Startup skills can be learned, but mostly outside the classroom. Instead of studying for an MBA, many young professionals in Latin America are going to work at global and regional startups.
These companies give recent university graduates the opportunity to take on leadership roles, including country manager, city manager, head of operations, product manager, and community manager.
If you have a dreams of becoming a startup founder, or even a corporate CEO, these positions are a great stepping stone. Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist at Wharton wrote “when considering your next job, you don’t have to choose between joining a big pond and being a big fish. You want to join a growing pond, because that’s where you’ll become the biggest fish.”These roles can help professionals develop startup competencies:
- Launch. Startup teams entering new markets map out the local opportunity, build a client base, integrate technology platforms, then press “go.” Going from 0 to 1 is an intense process and that can’t be replicated in an MBA classroom.
- Execute. Startups put a premium on getting things done. And fast. The goals is often to accomplish 80% of the execution with 20% of the work. Country managers are charged with quickly acquiring new clients and doing everything possible to make sure they don’t leave.
- Scale. Building out a team rapidly while still maintaining a core culture is hard. Global and regional startups have the right processes and organisational structures to make this happen effectively.
Here are some examples of people with significant leadership positions at fast growing companies in Peru and the region:
- Diego Bartra at AmigoCloud
- María Del Mar Calle at Uber
- Elisa Galante at WeWork
- Dusko Kelez at Grin
- Elias Mufarech at Tandem
- Drago Macan Perez at Globo
- Gabriel Tudela at Bird
- Karla Rejas at Emptor
- Jimena Valdivieso at Xertica
If you are a young professional, thinking about jumping into startup ecosystem, consider following the steps of these people. You will gain skills you will need when you set out on your own as a startup founder.
If you are already a startup founder, this list people may be the right mentors for what you need now.