Benjamín Mujica Dittborn
“A Chilean MBA Student from the airline industry ready to take off to new challenges!”
Hometown: Santiago, Chile
Fun Fact About Yourself: I got my first internship thanks to Twitter. Music and radio are my passions. For my first internship, I deeply wanted to work on a radio station. I didn’t know anyone in the radio industry, so I tweeted the famous radio personality Constanza Stipicic of Radio Duna, in Chile, and expressed my desire to work at the station. Thanks to this tweet I got the internship!
Undergraduate School and Major: Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: LATAM Airlines Group, Strategic Alliances Manager
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My biggest accomplishment is the ascendant career I had in LATAM Airlines, the largest airline in Latin America. I started as an analyst in Network Development, where I learned tons about the industry. Then, as a senior analyst in revenue management, I was responsible for the prices and availability of those prices for routes that accounted for more than $30M per month. This experience helped me to understand the complex and challenging world of prices in this non-stop business. Finally, in strategic alliances, I led the relation of LATAM Airlines with partner airlines, such as Lufthansa and Air France. This collaboration meant representing LATAM, which was a huge honor and responsibility.
What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Passion about entrepreneurship. I knew everything at Babson was about entrepreneurship, but it was shocking how many students have started something on their own. It almost made me feel strange amongst my peers! In addition to entrepreneurship, diversity is incredible at Babson. Eighty percent of my classmates are international students. If you want a global mindset, this is the right place.
Aside from your classmates, what was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? Entrepreneurship was the main reason I chose Babson. Many MBAs have entrepreneurship as one of their strengths but, in my opinion, Babson has two big differences from the rest. First, entrepreneurship at Babson is the base and foundation of everything, not just one subject in the curriculum. Second, the focus is on adding real value to society, making a true impact. Given my long-term goal of working in my family business and having my own company, Babson was the perfect fit for me.
What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? Babson has several clubs and activities for almost anything you want to do, which is great. I’m looking forward to joining the Institute for Family Entrepreneurship, launched in 2018, to enhance my knowledge of family business. In addition, I joined the Latin American Club, which is one of the biggest clubs at Babson and is the right place to build a strong network in Latin America. Finally, I could not live without soccer so the Soccer Club is a must. We are already playing and I believe we have a strong team this year.
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I always had an MBA in mind. During college, I studied in Bath, UK, as an international student. That experience was amazing and opened my eyes to a more global mindset. Later, I had the opportunity to work in Sao Paulo, Brazil, for LATAM. Both opportunities enhanced my desire towards an MBA. The tools acquired in this program will provide me skills to accomplish my future goals. To get the most of an MBA, you need professional experience, at least four years in my opinion. After working for five years in a huge company such as LATAM, I believe it was the right moment. I could contribute to the classroom and also make the most of the program. The call was not easy. Staying in Chile was tempting, especially because my wife got pregnant and our daughter would be born two months before the MBA started. However, we took the challenge and came to Boston. So far, it has been one of the best decisions we have ever made!
How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? First of all, I did my research and spoke with several mentors about an MBA and its future returns. It was shocking to only hear great MBA experiences. In contrast, mentors that didn’t take advantage of international experience expressed regrets. Second, I put all the numbers on the excel sheet. With a few assumptions, which I hope are right, the investment paid off. Nevertheless, the experience of leaving my comfort zone and living abroad with my wife and four-month daughter is an experience that is difficult to quantify in the excel. But, it was worth it for me to take the risk and come to Babson.
What other MBA programs did you apply to? In addition to Babson, I also applied to IE, in Spain. Their program, with a deep focus on Entrepreneurship and a great network in Chile, was an excellent option. In addition to this, living in Madrid was really tempting. It wasn’t an easy choice. However, I’m sure I made the right call by coming to Babson.
How did you determine your fit at various schools? The most important factor was my long-term goals. The classical question, ‘Where do you see yourself in five or ten years’ was crucial here. Getting the right answer took me time but was essential to find the right school. Some programs could have provided me with tools and networking to work in a big company. Others offered advantages in consulting or starting my own business, as Babson does. The values of the university, the culture, and the network are very important in this evaluation of the fit between you and the program. Another important factor in this complex decision, that can also test the previously-mentioned items, are former students. First, it is the post-graduation jobs they get. Secondly, and even more important, I had a conversation with several of them. This provided me useful insights and helped me to clearly understand the path I was taking. This made me inclined to pick Babson.
What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? In 2011, I studied for six months in Bath, UK. This international experience opened my eyes toward a global mindset. It was the moment I truly realized the world that was outside of Chile and how I should be more receptive towards new cultures and realities. After this experience, I started looking for more opportunities to expand my global mindset, as I did when LATAM gave me the opportunity to work in Sao Paulo, Brazil. In addition to the global mindset, the experience in Bath showed two important things. First, it showed me the long road that Chile has to becoming a developed country. Secondly, it reinforced the critical role that young privileged students, like me, have in this huge challenge to take Chile to a next level. I have a strong desire to contribute to this task in the private sector as an entrepreneur, creating good jobs and being a good and responsible leader.
What do you plan to do after you graduate? Back to Chile? My plan is to come back to Chile and work in my family business. I feel that post-graduation, with an MBA and five years in a big company as LATAM Airlines, is the right time to support my family and make my contribution to the companies we have. There are huge challenges in these companies but I’m looking forward to this!
Where do you see yourself in five years? In five years, I would like to live any Babson’s student dream and become an entrepreneur. One option could be acquiring a small company with a complicated present and make a turnaround, as my family has done it in the past. The other option is to start from scratch and form a new company. All of this with three big intentions: provide more jobs in Chile, being a good leader who makes a difference for his community and, finally, create value for my country.