"It was a responsibility for me to come back!"
Interview with Sergio Velasco (Class of 2013) who returned to Bolivia after completing the Master of Law and Business
You already had multiple degrees from prestigious universities in Bolivia before you came to Hamburg. Why did you decide to pursue another degree in law and business?
Yes, before I came to Germany, I had already studied in an MBA program and already had a Diploma in Tax Law as well as my regular law degree; however, my goal was to study and be able to obtain a Master´s degree at a top university with a great reputation worldwide. I also wanted to study in Germany, not only because of the high quality and high standards of German education, but also because I was keen to experience an international and multicultural adventure, and all of this was offered by the Master of Law and Business: a high quality education in law and business and a multicultural experience. It was one of the best decisions I ever made!
Although you speak German and have a connection to the country through having studied at the German school in La Paz, you decided to return to Bolivia after graduation. What were your reasons for this decision?
First of all, I think that almost everyone would like to stay in Germany after living there for a couple of months. It is an amazing country with amazing people. However, having studied law in Bolivia and having completed the Master of Law and Business, this opened lots of doors and new opportunities for me in my country. Furthermore, coming from an underdeveloped country, it was a responsibility for me to come back and try to contribute to my country in some way or another. Do not get me wrong, I would have loved to stay for a year or two after graduating, but life chose another path for me.
You’ve been back in Bolivia for over two years now. What have you been up to since you returned?
As soon as I came back to Bolivia, thankfully, I started to get some really good job offers from some of the biggest law firms in Bolivia; that was really a boost of energy and motivation. I decided to take a job in Santa Cruz and moved there after I had been back in La Paz for only a month.
After a year with the law firm that had brought me to Santa Cruz, I got an offer from Würth-Bedoya-Costa du Rels Abogados, another law firm in Santa Cruz, and decided to accept it. It was a really good offer and a great opportunity. I’ve been working for them ever since. In January 2016, my office offered me a position as Head of Office La Paz and I decided to accept that challenge as well. Currently, I am living in La Paz managing the office. I have also started to study for a Master in Finance…you have to keep yourself busy!
How has the knowledge you’ve acquired in the Master of Law and Business helped you?
I firmly believe that everything I have learned in the program has helped to be where I am now. During my studies, I focused on Corporate Governance (I wrote my master thesis in this area) and that helped me a lot. Now I have a broader knowledge and a more critical point of view, which has helped me to be more creative when it comes to advising clients on how they should manage their companies from a Corporate Governance perspective. I also focused on International Tax Law during the MLB program, and that helped me a lot since almost 80% of our clients are international and multinational companies that are investing or want to invest in Bolivia.
What advice would you give young professionals who are considering to apply for the Master of Law and Business?
My advice would be: GO FOR IT!!! Trust me; it will be one of the best experiences of your life. You will be studying in one of the best law schools in Europe; you will meet amazing people from all over the world (your classmates, the staff, the professors, people outside the university); you will have classes with brilliant professors (you cannot even imagine how cool is to be in class with great professors who are partners in some of the best and biggest law firms in the world). You will have to study a lot and it is worth it! And do not forget how fun it would be to live in one of the most beautiful cities in Germany, Hamburg is amazing.
Thinking back on your time in Hamburg, what are your favorite memories?
Great memories I have a lot. I cannot think of one bad thing that happened to me during the MLB and I am very thankful for that. What I treasure about my year in Hamburg are the people I have met. I always talk about how my perspective has changed since my experience abroad. Being able to travel; to meet people from Germany, Malawi, South Africa, Latvia, Colombia, Brazil, Ukraine, USA, India, China, Israel, Iran (just to name a few) and getting to know them, to live with them, to study with them, to party with them was a learning experience by itself. I loved it.