First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Pablo Rivas: Luckily, my family and I are doing well. However, I am aware of the struggles that thousands of families have suffered due to the COVID-19 crisis. I truly feel for them. But now that the worst is behind us, we should all try to stay positive.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Global Alumni
Pablo Rivas: Education, ongoing innovation, the globalization of the economy, and the technological revolution, are my greatest passions. During my professional education in the US, and after obtaining my MBA at IESE (in Spain), I often wondered: how come the field of education remains on the sidelines of the digitized world? If the internet and technology are transforming the world, why isn’t education keeping up? If knowledge can be made accessible easily, why are people forced to move to other places and interrupt their jobs for months to learn? Why should language and location be a barrier?
The situation was no longer sustainable. It was hampering the development of professionals, educational institutions, companies, and global economic growth. If we fail to prepare professionals by providing them with the digital skills required to face the Fourth Industrial Revolution’s challenges, then we can be sure that there will be no future for us. This is the grim reality.
I founded Global Alumni six years ago to address these problems and answer these questions. So far, we have digitally transformed some of the world’s best universities and updated the skills of thousands of professionals to meet the Fourth Industrial Revolution requirements.
How does Global Alumni innovate
Pablo Rivas: Global Alumni works with the world’s best universities, such as MIT Professional Education, the University of Chicago, Chicago Booth School of Business, UCLA, Berkeley, and Esade, to design high-quality digital education programs. These programs are an educational breakthrough for three simple reasons.
First, our teaching methodology is fully adapted to the digital environment. We use innovative teaching tools that are constantly optimized thanks to technological developments.
Secondly, we continuously update and improve the content to provide students with the latest learning approaches, which allows them to meet and exceed the labor market requirements.
Finally, we focus on providing students with the best learning experience possible. Also, I think it is important to highlight our efforts in overcoming language and geographical barriers. If you are willing to take a step forward in your professional career and are interested in the opportunity to study at one of the universities mentioned above, do not hesitate.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Pablo Rivas: Here, I would like to outline that, in March, all governments could think about was shutting down classrooms. Face-to-face sessions, which were standard up until that moment, stopped abruptly.
Automatically, the entire educational system, including students, teachers, and institutions, suffered the consequences of being ill-prepared for a long-overdue digital transformation. They had not done their homework.
Online learning used to be complementary to traditional education. Now, it is an imperative need. Global Alumni has been repeating the same message for years; therefore, we were already prepared for a situation like this. At Global Alumni, we are constantly designing new programs. The expertise in teaching, the fully adapted methodologies for digital ecosystems, and the quality of the content have drastically turned the tables. Over the past few months, we have experienced an increase in the demand for digital programs. One of the lasting changes brought on by the Covid-19 is that the trend of digital education and online learning is here to stay. Thanks to this crisis, hundreds of professionals can now improve their skills in order to increase employment opportunities.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Pablo Rivas: The outbreak of a global and health crisis is a challenging scenario for any organization. Many companies have had to shut down, others have struggled to readjust their workforce, and all economic predictions became useless. This has been a clear VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity) scenario that requires diligence. To overcome this situation, we must take advantage of the opportunities that have presented themselves.
We believe in our business model and the service we provide. Notwithstanding the blatantly obvious challenges, we decided to take the risk and design even more educational programs. The reception on the professional side could not have been better. This has allowed us to prove that we are on the right path and that our message is stronger than ever. This is the greatest lesson that we have learned so far.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety, how do you project yourself and Global Alumni in the future?
Pablo Rivas: Global Alumni’s duty is both intense and fascinating. I enjoy every single day, but it can sometimes be complicated. Therefore, I try to spend quality time with my family, reading, or just disconnecting. That is how I carry on.
Regarding the future, I can only be positive. The realm of education is changing, and that is mostly thanks to the EdTech sector. The world’s best universities trust us and our culture of hard work and dedication. For that, we are eternally grateful. We strive to make high-quality digital education accessible to all. Whatever your role is in this situation, the challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution impacts everybody.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Pablo Rivas: We work exclusively with the world’s best universities and provide them an exclusive and tailored service. No other company adopts such a boutique approach within the EdTech sector. Global Alumni aims to go further and design more programs by exploring new technologies and conveying these institutions’ knowledge of people all around the world.
Your final thoughts
Pablo Rivas: In a world where technology offers infinite possibilities, education cannot be limited to classrooms. Thanks to technology, we can all access the knowledge of the world’s best universities without language barriers. As technology develops, reskilling is mandatory and should not be limited to one language.
Technology has practically changed all jobs and will continue to do so. Thus, we have no other choice than to update our knowledge frequently and accept that we will be engaged in a lifelong learning process. The learning journey has no end. The time and location at which you obtain your degree or master’s degree are not relevant anymore. The lifelong learning journey will always be inherent to your professional career.
And that is where digital education comes into play as it meets the professional requirements of those who need to find the balance between updating their knowledge and working. There are no commutes or unrealistic time requirements to fulfill. The only way to avoid professional obsolescence and not miss out on the job opportunities of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is to never stop your learning journey.
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