International student uses Foster MBA to test career paths

As a kid growing up in Mexico City, Pedro Del Castillo was fascinated by machines.

“I became interested in how things work and how you can make them work better,” he says. “I guess that’s what drew me to mechanical engineering. It was about looking at things and their touch and feel, putting them together, taking them apart, and putting them together again.”

This fascination with the way things work has never left him.

When he grew up, he studied mechanical engineering at Universidad Iberoamericana and went to work for GE Aviation after graduation. Later he moved back to Mexico City, worked for Chrysler and earned a master’s degree from Georgia Tech via distance learning.

Throughout his career, he had gained satisfaction through solving problems. But he began to feel that the problems were too technical, and were taking him deeper and deeper into a specialized niche.

“I started feeling like I was a cog in this huge corporate machinery,” he says. “I really wanted to take a step back, get a wider perspective. With that in mind, I started thinking about going back to school and earning a master’s in business.”

His search led him to the U.S., where many of the world’s top universities are located.

“I wanted a to be in a place that could offer a lot of different options, from very large companies that work in technology to big manufacturing companies like Boeing,” he recalls.

The Foster Full-time MBA Program’s small size, international focus, and diversity of industry contacts drew him to Seattle.

“I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do afterwards, so it was really important for me to have so many options, so many different industries,” he says.

Seattle’s natural beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities also attracted him, as did Foster’s reputation for environmental stewardship. He joined the school’s nationally-recognized chapter of Net Impact, an organization that supports social and environmental change through business, and took on a role coordinating “greening” activities with other groups across the UW campus.

As he acquired business knowledge in the classroom, he tapped Foster’s extensive network of business contacts to explore his options for a new career path. A project for Puget Sound Energy, helping the utility explore the possibility of selling solar power, let him pursue a longstanding interest in sustainable energy, but also led him to conclude that the industry was too slow-moving for him. An internship with Planetary Power gave him exposure to the startup environment, but he decided he needed more structure at this point in his career.

Eventually, management consulting began to look like a good match for his strengths. Working with MBA Career Management, he actively pursued opportunities in the industry, and ultimately landed a job with Alvarez & Marsal, a global professional services firm.

He’s still fascinated about the way things work, and how he can make them work better. Only now, he’ll be working on businesses rather than machines.