Michigan State University and the Broad College of Business are home to students who come from all around the world and bring their unique backgrounds along with them — but they don’t all make the trip with the same frequency. Passionate about being a Spartan, Frank Cano Aristondo travels from Peru to East Lansing every month to be part of the Executive MBA program.
Cano has over a decade of experience in supply chain management and project management under his belt. He completed his undergraduate degree in industrial engineering and master’s degrees in supply chain management in Peru and abroad, in Spain. Working in 10 countries across Latin America, his long-term professional goal is to be regional manager at a top multinational company whose competitive advantage is supply chain.
Previously, he focused on enhancing his technical knowledge, but he recognized that an EMBA would set him on the path toward becoming a regional manager, giving him the skills to shift his career from supply chain to general management. Cano was confident that MSU would be the place for him to make this transformation and has become the first student from Peru to be part of the EMBA program, attending through the Flex option.
In this Q&A, Cano discusses his passion for MSU and the value of having diverse experiences and a global perspective in business.
Broad News: What inspired you to pursue an Executive MBA? Why were you determined to pursue the EMBA program at MSU specifically?
Cano: My dream was always to study at a top university in the United States, and the Broad College of Business has a strong reputation for the EMBA, supply chain and finance programs. Broad has the best program to gain the leadership and critical thinking skills that I’m looking for in an Executive MBA because of its excellent curriculum and for its collaborative learning culture, by which I will exchange real experiences with my classmates and professors and learn new ways of working worldwide.
The program also has the Global Marketplace course, which focuses on the opportunities, costs and risks of conducting business outside the United States. The program highlights a specific region that has a diverse culture and an emerging economy. I will gain firsthand experience with the business and culture of this destination, and I am excited to learn where we will travel next year.
Finally, the life balance was very important in my decision. The Broad College is top in this approach as well, and this is the reason why I can continue working while I study in the program. I gain more knowledge every day from both my professional life and my academic life and at the same time immediately put this new knowledge and real-world experience into practice in my organization to add value.
Broad News: What is it like to have travel arrangements to East Lansing once a month? What are some of your favorite things about being a Spartan that makes the travel well worth it?
Cano: I have had to organize my schedule from 2022 until 2024 — arranging my trips to East Lansing with my business trips, my activities in my work, my sports activities, my daily activities, the time with my family and others, to ensure that I will have the best balance between them during the program. Because I have connecting flights in different cities in the United States, I am taking advantage of this to get to know new places and to become better involved with American culture and its value. In a nutshell, a wonderful experience!
My favorite thing about being a Spartan is being a part of MSU’s culture, values and brand. When it is time to start my next trip to MSU, I am very excited because I know I get to meet with my team, classmates and professors again to collaboratively work to be better professionals. I share great moments outside the classroom by bonding with my classmates and going to see MSU football games to cheer on our team with our dear Sparty and to scream, “Go Green!”
Broad News: What are some memorable experiences you’ve had during your program thus far? What are some challenges you’ve had to navigate?
Cano: I enjoyed a lot of the residency time because I had missed working very hard to learn different courses at the same time and at a high level. Going to classes all day, doing group projects after classes, working on our individual projects for each course and finishing the day by studying, reviewing the concepts or exercises for the quizzes the next day has been wonderful.
I remember very well my first days and the orientation classes. I was very nervous because I knew that I had to become involved quickly with my team and the program, and, as a Latin American, the first barrier would be the language and cultural differences. The first days were difficult for me, but I was very happy because I was out of my comfort zone. During the kickoff meeting of the program, our leaders mentioned my country, Peru, as a highlight in the EMBA Class of 2024, which I was very proud of.
Nowadays, I continue to work to be a better classmate and professional because each day I have new challenges, facing them with passion. For example, a few weeks ago I had my first presentation in class in front of the entire cohort. The case that our group worked on was about cultural differences throughout business, and I was able to share my prior experiences as an example. I would like to recognize and thank my great Team 16 for their big support — Sara O’Connor, Elizabeth Strong, Nathan Roulo, Harry Kim — and all my classmates. Without them, none of this would be possible.
Broad News: What advice do you have for fellow international Broad Spartans?
Cano: First, I invite you to always think big. If you have a dream, you must fight for it. The process will be difficult but will be worth it in the end.
Second, you will always find an opportunity for your development around the world. You only must know your strengths very well and, through them, find the opportunities. Remember, the world is waiting for you. Go ahead!
My mindset is “Receive to give.” It’s a phrase that I have built through the learnings from different leaders during my experience in transnational organizations. To me, this phrase means to receive knowledge, experience and advice from others and, in parallel, to share this knowledge with other people to positively impact our world. This phrase has been key in my life because, putting it into practice, I have stayed updated on new trends and helped enhance the soft skills of many people in my network through coaching and mentoring sessions.
If you are an international Broad Spartan, first, connect with me because, as you know, networking is one of the most important parts that we must develop during our programs. In addition to this, we will exchange experiences or difficulties, reflect together and have additional extrinsic motivation after these powerful conversations. Remember that each day is a new day to learn something new or overcome some difficulties, and if you make mistakes, you gain experience for the next time.
MSU recognizes National Hispanic Heritage Month, and our community is coming together to strengthen resources, programs, research centers and scholarships serving Hispanic and Latinx students at MSU. Learn more at givingto.msu.edu.