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Ruben Rodriguez: Embracing diversity and excellence at Peking University
Jul 08, 2024
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Ruben Rodriguez is a Spanish student currently completing his studies at Peking University's Guanghua School of Management, as part of the “Future Leaders” Program. Ruben has lived in many different places starting from the age of 14. He has lived in Canada, the U.S., Spain, and China (in Shanghai and Beijing), all of them granting him different connections, opportunities, and views on life. He enjoys adventures, learning languages, and above all, football. His career plan is to gain experience and build his own business in the future. Upon his graduation, PKU News is publishing an interview touching on his studies, campus life, and future plans.

Name one or two big accomplishments in your life so far. Describe an experience that you are proud of or that you find unique.

One of the main accomplishments I am very proud of was representing the Madrid-Spain National Football Team at the age of 14. I had been working hard and training many hours per week under a very good coach who helped instill in me discipline, hard work, and the belief that anything is possible if you work hard for it - “Even if there’s a big talent in you, competition will eventually catch up.”
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Madrid-Spain National Football Team 2015-2016

A second and more recent accomplishment that gave me lots of joy was getting the HSK 5 Chinese proficiency certificate in the summer of 2023. I dedicated many hours, effort, and sweat that year into learning the Chinese language, both with a teacher and by myself, all while handling my academic and career goals. It was a challenging journey, but the reward is worth it: a deeper connection with China and its people.  

What led you to pursue a bachelor’s degree in China? Why did you choose the Future Leaders Program?

My connection with China goes a long way back to when I first started learning the Chinese language as a 10-year-old. This was primarily through the efforts of my parents since my father worked in a Chinese company located in Madrid and saw the diligence and huge potential of the Chinese people. He hoped that I would have a head start by learning Chinese, in case China actually became what it is today.

After living in North America, I decided it was time to put my skills to the test and move to China for grades 11 and 12, for a complete culture shift and the deepening of my language skills. Following high school, I chose to attend IE and join the “Future Leaders” Program to take my Chinese proficiency further, as well as collaborate with some of China’s top students, learn from great mentors and professors, and build a network for future opportunities.

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Where it all began: Ruben’s early journey into Chinese.

What impressed you most during your time in this program? (e.g. courses, professor, event, Future Leaders community, your perceptions about China, etc.

What most impressed me about this program is the way it unites high-achieving individuals from across the globe, each of them sharing my view of China as a place for huge self-growth, network, and future potential. This environment has really given me the chance to meet many success-oriented and like-minded people who strive for prominent roles in the future. This creates a community of healthy competition and motivation, but beyond that, it has been a place for forging amazing and valuable long-term friendships.

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Future Leaders Cohort, the Class of 2024

In what way does this program contribute to your personal/professional development in the future?

This program has contributed a lot to my personal growth, pushing me beyond my comfort zone to explore a different lifestyle in terms of culture, traditions, and thought processes. It has also taught me how to adapt and navigate obstacles successfully, setting me up for the future. 

Professionally, I believe that it grants access and connects you to an elite academic community, cutting-edge study material, technology, and plenty of resources to have at your disposal to propel your career path with confidence and benefit from insightful mentorship.  

What do you like to do in your spare time? Tell us more about your hobbies, talents, community activities, volunteer experiences, etc.

Sports have always been a passion of mine, with football ranking at the top of my list. That is why I joined the Guanghua Football Team in 2022 — I am still part of it now, as I find joy in playing team sports and striving for collective awards. Last year, our team won the “Freshman Cup”, and I was honored to receive the Top Scorer Award for the season. It has been an amazing experience where hard work meets the joy of friendship and the love of the game.
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Huddling for a game

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Winning the Freshman Cup of the season 2022-2023.

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Receiving the Top Scorer Award for the season 2022-2023

In addition to sports, I have also been a “student ambassador” for PKU during my time in China. I have helped represent my home university at various international fairs at PKU and filmed several promotional videos to amplify the university’s presence. Additionally, I was also elected as the “Future Leaders” representative for the 2022-2023 iteration of the prestigious Guanghua New Year Forum.
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Guanghua New Year Forum 2022-2023.

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Rodriguez featured in a promotional video for Peking University.

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Ruben doing the “SIUUU”

Upon graduation, Ruben plans to return to Spain to start his career in strategic consulting, leveraging the knowledge and skills he acquired in China. In the long term, he envisions returning to China to start his own business, driven by the opportunities and connections he has built during his time at Peking University.

"To the teachers and friends at Peking University: Thank you for your unwavering support and guidance. Your encouragement and companionship have shaped my journey, and I will forever cherish the wonderful memories we have created together," he said.
As Ruben steps into the future, he carries with him the rich experiences, friendships, and knowledge gained at Peking University. His story is a testament to the power of cultural exchange, academic excellence, and the unyielding spirit of a true global citizen.

This story is featured in PKU News' "Graduation 2024" series.

Written by: Wong Qian Yu
Edited by: Yang Ruoxiang
Photos by: Courtesy of Ruben Rodriguez