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Every year the Mid-Career/MPA students are among the first to arrive on campus for a month long summer program exclusively for mid-career professionals. This year, several of them have volunteered to introduce themselves through the Harvard Kennedy School School (HKS) admissions blog with a self-authored post.
Below is a selected portion of the blog recently written by Miguel Santos:
I am from Caracas, Venezuela. Before coming to HKS I worked for more than 12 years in corporate finance and business development across Latin America. I worked for a large family business holding, the Cisneros Group, heading the corporate finance division of Venezuela’s largest bank, Mercantil Servicios Financieros. I also served as Vice-President of Business Development for Sony Pictures Latin America.
I handled a lot of mergers and acquisitions, venture capital, strategic planning, launched new businesses facilities, and negotiated a large number of joint ventures. As time passed on, and Venezuela fell into great political and economic turmoil rooted in large income inequalities, my career interests gradually changed.
In 2003, I joined a group of Venezuelan scholars to create Acuerdo Social, a think-tank of professors cutting across different academic institutions and disciplines, aimed at promoting policies that foster economic growth, reduce poverty and income inequality. We developed quantitative research projects and wrote policy papers to create awareness and support the public policy units of political parties.
In the summer of 2007, I volunteered in Rau Primary School in the outskirts of Mount Kilimanjaro with the ONG Cross Cultural Solutions, and in 2009 visited Mali and set up a small foundation to help people in Dogon Country region buy water pumps and bags of fertilizers.
After these experiences, I decided to change my professional career and move towards positions where I could have a greater impact on other people´s lives. After a couple of disheartening defeats, I decided to apply to the MC/MPA Mason Program in order to complete and enhance my own career transition.
The Mason summer seminar and the summer program provided us a unique opportunity to get to know each other, learn from our stories, and find ways we could help each other achieve the goals that brought us together at the Kennedy School.