Extra-curricular activities

This section presents some of the activities that I have carried out outside my academic and professional career. Through these voluntary activities, I have developed skills and attitudes different from the usual professional attributes, such as ingenuity, commitment, and proactivity. However, they have been very valuable to me and reflect important aspects of my personality.

The first instance, and probably the origin of the following two, is the recount of my experience throughout my application process for the master’s programme abroad. This event was highly important for my development. It not only pushed me to compete and demonstrate my ability in a global environment, but it also helped me to develop the skills of resilience, intercultural communication and self-sufficiency.

The second instance narrates my experience during my participation in the organization of the TEDx TUHH 2015 event. On that occasion, I helped to prepare the venue for the event, to monitor the presentations and to support the speakers during the day. This was a very enriching experience, since not only did I have the opportunity to support the organization and collaborate with a very diverse team, but I was also able to engage with the speakers and talk about the topics they would present. During that occasion, I developed my collaboration, learning and resourcefulness skills.

In the last instance, I reflect on my experience in the organization of the 2016 Hamburg Innovation Summit. In that occasion, very critical skills, such as confidence, adaptability and independent thinking, were put to the test. This event was 20 times bigger than TEDx TUHH 2015, about 5,000 people attended this important event. For the organisation of this event, I was responsible for coordinating activities, presentations and a large team of more volunteers.

Additionally, for each one of these cases, the skills developed, according to the Graduated Attributes Matrix, are described. Then, a resume on the impact that each case has had on my professional and personal development is presented. If you want to review the Graduated Attributes Matrix, click here.


GIM – Studies abroad

After being in charge of my company for a few years and achieving a comfortable degree of stability, I decided to reflect on my professional development to assess if my current situation was aligned to some of the standards I had self-established just before completing my undergraduate studies; namely, keeping up to date with cutting-edge knowledge, having more contact with foreign cultures, and staying motivated through new experiences. This analysis made me realize the multiple opportunities to extend my professional development; however, the option that interested me most was pursuing a master’s degree abroad.

To achieve this goal, I focused my efforts on completing three tasks; first, find an appropriate programme; second, be accepted into the programme; and third, obtain financing to complete it. For the first task, I decided to carry out a worldwide search for a programme that had the right balance between theory and practice, which I found in the Global Innovation Management programme, offered jointly between the University of Strathclyde in the United Kingdom, and the Technical University of Hamburg, in Germany. The second task was more challenging since the recommendations of respected academics and professionals were necessary to be accepted, besides, I needed to prove a solid academic background, foreign languages proficiency and financing were also required. This led me to the last task, in which I decided to request the support of the Mexican National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT) through a scholarship, which is awarded to the best students according to a extensive review of their academic and professional development.

In retrospect, this has been one of the best experiences in my personal development. For two years I faced cultural, academic and professional challenges, but it all started with the application process. This period pushed me to improve my communication skills, since not only did I have to demonstrate my competences, but most of the conversation was done in writing and in a foreign language. My investigative skills also improved, since, without assistance, I had to find out the options, requirements, and procedures for this process. Finally, this experience extended my cultural and social awareness differences in other countries. This stage represented great challenges, however, it provided me with the right tools to continue with my personal development.

If you want to know more about the GIM programme, click here.

Graduate attributes developed

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Impact on studies and employability

This experience has been one of the most consequential decision in my academic development, I realized its impact from the moment I started the application process. During this process, I improved my communication, social awareness and investigative skills, which has been beneficial for my studies. These skills have served me to improve the way in which I disseminate the advances of my research, and I participate with colleagues with different cultural backgrounds.

Regarding employability, these skills also have a lot of impact. I believe that employers are interested in professionals with great ability to contribute to multi-cultural projects, with the ability to communicate effectively inside and outside the company, and with great competence to investigate aspects of work that are often hidden or are difficult to access.


