02 August 2021

From Colombia to Mashfrog: Juan David's success story

Juan David, a Functional Analyst in the MES program, has been with the Mashfrog Group since June 2019. He shared with us how he came to our company and what motivated him to move to Italy from faraway Colombia.

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He is 26 years old, originally from Colombia and has been in Italy for almost five years. Juan David joined Mashfrog in June 2019 after having excelled in one of the many on-the-job training programmes organised by the company to train young talent. Today he is a Functional Analyst in Prysmian's MES - Fast-Track Programme, but his growth path began several years ago, when he chose to finish his studies in our country. In this short interview, he spoke to us about his experiences and expressed his views on the differences and similarities between the country he lives in, Italy, and the country he holds in his heart, Colombia.

What was your study path?

I obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Industrial Engineering at a university in the heart of my home city of Bogotá, Colombia. I then decided to continue my education in Italy, where I concluded my studies by taking a Master's Degree in Engineering Management at Turin Polytechnic.  

I have always been very interested in process management within the manufacturing and IT sectors, both at a strategic and operational level. Which is why I chose that course, which was by far the most comprehensive and suited to my expectations and passions. 

What prompted you to finish your studies in Italy?

At my university in Colombia, the most deserving and successful students have the opportunity to finish their studies at a European university. Given the cultural affinity and the excellent quality of life, I chose to move to this beautiful country. So, a year before finishing my studies in Colombia, I started to learn Italian, because an intermediate level of the language was required, even though the course was taught in English. Then in 2016, I was chosen to participate in the double degree programme and won a scholarship for the Master's Degree in Engineering Management at Turin Polytechnic.

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What are the main differences you have found between Colombian and Italian universities?

One of the main differences I found is that a lot of autonomy and independence is required in Italy compared to the Colombian method. Even though the university programme is guided, everyone decides their own learning pace and you have to know when to pause in order to go deeper into a particular subject or speed up on others. In Colombia there are several exams during the semester and there are also weekly assignments that count towards the final course grade.

Also, for the Italian exams you have to be very prepared on all the topics covered during the semester, so the amount of material to learn is greater and with only one exam that basically assesses the entire course, the pressure and stress level felt higher. 

Do you find any kinship between Colombian and Italian culture?

Definitely yes, even if there are differences between our cultures, the most important things are similar. The passion for what you do and the desire to push forward are a meeting point, we are passionate people who put our hearts into what we do.

The love for our country and traditions is another common point, we always seek to raise our country's profile and we are very proud of our traditions. This also leads others to appreciate the things we value.

We are similar on other things too, such as our passion for coffee, with Italy being the best in the world at making it and Colombia the best in the world at growing it, but also football, where the national team stops the country every time it plays, and also the value of family, lunches at grandma's house and a love of cooking

What do you do at Mashfrog? What are the main projects you're involved in?

At the moment, I am working on two projects at the same time in the Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) field: one is the implementation of the Fast-Track application for Prysmian  and the other is the AMS for a different plant. I am part of the Functional Programming Team, where we deal with the requirements capture, design, testing, maintenance and implementation of the plant's MES. We use the Delmia APRISO tool and interface it with the ERP (SAP) at Prysmian.

Do you feel adequately integrated in your working environment?

Yes, I feel I fit in well. I work within a very dynamic and agile group with colleagues from Mashfrog and also different companies. I have been lucky enough to work with very capable people at Mashfrog, who have guided me from the beginning of my career and supported me in every situation and this has been fundamental for my professional growth. That's why, after joining the company, I decided to move to Milan, where I still work today. I am happy to work for a company that grows and expands every day, with a vision of continuous innovation, offering different clients the opportunity to progress towards the fulfilment of their objectives. 

What do you miss most about your home country?

What I definitely miss the most is my family. The path I chose meant that I had to leave them behind. I have a very close relationship with my family and since I have no brothers or sisters, it was difficult for my parents, especially my mother. However, we all knew that it was the right course and that some sacrifices are necessary to achieve this goal

I also miss Sundays at my grandmother's eating Ajiaco Santafereño (a typical dish from my region) in the company of my aunts, uncles and cousins. Playing cards and laughing together. Fortunately, I've always had the support of my whole family and with the advantages we have now, it's easy to meet up a few times a year, both in Colombia and in Italy. 

Another thing I miss is the friends I grew up with in Colombia. Every time I go, I try to see them and, even though we don't see each other very often, when we do, it feels like no time has passed.