Commuting from Peru to San Francisco for school isn’t easy, but Edgar Ore says it was “absolutely worthwhile” to further his career, explore new opportunities, and expand his network. After graduating in 2016, he transitioned from working in process improvement at a local insurance company to become a consultant in the new Lima office of The Boston Consulting Group.
Coming to Wharton
I had earned a business degree more than 10 years ago from a local school in Peru. I was working at a leading insurance company there and had a fulfilling job with visibility across the entire business. I was being promoted frequently and doing well in my career. Why go through the hassle of going back to school when I already had a business degree? The answer was that I needed an MBA from a top school in order to take my career to the next level in 10 years. I wasn’t just looking at the next one to five years, but rather my long-term goal of becoming a candidate for a C-suite role or a successful entrepreneur. I knew I needed to do this to further my career. I also realized that this would mean a long commute to the U.S. After looking at different executive MBA programs, I felt that Wharton was the best school for me and would be worth the commute.
Commuting from Peru to San Francisco
It was a long and expensive commute, but I saw it as an investment in myself. Before I would begin that commute every other weekend, I would think about my end objective, which was to become a Wharton grad and be part of its strong alumni community. The commute took 9-12 hours, depending on the connecting flights. I always flew to San Francisco on Thursdays and returned to Peru on Saturday night or Sunday. I used my time on the flights to work, study or rest.
My wife and I saw this as an investment in our family’s future. It helped that my wife and kids could experience Wharton with me, as the School is very welcoming for families. During the program, my family flew up during a school vacation and stayed for several weeks in California. They were able to meet my classmates and feel like a part of the community.
How I Changed Careers
Until I came to Wharton, I had mostly worked in general management and operational roles – my job was to improve performance from within the firm. If I was going to make a career change at Wharton, I thought it would be as an entrepreneur because Wharton San Francisco has access to the best and brightest in the entrepreneurial community. However, after I started the program, I decided to try new things and push myself out of my comfort zone. One of those things was the Wharton Global Consulting Practicum (GCP). My GCP team consulted with a Fortune 500 company in the U.S. and it was an incredible experience. It opened my eyes to a new career field — consulting. I’m now working at BCG in the company’s new Lima office. I’m working with clients in a diversity of industries, which is very fulfilling. Without a doubt, I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t gone to Wharton.
My approach to business in general has been enhanced exponentially by Wharton. Prior to Wharton, I didn’t have experience in finance. To make the most out of my education, I took many finance classes, including an international finance course. During my job search, recruiters from financial services asked how I would go about approaching a specific financial task. With no direct experience, I relied on my knowledge from classes to answer the questions. Every time, the interviewers said that is exactly the approach they usually take at their work. This showed just how valuable our knowledge is at Wharton. We’re learning from faculty with real-life experience and that enables us to gain more confidence in what we know and to have a deeper understanding of areas in which we previously did not have experience.
Adding even more value is students’ ability to gain business insights from professors and other classmates. The professors are accessible to discuss work issues that you may need to solve the next week – you can’t get that type of access to these experts without extra charge anywhere else. And your classmates bring years of experience and diverse perspectives to the program. They come from many different functional areas, industries, and countries – this enriches the discussions and interactions inside and outside of class. Best of all, I made lifelong friends with classmates. They are extraordinary, yet down-to-earth people. My new Wharton network is something way more valuable than the cost of tuition and commuting, because it is lifelong.
Advice for Incoming Students
Consider coming to campus for a full class weekend so that you can attend classes, dine with students, and even participate in the evening activities. Current students are very welcoming of prospective students. They know how difficult it is to balance school, work, and families and they will share their perspectives. By spending time with students, you can get a better sense of what the program is like and determine if it’s a good fit for you.
Posted: October 27, 2016