The obvious choice would have been the US, but he was keen on a scholarship as well as gaining global exposure and ISB was a perfect culmination of the two. Initial apprehensions notwithstanding, stellar Alumni feedback on the international student experience at ISB helped tip the decision in the school’s favour and Aurelio found himself on a flight to Hyderabad, along with fellow Spaniards, who were also part of the program. ‘The Alumni I spoke to was extremely happy and here I had the opportunity to explore a new country and culture while being taught by the best faculty in the world.’ He spent the first few days being hosted by an ISB alumnus in their home and getting familiar with the city and its renowned Biryani. He says he was awestruck during his first visit to the campus. ‘I was only used to city universities. While we have beautiful historical buildings, we don’t have a one place to come together.’ The elegant buildings, the open-air stone atrium, and the campus facilities, especially the library, helped create a community atmosphere he had never experienced before. Initial hiccups with the accent aside, Aurelio quickly settled in. ‘In the beginning it was natural for three Spanish students to stick together but within three weeks or so, I had already found my group and made good friends.’
Academically, ISB exceeded all of his expectations; he enjoyed the different approach, the ability to apply theory to real business. ‘No one ever even used the board to explain concepts or formulas, it was always through case studies.’ He was also impressed with the students. ‘They were so young,’ he says, ‘but so focused.’ It was not just their quantitative and theoretical abilities that set them apart, but also their awareness of the world and their ability to express themselves with such articulation. ‘They know so much about everything,’ he says, ‘I understand they are not a representative sample of the country but they were so well oriented. They were also very patient and supportive, because I asked so many questions.’
To broaden his exposure and network in Asia, he also attended the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology – School of Business and Management as an exchange student for three months. He mentions the ability to focus as one of his biggest takeaways from the 14-month program and it reflected in his performance- he was part of both the Merit list and the Dean’s list and was also awarded the ISB Merit Scholarship. But ISB also helped him discover what he wanted to do in the future. ‘I liked my courses very much, especially Corporate Finance and Economics. This made me want to get into finance.’ After participating in the placement process, Aurelio fulfilled his ambitions and joined Nomura as an Associate in the Global Markets Division in Mumbai. But tapas beckoned and after developing Algorithm trading models for a year, he moved back to Spain to join EDP Renewables in M&A where he’s been ever since, but he misses the travel; he visited Darjeeling, Calcutta, Leh, Ladakh and the Maldives during his term breaks. One of his fondest memories is a nine-day trip he took with his friends from Spain, planned with the help of his batch-mates.
‘To this day,’ he says, ‘all of them feel India has been their best holiday experience ever.’ He would do it all again in a heartbeat, he says in the end. ‘India changed me and made me more culturally sensitive and globally aware. It helped created a network around the world I can count on. My batch mates have moved to so many countries that I have friends everywhere.’
Aurelio Gutierrez Perez currently heads Investments and M&A at EDP Renováveis, Spain and is an alum from the Class of 2011