30 Years of Development-Related Postgraduate Courses – Looking Back, Forward and Inward
Pablo Andrés Palacios Ochoa, Ecuador
2008-2010 MBA International Management, HfWU Nürtingen
Pablo Andrés Palacios Ochoa works as Programme Officer at the International Telecommunications Union. He laid the cornerstone for his career almost ten years ago as a DAAD scholar in the MBA programme International Management at the HfWU Nürtingen-Geislingen University.
Pablo Andrés Palacios Ochoa was an engineer at an internet service and a mobile provider in Ecuador when he decided to take his career in a new direction by coming to Germany. “Alongside an excellent International Management education, Nürtingen offers the course in German and in English. That made up my mind”, says Palacios Ochoa. “By the end of my degree course, I could speak fluent German thanks to the whole process of learning, an internship in the industry and my work as a math tutor.”
But language skills are just one side of the coin. Courses like Marketing, Management, International Business and International Human Resources paved the way for the Ecuadorian’s dream career as Programme Officer in the Americas Region at ITU, the specialized UN agency for Information and Communication Technology (ICT). There, he works closely with governments and international organisations to support the ITU members in developing and deploying telecommunication technologies, especially in cyber security and international interconnectivity. “I am applying a lot of what I learned during my studies directly”, he says. “Project management, for instance, makes up the majority of my work.”
Pablo Andrés Palacios Ochoa’s talent for organisation first began to blossom in Germany. During his final semester, courses, final thesis, sports, an internship and his work as a tutor all competed for his attention – and he succeeded in balancing them all.
After completing his MBA, an internship in Geneva – as a scholarship holder of the Carlo-Schmid Programme – brought him to ITU. The chances of being hired after the internship were slim, but his experience and competencies were convincing. “As an engineer, I was already experienced in finding solutions”, says Palacios Ochoa. “During the MBA programme, I learned the managerial side for delivering results and always strive for improvement.”
At the close of the six-month period, his contract was extended. After three years in Geneva, he was transferred to the ITU Area Office in Chile. “My duties include managing projects, organizing workshops, offering capacity building, among others, in the area of information and communication technologies”, explains the DAAD alumnus.
The Person Behind the Employee
The fact that Palacios Ochoa’s work involves a lot of interaction with people is no coincidence. He quickly formed bonds with the other 16 students in his degree course. They still meet whenever they have the chance. The close cooperation with fellow students continues to have an effect – interpersonal communication is the key. “For me, employee management means coaching. Not only do I show employees how they can improve, but I also praise and congratulate them when something works especially well”, Palacios Ochoa says. “That is something that I first learned in Germany.” Palacios Ochoa quickly adapted to the cultural differences between Germany and Ecuador – thanks to the very warm welcome upon his arrival, but also due to his own open-mindedness. “Deciding to come to Germany was not hard”, he says. “It was an unbelievably enriching experience, which I fully recommend.”