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Rolando Capote: How a Global MBA program at Tsinghua opens doors to the best of China and beyond


Rolando Alfredo Capote, a graduate of Tsinghua University's Global MBA program class of 2024, previously worked as a Director of Studies at Education First, now works as a Corporate Strategy Consultant at the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). He received the Tsinghua University Integrated Scholarship in 2023.

Capote grew up in the United States but always dreamed of seeing the world. After working for some years in China, he thought that a degree from Tsinghua University would take him to the next stage in his career. The MBA at Tsinghua enhanced his global experience and gave him the opportunity to work for an international financial institution. He shared his experiences of studying at Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management upon graduation.

Q: Why did you pursue a life in China?

A: After I met my wife in the United States, I visited her home country, China. I was awe-struck by the intricate combination of picturesque landscapes, rich culture, and technologically advanced cities that China had to offer. I decided I wanted to live in China, so I left my job as an auditor at A.T. Kearney and joined Education First in Hangzhou, where I advanced through career ladders and became a manager of international and local staff. When I began to hear about Tsinghua University, I knew that if I could distinguish myself, I could have a chance to further my education and professional career.

Q: Why did you apply to Tsinghua University?

A: Even though I am a first-generation college student, earning a full scholarship to the University of Chicago inspired me to pursue even higher education. Combining my degree from a top school in the United States with one from a top school in China would enhance my career profile as a competitive candidate, so I decided to apply to Tsinghua University. Everyone in China has heard of Tsinghua, where you can gain access to the best of China, so to demonstrate a serious commitment to the program, I studied for the GMAT to get a competitive score. Once I did, I applied, got an interview, and received an admission offer with a scholarship, so I was happy to receive recognition from a top school once again.

Q: What was your favorite class in the MBA program?

A: My favorite course, by far, was The Chinese Economy because it helped demystify the complexity of the Chinese economy using sound economic principles, which I was already familiar with during my undergraduate education. I was so intrigued by the models used to understand the Chinese economy that for the final assignment, I wrote a paper on a panel regression model that involved data encompassing over 20 years across 40 countries, through which I showed significant relationships between savings rates, international trade, and GDP. I felt a sense of achievement in enhancing my analytical skill set to understand the dynamics of intertemporal choice and international trade from a Chinese perspective.

Q: What is the best part of pursuing an MBA at Tsinghua University?

A: As part of the curriculum and graduation requirements, students must complete an Integrated Practical Project (IPP) with a host company, which is valuable because employers value experience. I wanted to transition back to working for a financial institution, so I went to the Career Development Center at Tsinghua and learned about the IPP with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Through the AIIB IPP, we got the opportunity to extensively research an investment strategy for green data centers in Asia. We were proud of our final presentation for AIIB, which was over 100 slides long.

Q: What else did you enjoy about pursuing a Global MBA?

A: I felt I did not take advantage of all the resources at my disposal while pursuing my bachelor's degree, so I wanted to change that with my MBA. I applied to the global immersion module course in Spain, where I got to take a course on sustainability in fashion with the Esade School of Business. I got the opportunity to visit Europe for the first time, eat Spanish cuisine, visit world-famous museums, and present what I learned about sustainability in front of Inditex executives. I had purchased some Zara clothing before but never knew I would meet the company's CEO, so I felt Tsinghua was truly enhancing my network. I applied to the international exchange program at London Business School for the opportunity to travel and take challenging courses that would improve my skills in finance. I appreciate the wealth of knowledge I have gained from these world-class institutions.

Q: How did the Global MBA help develop your career?

A: Tsinghua University's IPP helped me demonstrate my determination and abilities at an international institution, and that initial step was crucial in landing my current role. After the IPP, I interviewed for an internship with the AIIB strategy team. I received an offer, and through this experience, I contributed to infrastructure technology research for the InfraTech Portal. After my internship, I was offered a position as a corporate strategy consultant at AIIB. I really enjoy this role because I can apply what I have learned in data analytics to tackle challenging questions. When you enjoy this work as much as I do, you do not feel like you are working!

Q: In summary, how was your experience at Tsinghua University?

A: I came to Tsinghua University because it offered access to the best of China, but in the end, Tsinghua showed me some of the best the world has to offer. I learned from top professors at Tsinghua and MIT, conversed with McKinsey partners, presented in front of leading CEOs, visited AI startups, saw first-hand the operational processes of leading companies, and gained access to other world-class academic institutions. The Global MBA at Tsinghua gave me a lot of opportunities to enhance my global vision, so I am happy I worked hard to make the most of my education here. The experiences I gained at Tsinghua University will always be valuable to me.