Laureate Student Perspectives – Daniel Rubio Sánchez, Universidad Europea De Madrid

Daniel Rubio Sanchez, a recent graduate of Universidad Europea de Madrid (UEM) and current intern at Google, talks about the importance of internationality in a growing globalized workforce, the importance of connecting to people in this current culture climate, and how being a part of the Laureate network granted him amazing international opportunities.

Can you tell us a little about your background and how you got here?

I had the opportunity of completing a global dual-degree program to study International Business and International Relations at Universidad Europea de Madrid (UEM), with experiences abroad that allowed me to spend the last three years of my degree in six different countries, which is just incredible – Spain, Canada, France, U.S., Ireland, and the U.K. It was an incredible opportunity. And because my university belongs to the Laureate network, I’ve had many opportunities, like attending the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting. Additionally, I’ve participated in the Laureate Ambassador program that has allowed me to become a student leader on campus and lead important campus initiatives. I also received a scholarship from UEM, which is also part of the university’s responsibility to ensure that the university experience is accessible to those who don’t have the financial flexibility.

How about your family? How did they play a part in the person that you are becoming?

I think they’re the most important part of this story because without their support – not only financial, but their everyday support, I wouldn’t be here. My parents pushed me to pursue opportunities, and made the effort to support them. When I was graduating from high school at 18, I had to make a big decision about what I wanted to do with my life, what I wanted to study, who is it that I wanted to become in 5-10 years, and what I wanted to do with the talent that I believed I could develop – and my parents have played such an important role in the process.

During the research and discovery stage of deciding which university you would attend, what were your top three criteria?

  • Internationality – Nearly 30 percent of the UEM students are international, which was extremely important to me. Having full English degrees or even study abroad programs at top universities like McGill for instance, or the London School of Economics, or the University of California Berkeley, which I’ve attended, those are opportunities that not many students have.
  • Challenge Based Learning (CBL) – Another important factor is how my university teaches. They have this system called CBL, which is about giving students real-world work like experiences in the classroom. Now that I’m at Google, I realized that many of the CBL approaches were very relevant and are useful in the workplace. For example, professors brought companies to class, engaged us in both learning and strategically solving the identified company’s issues over a semester-long process. Having that, and not the traditional classroom learning experience is extremely important. And you realize that when you’re in companies like Google, they value how you do things and your soft skills. So, it’s not about your major, it’s about developing an attitude to always keep learning, even after you’ve graduated.
  • Finally, I would also mention the professional experiences. It’s very relevant too! To put it simple, the walls of the classroom need to disappear and open to real-world business experiences combined with classroom learning.

What were your best experiences that you had while being a student at UEM?

Definitely the opportunity to network and develop my soft skills. It’s not just about the technical skills, it’s also about how you communicate – how you pitch a business idea or how you interview a world leader that you just learned about five minutes before you met them. It’s the little things that make you a better professional when you graduate so that you’re not that scared when you present, and you’re more confident because you’ve already experienced that before. Or even global opportunities at Laureate network institutions. I think a lot of people think that it’s impossible to have these opportunities. No – it’s only impossible if you don’t apply. And many times, it won’t work, but if you don’t try, there is a 100% chance that it won’t work. I think that it’s always really worth trying.

How have these international and value-added experiences positively impacted your outlook on the world, your interactions with people, and your career?

Regarding people – it taught me about relationship management, and not being scared when you meet someone that’s different because of your origin, culture, language, etc. It’s about being able to face challenges and not be scared, but rather thrilled. And more specifically, I’ll say that they also relate with the way that I manage my career because they offer a lot of opportunities that I can discuss in interviews to prove their relevant qualifications as a professional.

What three pieces of advice would you give to a current student – things that you’d want someone to tell you?

  • First, students should engage and participate. That’s the very first step to everything. When you do that, you meet the people who are as passionate as you are. All of the universities have collaborations, student associations, student government, initiatives, events, speakers, etc. – important opportunities that enrich the university experience, which is about what happens outside of the classroom. When you meet with your fellow classmates, instead of using digital resources to communicate, meet in person to discuss and struggle together to resolve the problem.
  • Second, I would say to create and relate. To come up with your own initiatives – to identify partnerships, and connect with people. Leading isn’t about being on your own with a very good idea, it’s about gathering people to help you execute your idea.
  • Finally, I would tell them to JUMP! JUMP! To not be scared. The water might be cold, but honestly after a few minutes, it feels really good and you no longer have a reason to be scared.

What is your current role at Google, and how has what you’ve learned in the classroom helped you be successful at Google?

Right now, I’m working on the Google Marketing Solutions team in their Spanish sales department. I’m working on a project to internationalize very small businesses in Spain – I’m assisting them with their global reach through Google AdWords. It’s really good because you can quickly see the impact that you’re making. For example, this person that didn’t know about AdWords about 3-4 months ago, now actually has 300 sales from using the technology, which has driven their business success. I’m basically a consultant for success.

I’ve been here for three weeks, but learning to always keep learning, which is very important. No matter what you study, especially nowadays with technology like Google, everything is going to be updated in one or two years. It’s very important that students are taught to learn and be open to learning all of the time. It’s all about being willing to learn.

What are your next steps? Where do you see yourself over the next 3-5 years?

For the next years, I hope to continue to have experiences like this one at Google, where I can learn from others. However, I am not sure I see myself in a corporate environment. I think there is a lot I could do in an international organization like the United Nations, the World Bank, or the OECD. The role that each of these organizations play in international affairs is being questioned in this current political climate, and I believe it’s very important that these organizations get their messages across. With so many things happening every day, people forget that our society is doing a good job: poverty rates are going down, and education is transforming the world for the better. There is a lot to be done, of course, but properly communicating this will be an amazing opportunity in the future and an interesting career that I want to pursue.