From INCAE to Yale: The international experience of Global Network Week

From INCAE to Yale: The international experience of Global Network Week

April 12 2023
Maria Fernanda Vargas Cordova

María Dolores Castillo has a degree in Business Administration with a focus on Management of Keizer University. At present is studying the INCAE MBA and decided to have an international experience in Yale School of Management, an opportunity he accessed thanks to the Global Network for Advanced Management (GNAM), a network to which 32 renowned world universities belong, including INCAE.

Before beginning her studies at our Costa Rica campus, this Nicaraguan professional developed her professional career in the field of administration for 8 years. And at 27 years old, she decided to take the leap to study the face-to-face MBA. During these months, she has managed to perceive her evolution, she went from being a shy person with little participation in classes and study groups, to being a leader with confidence in the value of her opinion and today she expresses it without fear of make a mistake.

In this interview he tells us more about his experience in the Global Network Week who chose to do it in Yale and how it has contributed to the differentiating profile that it wants to achieve.

Why did you choose Yale?

I want to specialize in Marketing, and I had 3 university options, including Yale. The course that was given for a week was Behavioral Science of Management, where I received topics like consumer behavior. It caught my attention to go to a university that is Ivy League U.S..

What do you think this course contributed to your professional development?

It took me out of my comfort zone, I had high expectations, I have never traveled alone and also, I wanted to have the experience of being in classes at a recognized university that is as prestigious as Yale. 

The classes were with professionals from very diverse careers, I learned together with engineers, scientists, careers very different from Administration. And there was a wealth of nationalities, people from Hong Kong, Israel, Mexico, Chile and other places in Latin America. Everyone from the GNAM network of which INCAE is a part was present. 

The multicultural environment gave me and receiving classes with top professors, who do their own research and present it there at the University. Having that exposure and the opportunity to build networking, learn more about the industry where other professionals work was of great value to me.

How was that experience of sitting down as a student?

It really was like a dream. After graduating, I was working, many times I postponed my application to INCAE. When I finally decided to apply it was thanks to the support of my family, they pushed me a lot to do it.

I did not imagine all that I have achieved so far at INCAE and it was what helped me to be accepted in the course. I never imagined living this experience, getting to know a different culture and at Yale.

How did you feel about the level of demand?

The course is very focused on networking, the idea is above all to meet other professionals. One of the activities that contributed to this were the dinners in which you could choose between 5 restaurants in the city and you signed up with other professionals. I signed up for a Spanish restaurant where I had the opportunity to learn about their professional experiences and the situation in their countries.

I feel that I was well trained for this course thanks to my time at INCAE.

What is the most valuable learning you take away from that week?

There was a lesson that had a great impact on me and it was about charisma. It is a very important characteristic for a leader person. The teacher of this course gave us several tips on body language and how to communicate correctly with others. That helps you build connection and trust with people. In the end, we made a project of everything we had learned, we chose a topic and we had to present it through creative ways. With my group we made a poem that we dramatized in front of everyone. A vote was held to reward the best presentation and we won.

How do you think INCAE prepared you to live this experience?

At INCAE we are very used to participating during classes, which is why, together with my other INCAE classmates, we had a very active participation in the Yale course, we solved a case, we made groups similar to the CAES.

That they make us participate during classes is worth gold to me because when I go to a company I will not be afraid to give my opinion, I will be firm and make my voice heard.

Another thing that helped me was the skills that you develop in the CAES because you learn to work effectively as a team with very diverse groups. I was able to apply that at Yale because we were all super different, but we all managed to come up with good ideas.

What were the biggest challenges during that week?

In the academic part I felt a lot of confidence, which I have gained at INCAE and I feel that these types of challenges are more easily overcome due to the practice I have.

How do you feel now after having achieved it?

I feel happy that I went. At first I saw it as a great challenge. Every day there were different activities and I enjoyed every moment I lived.

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