Skip to content

Academic efforts and integral self pay off.

zurich cisnes

Zurich, Switzerland

When I was living in Switzerland, many people I encountered there wanted to know who I was. Being from El Salvador, set me up to become someone with an “outlandish look”. My tan color skin radiated a tag “she is foreign“, and El Salvador was not in the Swiss brain radars. Many times people asked me if I was Brazilian, or Colombian, and the nearest nationality they guessed about my look was Mexican or Costarican. Of course, when I answered: “I am Salvadoran”, they had no idea where was El Salvador located, and I had to explain everything in relation to my country. Anyway, the exploring conversation continued, and they asked me where I was working. I replied at “ABB Financial Services. I am an associate director of ABB Structured Finance”. They were more intrigued. Afterwards, they asked me where did I study?, and I replied at “London Business School, Cornell University and the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile”… And they immediately thought I was “a millionaire” from El Salvador… Ja Ja Ja!!! Nada que ver. Rien de plus que ça. Not at all. The Swiss mentality is extremely “monetary”. They are always calculating your “pedigree” in order to position you in one social class or social reference group. Swiss people grasp how you look, how you speak, what you have and how you say things, in order to find out who you are. Since I was a foreigner, I had no local “blue blood” contacts there, and all I had to share was my education. I was recruited to go to Switzerland at Cornell University, and without that specific background and education, I couldn´t have moved to the Swiss Alps.

For the Swiss, if a swiss goes to study in America, it is usually because he or she can afford the education. Since Swiss education is free, the idea of traveling and jumping the Atlantic ocean to go to study in America is non-usual. They have very good schools and the majority are accepted by merit, and no tuition is required in state swiss universities.

fulbright scholarsIn consequence, when I replied to the Swiss about my previous studies at American good universities, which they considered expensive, they were surprised.  For them to study in America is just for Swiss rich people.  Little they knew that I studied in the USA or London Business School, simply because I won a scholarship through the Fulbright Program from the American Embassy to attend those universities. I am from a middle-class family. 

With this little story, I would like to encourage students and youngsters to study hard. To really dedicate time to get good grades. If your beloved dream is to study outside your country, you can do it. Your academic performance may help you to be considered for scholarships, and later be accepted in a prestigious university in any corner of the planet.  In addition, you need to have extracurriculum experiences beyond academics (for example sports, entrepreneurship, arts, leadership, volunteering experience, etc). As a youngster what you need is an integral character and curious personality.  You need to be a good person (with ethical values too). You don´t need to be a millionaire (as in my personal case) to be accepted at foreign top universities, such as MIT or Harvard, or Stanford, Cornell, or European universities of prestige. What you need is to have an integral innovation life, excellent grades, a strategic innovation mindset and apply for a scholarship to pay your studies in foreign lands.


Excellent grades and integrity character are your passport to study in foreign lands.

I had ZERO money to pay for my ticket to go to Cornell University or to London Business School. My parents couldn´t even help me with that. But I knocked on the door of every single embassy in El Salvador, searching for scholarships. I went to every single embassy in El Salvador, requesting for scholarship programs I could apply. The American Embassy saw my passion and heart desire for continuing with my graduate education, they saw I had the qualifications to join the scholarships program. I applied to the program, and they supported me. My grades were important, but more than that was my ethical background, the good conduct I had at high school the university and former employers, and my curious personality.

Please do not stop to study as much as you can.  Being from a humble or poor family can´t stop your dreams to educate yourself. Do all your best efforts to learn. Train yourself to learn, and get enough grade scores to apply for these universities. And then fight by merit for a scholarship. It is all I can advise all the youngest who are planning to study in excellent institutions. You don´t need to have money to be there, what you need is a qualified brain and integrity character that can be as similar as those who are accepted there.  Prepare yourself to pass those universities admission standards. Your high-school academic efforts will pay-off! Your integral whole self and character will pay off! Your strategic innovation mindset will pay off!


See you tomorrow.bee


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s