Everything is going to be alright — How I got into Business School

Quite a path has lead me to an MBA in one of Latin America’s renowned Business Schools. I will begin my studies next month at INCAE Business School. I am certain that anybody feeling despaired will find solace in my tale. I hope it will make anybody doubting their life choices look at themselves in a more benign light.

It has been 13 years since I finished High School in Panama City, Panama. In that time I have had my fair share of learning, failing, partying and enjoying life. I also know how rock-bottom feels. I will talk a little bit about my story, bear with me.

As a scion of a German mother and a Panamanian father moving from Panama to Germany as a 18 year old came natural to me. So I moved to Germany in January 2003 and served in the German Navy as navigator on the sail training ship Gorch Fock. After two years in the navy I did 9 months of preparatory college in Hamburg where I also worked in fast food shops and restaurants. I had a great time there: I made a lot of good friends and had a lot, and I mean a lot, of beers. I then decided to move to new territories and began studying economics at the University of Freiburg in the end of 2005.

By 2010 I had lost all track of my purpose in life. I fell into, what I can only call a depression, a profound and horrible depression. Don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t all bad in those five years. I made a lot of new friends. I traveled through Europe. I worked in a Forestry Agency and I learned how to skin animals. I learned about love and also about economics and politics. I even studied for a lot of exams and wrote a fair amount of papers. I had more beers than I could have dreamed of in Hamburg. But that wasn’t enough, or it wasn’t right, I guess. I had to drop out of College because I felt like shit and I felt like jumping off a bridge. Deep down I knew jumping off a bridge was not an option for my life loving tropical heart. So I returned to Panama where my parents live. I tried to figure out how things could become what they had become. I didn’t know what was wrong. I just knew I was a drop out with college debt and no self-esteem.

I tried to pick up what was left of me and started working as a tour guide. After a year and some of those rare chain of events, I became the personal assistant to the Foreign Minister of Panama. After another year, my boss changed ministries. I ended up being the personal assistant to the Minister of the Presidency. As a side note: For all those college drop outs that feel that everything is lost: it isn’t. In my government position I managed to save some money and convince my boss to let me go to Germany for 6 months to finish my degree. And so I did. I pulled that nail out and it felt great. Now I am a B. of Sc. in Economics. Then in July of 2014 my time in government ended. At that point in my life I thought taking over a hostel/restaurant business in the Caribbean would be a dream come true. So I went ahead. It wasn’t the dream I expected. I learned how to fail in business and I experienced the dark evil of depression once again. But my mind and my spirit had grown stronger since my first depression. One grows with one’s failings.

Around January of this year I was struggling with running a business and with the worst imaginable partner. I came to realize that I still had a lot to learn. So much so, that I decided to give it a try and apply for a business school. I applied in INCAE, I made all the necessary exams, I passed them and they decided I was worth their while. Like in most men’s life a woman was pivotal in this decision to go to INCAE. I was wise enough to marry this woman 2 weeks ago. My business failed, yes. But now I have the prospect of studying in one of Latin America’s best business schools and I found the woman of my dreams.

I dropped out of college and in the end it didn’t matter. I failed a business and in the end it didn’t matter. I struggled with the demons of depression and in the end it didn’t matter. Everything is going to be alright. I guess Bob Marley knew it all along.