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Hernan Santacruz'19, Business Economics Major from Quito, Ecuador

February 2018

Major: Business Economics
Minor: Classical Civilizations
Quito, Ecuador
Mentor: Dr. Laura Grube'08, Assistant Professor of Economics

Hernan Santacruz'19 

What are you involved with on campus?

I enjoy being relevant in the community that surrounds me, and so I try to be involved in activities that allow my leadership skills to develop while not losing sight of the importance of academics. Currently, I am a Resident Assistant for Brannon Hall, where programming and leadership skills are a must and we serve as a bridge between Residential Life Office and the student body. My previous experience as a Business Economics major on Econ Day and my involvement with the Weissberg program has helped me reach an RA position that distinguishes itself from my peers. I was recently selected as a Senior Class Officer for 2019, where I will be in charge of leading an aspect of graduation (commencement) and making sure its execution is spotless and significant for my friends and classmates who have made a tremendous effort to reach this point in their lives. Additionally, I am the intern for International Admissions, where I work everyday contacting international applicants and thinking of new, market-based strategies to attract more prospective students from all around the world and better our community through the internationalization of ideas and people. It is important work and I am proud to be a leading factor in the shaping of the international population that will no doubt shape campus year to year, as I myself evidenced when I was International Ambassador for the Office of International Education for the 2020 class. 

What are you involved with off campus?

I have not had the opportunity to be involved with as much off-campus given how much I do on-campus. I intend to stay this summer to get involved in some community programs or social services. I do enjoy the occasional Riverside Park walk and look in awe at the Powerhouse that will one day be host to a million magnificent ideas produced by students sipping on coffee during a late-night study session. 

Describe your experience working with Dr. Grube'08 as your academic advisor at Beloit.

Dr. Laura Grube has propelled my career in many ways. An example is the upcoming Institute for Humane Studies Summer Seminar, for which she recommended me, that I will attend this summer. Dr. Grube has always been a powerful force in shaping my understanding of economics and politics, and thus feel like her constant attention to her students has yielded good experiences throughout the careers of many of my peers.

Share a little bit about your study abroad experience in England.

I went abroad for my Fall 2017 semester to the University of York. I studied at the York Management School, but as a proper liberal arts student, engaged in classes on the Economics and Philosophy Department as well. I It was a short program, but intense in its structure. Classes were small, (like Beloit’s) and professors were brilliant and engaging. The greatest aspect, however, was the experience of the city of York: a beautifully medieval, albeit equally modern city that keeps the richness of its sensational history whilst having a 21st century feel to it. The quaint pubs, the monumental cathedral, the awe-inspiring Roman ruins and the amazing night-life all contributed to a feeling of growth and adventure. 

What was the biggest take-away from your study abroad?

The biggest take away can be summarized in one word: Opportunities. To go abroad is a unique experience suited for those who wish to go above and beyond in their educational experience and grow as worldly leaders of character and independent capacity. Although already technically abroad myself, I thought it short-sighted to miss the opportunity to go abroad yet again and make new connections, experience new places, meet new people that will forever be part of my professional network and to live college in a different scenario. It was an opportunity for self-improvement, for reflective growth and for spectacular adventures. The opportunity to learn about the European Single Market, to be taught by a Cambridge professor, to walk 2,000 year old walls was only a blink on my daily routine given the plethora of experiences lived every day.

You also had the chance to shadow alumna Maria Lajewski'10 through the Weissberg program at Beloit. What was that like?

A few sophomores were selected amongst a very competitive pool by the Liberal Arts in Practice Center to travel to San Francisco and work side-to-side with successful Beloit alumni in our career area. I was matched with Maria Lajewski, a 2010 Beloit graduate who studied Economics and Management, who works as the Senior Manager of the Financial Solutions Lab for CFSI (Center for Financial Services Innovation) at the San Francisco office. Our short time together involved getting acquainted with the work she does, working as a sort of business incubator specifically for companies developing digital programs that better the financial health of its users. I got the confidential pleasure of accessing information regarding the selection process CFSI makes their clients go through in order to be selected for the yearly program that will hopefully launch massively successful companies. Moreover, Maria allowed me to participate in client meetings with corporation clients from Japan and to understand the importance of building a future where the average person has a keen eye for their own finance and know how to manage it successfully. It was an unquestionably phenomenal experience that impacted by professional development. 

What was the biggest take-away from your Weissberg job shadow experience?

The biggest take-away of working through the Weissberg program that Maria displayed flawlessly was that professionalism is impactful. Now, this may seem obvious, but to see Japanese clients be jaw-droppingly impressed with the professionalism of a young graduate by only talking to her for 20 minutes was an amazing realization to have. One of the most important traits of intelligent leadership is learning how to be professional in everything we do, from writing e-mails to first-impressions. Maria expressed effortless professionalism in her everyday life that it made it great to work alongside her whilst still feeling profound respect for the incredibly complex world she is now leading after Beloit. To develop our professional selves will, more often than not, lead us to greater places than receiving an 'A' in a certain class during college. The Weissberg program solidified my professional performance and buttressed my capacity for independent networking and self-resourcefulness.