TEDx TUHH 2015 – Volunteer

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TEDx is a great platform to explore and share ideas. Not only throughout the presentations, but also through the organisational activities. For this reason, shortly after moving to Germany for my second year of my master’s programme, I decided to volunteer to help organise TEDx TUHH 2015.

Throughout the event, I was responsible for multiple activities; from leading a subgroup in the preparation of the venue; to coordinate the speakers according to their participation; to maintain control of the presentation times throughout the event. These activities were very challenging because I did not have much practical experience in many of the tasks. For me, it was particularly difficult to manage my workgroup, since, with different cultural backgrounds, it is very difficult to maintain an effective communication. However, a very relevant consideration that I learned during this experience was to maintain and adapt the communication according to the activities we had to carry out. By sticking to this idea, and with a little practice, leading a workgroup became easier.

This was reflected in the results of the event, since not only were we able to handle twice the audience we expected, but during the course of the day my team remained coordinated and motivated. After concluding the event, not only did we meet our goal, but we also formed a great work team, which later on would meet again to assist with other events. Personally, this activity permitted me to realize my ability to collaborate with multi-cultural work groups, and gave me the confidence to, later, take positions with greater responsibility.

If you would like to know more about the TEDx TUHH, click here.

Graduate attributes developed

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Impact on studies and employability

Teamwork, leadership and effective communication are very important aspects of academic life, this activity allowed me to improve these skills and gave me the confidence to lead other team-efforts later on.  A clear example of its impact is the way in which I have conducted my research project so far. My project requires, on the one hand, maintaining an effective communication and teamwork with my supervisors, and on the other hand, requires my leadership to keep the project moving forward.

Regarding employability, experience in organising this type of events is important. I believe that employers are increasingly aware of the need to maintain effective communication not only within the company but also to the outside. On the other hand, teamwork and leadership skills are fundamental aspects of innovative and sustainable projects. This type of project benefits from a wide base of knowledge, however, soft-skills are also necessary to complete complex projects. I trust that future employers will value highly this experience.


Hamburg Innovation Summit 2016 – Volunteer

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One of the last activities that I did during my masters was my participation in the organization of the Hamburg Innovation Summit 2016. During three days, thousands of people visited the exhibition centre with the intention of observing, experimenting and learning about the most innovative ideas of the year.

Naturally, my participation began long before the summit, this time my job was to coordinate the activities of the teams responsible for preparing the venue, to ensure that the necessary materials and resources were available for when they were to be used, and finally during the event, to keep organized the movement of the attendees throughout the activities planned. One of the biggest challenges I faced during this event was finding the right balance between making decisions and following directions. This was critical during the work prior to the event, where I decided to request greater freedom to complete the objectives, that is, to organize my team in the best way to meet the goals. This changed during the event since many of the tasks emerge as the people moved and the activities progressed, in this case, our group was more effective by following exactly the instructions given to us.

During the three days that the event lasted I faced a wide and numerous range of problems, however, thanks to the preparations we had made, the readiness of the work teams and great motivation, we were able to take the event forward. This activity gave me a great opportunity to put my skills to the test, particularly my adaptation and critical thinking skills. After succeeding, it helped me to increase my confidence, which has had a great impact on the way I make decisions nowadays.

If you would like to know more about the Hamburg Innovation Summit, click here.

Graduate attributes developed

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Impact on studies and employability

Making decisions under pressure, dealing with uncertainty and maintaining good results are very important qualities in academia. This activity allowed me to reinforce my confidence to deal with these type situations. Particularly, these skills have helped me to respond positively to the challenges I face in my research project. A clear example occurred at the beginning of my project when one of my first tasks was to improve my research proposal. This activity took several weeks to complete, due to the difference between professional and academic approaches to research. Thanks to the skills that I have strengthened in this activity, I was able to stay motivated despite the challenge that this task represented for me.

In the same way, these attributes are important for employers. This activity located me in situations very similar to those faced in the professional environment and allowed me to recognize that I am able to stay focused and objective under circumstances of high-pressure and stress. I trust that these type of activities will be of great help when I return to the work environment.