a really good option for me.
London Business School was a good fit for my children – the timing of Sloan worked perfectly with the school year and, as teenagers, they loved London life! The School also has the prominent global reputation I was after. I returned to work supported by an incredibly strong brand – something that I can really leverage when negotiating new roles.
I had mainly been exposed to US-centric thinking so enrolling on a programme that offered a truly global way of thinking was very important to me. The School really reflects the London environment – my Sloan cohort was a mix of so many different nationalities, backgrounds and experiences that no single discussion was ever the same.
People expect the boss to be right, but one of my key takeaways from Sloan is to surround myself with people who can bring different perspectives to the table.
At the beginning of my Sloan experience I had two words in mind – people and strategy. I quickly realised, though, that the first person I needed to study was me. I needed to understand what type of leader I was in order to learn how to approach others in the most effective way.
I found Paths to Power with Gabriel Adams a wonderful course. I learnt a great deal about how to influence others, regardless of formal authority and whether I am in a leadership position or not. In the past, I tried to talk mainly through processes and procedures, but now I am applying simple messaging concepts from Paths to Power. I’ve taken away structural approaches and a lot of knowledge about behaviour that is very useful for implementing on site.
Travelling with a family meant our opportunity costs were high, but even so, the benefits of my – our – Sloan experience have been extremely positive. We loved every minute of our time in London and my wife and children were involved throughout. I have grown a superb personal and professional network, and I know that anytime I face a business challenge I can send an email and expect a quick, insightful answer in reply.
In general business programmes you study people’s behaviour. In Sloan you go much further, because you have enough experience behind you to compare the theory and real life in detail. I returned to my company with a huge amount of new knowledge and a more global perspective to offer. Long-term, I don’t yet know where I will end up – one thing I am absolutely sure of, however, is that Sloan has given me the skills and the network to choose when, and where, I want to go.