This interview was conducted by Mr. Javier Moreno, representative of GMC, after the celebration of the awarding ceremony of GMC Spain to the second qualified team of the finale. The interviewee is Mr. Juan Manuel Lora Alonso, former president of EUROAVIA.
|First of all, who is Juan Manuel and what is EUROAVIA?
Thank you very much Javier, Juan Manuel is a former student here at the Escuela Superior Técnica de Ingeniería in Seville, who graduated in aerospace engineering and now completing an MBA. He also has the honour of having been the President of EUROAVIA in the business year 2017/2018.
EUROAVIA is the largest aerospace engineering student organisation in Europe, with more than 60 years of existence. It has 10 more years of history than AIRBUS, for example, and we are currently present in 40 different universities in 18 countries all over Europe and growing continuously both in partners and in study centres associated to our network.
Juan Manuel Lora participating during the 60th Anniversary of EUROAVIA, Aachen (Germany)
How do you see associations like EUROAVIA and other student associations affecting the professional development of undergraduates?
I heartly believe that it is fundamental, not only because of the success of my colleagues, but also because of what I am experiencing in my own professional life. In the end, everyone who studies a degree will have the degree, but it is the whole complementary experience that will make the difference with your competitors. Organizations like EUROAVIA, and many others, are usually the best way to have contact with the real industry, the world outside the books, especially in a country like Spain where we have an education culture mainly based on the theory and very little on practice; both technical and non-technical. I believe these activities are the perfect complement to the academic and professional training of students.
Which are the reasons that motivated EUROAVIA to be part of the GMC project? What do they agree on?
First of all, a competition like GMC and an association like EUROAVIA share their international and educational character, i.e., they stand for training and providing value to young people all over the world. Even more in these times we are living in such a globalized world, despite the fact that in these last months we are seeing some of the disadvantages of having such a connected world, but at the end of the day we share that common DNA.
I think that GMC is a perfect activity for young people, as well as organizations like EUROAVIA, which are able to put together people from different places to compete, to collaborate, to learn, to grow and to be aware of the world we are living in.
This would be the institutional answer but, personally how do you see it?
I sincerely believe, seeing what we are facing today, together with the sanitary problems that exist, what is heard even more than the COVID, is the economic model. Spain is a country where people have the dream of becoming public employees and having their lives fixed as soon as possible, having a job for the rest of their lives and avoiding any problems. On the other hand, I think that this is what distances us as a society from the economic success. We need people who want to entrepreneur and create value, and for this you have to know how a company works, you need to know a series of mechanisms and concepts and how to apply them, and GMC is an excellent tool for doing this. I particularly find GMC very interesting and fun, and it is a great complement to training in an area that is already very focused on industry and business. This is what I like most, to complement a technical background with a more entrepreneurial background.
|Juan Manuel Lora at the awarding ceremony of GMC Andalucía, Sevilla (Spain).|
I thank you for your words and I agree with you, it exists a lack of entrepreneurship in Spain. You were just saying that you were studying an MBA, why do you think engineers in particular are so attracted to GMC?
I have it pretty clear, in fact, a day or two ago Elon Musk, I don't know if you have read about it, it is very recent, he came out saying that one of the biggest problems in America is the "MBAzitization" of CEOs, there are too many CEOs who are MBAs. I partially agree and partially disagree. I do consider that it can be a problem that the CEO is only looking at the Excel sheet and that he only talks about finances, but on the other hand, I see as positive the complement of engineering with the MBA or with activities that require a knowledge of business and finance. After all, it is what will allow you to create value and improve your product or service from a technological and engineering point of view, which is one of the best ways to maintain the growth of a company while justifying all actions in a financial way. Perhaps the "MBAziciación" of the company is not good if it does not have a technical basis behind it that allows you to improve your product and the value you bring to society.
I completely agree. Now, looking back at the competition from an organisational point of view, how does it feel as a representative of EUROAVIA being the only sponsor of such an important competition like GMC?
Juan Manuel Lora at the GMC Spain Awarding ceremony for the 2nd qualified team, Sevilla (Spain).
On the one hand, I am proud, not only as a representative but as a colleague of the many people, 2300, many of them very involved and working hard and in a totally altruistic way in developing ideas of this kind. Seeing them come true, as has been the case, fills me with tremendous satisfaction. But, on the other hand, it feels quite disappointing. Seeing how we, the young people, are the ones who have to bet on and invest in activities that, although they are focused on us, are known to have a great impact on the society. How very small contributions have a great impact on the professional development of students, the working force of tomorrow in our companies, and that they are not able to see this potential and join in this type of activity.
I particularly think, hope and wish that in the end this is what EUROAVIA does is to lead by example. That despite the difficulties, I hope that this will serve to make institutions and companies see that young people are active, that they have aspirations, that they are committed to them, that it is worth training them and that we are no longer the ones who invest and can simply be the ones who increase the impact among groups of students and that it is companies and institutions that provide the means and resources so that we have this formation and the possibility of competing with many other countries that participate in the competition.
You have mentioned that the competition we have just finished has been very complicated, how do you evaluato it, being so close with the organisation? What is your assessment of the effort that has been made and the results?
Actually, there is an objective and a subjective value. The subjective one is clearly one of difficulty, of effort, and frankly this would not have been possible without the help of EUROAVIA as an institution and GMC as an organisation. A lot of work, a lot of difficulties, a lot of "now yes, now no", constant uncertainty. But objectively little more could be asked, that is, we have had a positive participation. We are starting with the region of Andalusia, celebrating the first edition, officially one of the most active regions and that in the first edition, I repeat, without having any record, the fact that we have been able to have the second-best national team is very important for giving more visibility to the competition, to the talent of our region and to break certain stereotypes. I am very satisfied and proud of all the participant teams and I hope that it serves to encourage and tomorrow we will have an Andalusian team representing Spain in GMC internationally.
I appreciate very much your words, your personal support and also the support of EUROAVIA to our competition because we need support like yours.