Before full-time work in banking at Interbank, and before Berkeley, José studied industrial engineering as an undergraduate student at the University of Tecnologica Peru (UTP). He wanted to one day build a successful business that was sustainable and would solve meaningful problems.
But not one to rest on his laurels, José continued to build up his résumé while reaching for his undergraduate degree.
He started out as a waiter, then interned at a textile company and even launched his own project. He decided to offer industrial engineering services, modelling and even 3D printing to the public. José was thrilled when he made several sales of his 3D products but had trouble finding a sustainable market for the products. Although he decided to discontinue the project, his work life didn’t stop there.
For additional experience, in 2017 José entered the banking world. He accepted an internship at the National Bank of Peru, where he worked on a project focusing on business process management. From there he took an interest in the industry and was eager to learn more.
Selected out of a large pool of applicants, José was excited for his next step at Interbank as a Digital Transformation Trainee. There, he assisted with a variety of projects. While working closely with the Growth Team, José handled their banking mobile apps and various digital channels. They came up with different strategies to help their channels grow sustainably.
He also worked hard on improving Interbank’s mobile payments. He and his team put their heads together to execute the growth strategy for the bank’s Mobile Wallet and worked on the initial iterations of the bank’s cardless credit card project.
José quickly learned that he thrived in a technology- and innovation-driven environment—as well as one that dealt in the financial sector. So after graduation, he set his sights on Interbank full time.
After one year in the training program, José was ready for a career in this field. However, he felt that he needed to expand his education. Reflecting on his recent undergraduate studies, José remembered an entrepreneurship- and innovation-based program promoted at UTP—the Berkeley Haas Global Access Program. Berkeley Global needed to be a part of his career plan.
And because José had shown great promise as a trainee, Interbank wasn’t ready to lose him as an employee. So when José showed his manager his BHGAP acceptance letter to join the Summer 2019 cohort, he received full approval to embark on this semester-long journey with a guarantee of a position once he returned.
“I knew that going to UC Berkeley would be a transformative experience that could help me grow personally and professionally, and with that being able to add more value to the business,” Jose shares.
Transitioning to a Bay Area Mindset
Upon José ’s arrival at Berkeley, he was astounded by the courses and experiences the program had to offer. From a diverse classroom to world-renowned professors, José began to realize what Berkeley was all about.
Thinking back on his course load, the Opportunity Recognition and the Marketing Strategy in a World of Digital Disruption classes struck him the most.
“I found my courses to be so eye-opening and they made me think out of the box,” José remembers. “I was learning about real-world problems that I could take back to my home country.”
He appreciated not only the content he was learning but also his professors. The Haas Business School professors want to get to know their students by offering office hours to discuss student’s passions, goals and, of course, the coursework. This was a new experience for José—that he never took for granted.
Even on José’s “off time” he found a way to continue educating himself.
Throughout the semester he participated in coaching sessions from Haas Business School instructors. José and his coach met regularly to help him brainstorm on how he could apply this new knowledge and skills into his current role back in Peru.
The BHGAP site visits also played a large role in José’s experience. He made sure to sign up for as many as possible each weekend. These were opportunities for the cohort to visit and learn about big-name Silicon Valley companies such as Tesla, Apple and Airbnb.
José was greatly moved by these visits, but especially when touring Airbnb. After speaking with employee Scott Crider, José left the site visit inspired and more motivated than ever to make a positive difference in his own workplace one day.
“Scott told me about a new project where they partner with homeowners that could list their property for free to the less fortunate. It was nice to hear about a company using their technology in a socially responsible way,” José explains.
The two discussed his project—Openhomes in further detail. José realized how big of an impact that initiative has already had, starting with the 2019 Australian fires. Reflecting back on their conversation, José hopes the project continues especially during the struggles of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Conversations like this have inspired José to continue learning about meaningful business strategies and take these ideas into his own career.
Implementing Innovation Into the Workforce
Upon his return to Peru and Interbank, it didn’t take José long to impress his company with his new expertise in entrepreneurship and innovation.
So much so that he was instantly promoted to a full-time Growth Hacker position. Because technology in Peru tends to be less advanced in comparison to the United States, Jose was eager to share what he had learned with his colleagues.
Today you’ll find José taking the lead on all of the bank’s digital products while improving overall business strategies. Focusing on their digital loans, he put together strategies for various campaigns and found new ways for growth leveraging marketing technology. He is also the go-to for the business agility project, enabling agile capabilities to the other teams in order to help add more value to the company.
This new position allows José to practice his leadership skills and communication among colleagues while improving overall business results. This continues to be true even when transitioning to a solely remote work environment during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the entire world relying on online banking, implementing innovative ideas is important while keeping the customer’s experience nothing but positive.
He managed to successfully launch a new digital experience for insurance within the bank's mobile app leading to an increase in sales. He also led a more dynamic form of digital communication to their audience through email marketing platforms.
Aside from this, José and his team are consistently trying to grow in different areas using technology and new methodologies. They regularly run tests in marketing campaign execution, data science models, marketing automation, analytics, email marketing and much more.
BHGAP not only provided José with a once-in-a-lifetime study-abroad experience, but real-world skills that were taken all the way back to South America.