A conversation with Alba Valdivia can be really surprising. She is only 19 years old, but her words reflect a depth of experience that is more typical of a person with a longer track record, and her decisiveness when setting her objectives also resembles that of a more experienced professional person. Born of an English mother and a Catalan father, Alba chose the TBS Business School in Barcelona for her bachelor’s degree course in Business Management, which was to take her much further, both geographically and professionally, than what one might have imagined at the outset. In fact, in the second half of her second year, Alba took the plunge and decided to continue her training in California.
She sees herself working in an investment bank, and elaborates: “I like companies that are innovative, modern and up-to-date; in the future I see myself in an international financial institution which bases its growth on the application of new technologies”. From her words, we immediately realize that she is passionate about finances: “Fintech includes the entire world of cryptocurrencies, which has been such a revolution, and which promises a new way of working with finances. Today, markets are much more volatile thanks to globalisation and the new ways of interacting instantaneously in the market.”
From Spain to the United States: an exceptional path
But before arriving at that stage in her life, Alba is enjoying the Californian way of life to the full, something that attracted her right from the start. “California offers a place for entertainment and fun, but also an opportunity to grow professionally”, she says, while recounting the endless possibilities that this state offers: “a warm climate, beaches, a relaxed lifestyle, proximity to attractive places such as Yosemite and Santa Cruz…”, always remembering that the big companies are in San José – she is studying at San Jose State University – and those companies are open to students who want to do internships.
At this point we allowed Alba to explain to us, in more detail, the great differences between the academic system in the United States and the Spanish system. “The academic world here (in the U.S.) is much more closely connected with the world of employment. The big companies come right into the universities seeking students to do their internships with them. During my semester at San Jose University, at least three events were held in which students of Business were able to network among companies that were seeking young talented people entering the world of work. And those three events were for the Business Department alone!”, she said.
Next stop: Berlin
Although, for the time being, the adventure in the United States has come to an end, a new destination awaits Alba for the second half-year. She says that it was Toulouse Business School that: “gave me the opportunity to go abroad to study, but once you have started, you have to make it as profitable as possible yourself; she will soon be going to Berlin to finish her bachelor’s degree at the Viadrina European University. In Berlin, a part-time job as a Banking Operations Working Student already awaits her in the N26 mobile bank, an international fintech with its headquarters in Berlin, a youthful atmosphere and flexible work that does not require knowledge of German, since they give one the opportunity to work in Germany if one has mastery of English and Spanish. But she does not appear nervous at the prospect of the imminent change, because her priority is to finish the internship in the United States and then spend the rest of the summer in Spain.