Student Spotlight: Marcelo Torres Alves
Meet Marcelo Torres Alves, a student in our Masters in Global Management (MGM) program. Marcelo is nearing the completion of his MGM degree and recently joined the International team at RRU where he coordinates the digital recruitment initiatives.
Our MGM Program Head, and Assistant Professor Deb Linehan, had an opportunity to chat with Marcelo about multiculturalism and the value of a global mindset, and the extent to which the MGM program helped expand on these concepts.
Multiculturalism and the value of a global mindset
Multiculturalism, and a global mindset, have long been very important to Marcelo, who came to Canada from Brazil in early 2019. Before commencing the MGM program, Marcelo had an established career as Country Director for New Ventures Brazil and also had held roles as an executive in multinational banks such as ABN AMRO Bank and Banko Santander. However, Marcelo was searching for ways to bridge his multinational experience into a consultancy for sustainability and business development. He saw the value of a global mindset, the ability to perform with sensitivity and agility in the global workplace, and in fact pursued that ideal as his next career step. When Marcelo joined MGM in 2019, that understanding evolved deeply. He soon realized the sophistication that is required to be a global manager in every business function such as marketing, economics, leadership, supply chain management, etc. By adopting a global mindset, Marcelo began to check his own analysis and, as he describes here, too:
“Take a step towards a world that is different. You need to be responsible to manage your point of view to get closer to reality. What do others think? Why do they act the way they do? You begin to see yourself with a new identity – a combination of self-understanding and what others see. The old references to identity are not there. It is shocking really. As a manager every day, I try to explain and to reframe; To unlearn and to adapt. The adaptation is present in every aspect of your life whether it is about your education or lunch.”
How did MGM help expand on the concepts of a global mindset?
The MGM program is designed to provide students with opportunities to develop skills to understand the complexities of managing across borders and bridging across cultures. Marcelo feels that by learning alongside professionals from around the world he has not only cultivated a global mindset but also expanded it. In his own words:
“The MGM program has lots of content. For example, you could learn about trade agreements in a variety of countries - the detail you would never know in your normal business life – you would only have cursory knowledge. Then there are the students in the classroom who add their own intimate country knowledge to the discussion. For example, in our marketing class when we discussed global brands, I could explain that the favourite Brazilian beer is actually not as it is represented. Other students shared their views of the Hong Kong strikes in 2019, which was contrary to the media coverage and what I thought I understood. My own beliefs were disrupted and replaced with new understanding. I learned to expand my global mindset, knowledge and perspectives”.
Moving to a new country and studying in a new place is a deeply personal journey for many of our students. Marcelo, in reflecting upon his own journey, shared with us:
“I also had my own journey – I was curious and kept a journal of reflections and deep learnings. I have acclimated to Canada by continuously observing and adapting simple things such as language and posture but also community engagement. I am a work in progress. In the beginning, I was concerned about the basics of living in a new country, finding a place to live, doing banking, shopping, etc. But moving up the pyramid of self-actualization – my thoughts turned toward deeper philosophical and personal growth issues – ‘who am I in this new environment?’ and ‘how can I contribute to the world from this standpoint?’. We are happy in Canada and our family has recently decided to take steps towards immigration. Last spring, on a sunny day, my wife took off her jacket – it was 7-8 degrees outside (very chilly by Brazilian standards). It was a sign. We laughed that she had truly become a Canadian!”
Thank you so much for sharing your reflections and journey, Marcelo!