Born and raised in Colombia, Juan Francisco Horrillo has lived in a variety of countries and is no stranger to diverse environments. After a degree in mechanical engineering, Juan was looking for a way to fill the gaps he saw in his skill set in regard to data and its role in the energy transition. He decided to pursue the Master in Business Analytics and Big Data Part-Time to stay ahead of the curve in the fast-paced world.
Juan Francisco Horrillo started his academic journey with a mechanical engineering degree from the University of Los Andes in Colombia. A few years later, he moved to the United Kingdom to study for a master’s in project management. He’s lived in Norway, Scotland, England, Chile, Spain, Abu Dhabi, and is currently living in Dubai, working for a consultancy firm that supports energy companies on projects through different stages, including project reviews, appraisals and risk management.
Since his first master’s program, Juan’s entire career has been in the energy sector, specifically focused on work related to offshore oil and gas projects. He’s always been interested in project management and in his current role, he’s worked alongside clients ranging from oil companies, service companies and law firms to investors.
His decision to study the Master in Business Analytics and Big Data Part-Time came from two different realizations in his current role. The first being that energy companies are gearing up for an energy transition, but businesses aren’t utilizing the amount of data they have and are just starting to realize that there’s value in data. The second was the nature of his roles. One of Juan’s responsibilities is working on disputes or project reviews. At the end of the project, all that’s left is the data. Juan saw a gap in his skills because he wasn’t able to process the data and support clients throughout the reviews and disputes.
The Master in Business Analytics and Big Data Part-Time was Juan’s opportunity to upskill and fill that gap.
The part-time format of the program gave Juan the opportunity to further develop his consultancy skills with data-based knowledge without leaving his job. Plus, his cohort allowed him to work alongside people with similar experiences. His aim is to find a career where he can help companies in the energy sector take advantage of the data they produce.
Throughout the program, Juan quickly realized that data is everywhere. “The program really opened my eyes to the fact that there are many ways you can utilize data—ways I did not expect.” He also learned how quickly data moves, especially as the program allowed his cohort to see things change and shift throughout its duration. The students saw things that were not possible at the beginning of the program that became possible later on. “I quickly learned that you’d better get on board the data train or you’ll get run over by it.”
Juan has worked on four different continents, but he explains that his experience at IE University is even more diverse and special.
The chance to work alongside teammates from all continents and other backgrounds on one team presented a different challenge, especially as each person has their own perspective. He learned a lot about leading with empathy and, as the class representative, he also had to make sure he heard everyone’s opinion, took everyone’s priorities into account and made the best decision for the team, even if it wasn’t the most popular one.
Juan is currently starting a new project in Paris, which involves working with three or four different nationalities.
The program helped him learn to manage time zones, work with multiple schedules and solve conflicts confidently to reach a common goal—something he will use in his day-to-day.
When it comes to advice for potential students, Juan says not to hesitate. In fact, he wishes he would have done it sooner, “so if you’re thinking about it, don’t think too much.” He explains the experience as challenging but amazing, noting that they both suffered and enjoyed the process. The best part of Juan was the chance to meet face-to-face and work together after building such a strong bond online. He also enjoyed visiting companies and seeing how they’re applying data, as well as gaining soft skills along the way. Finally, Juan is appreciative of the incredible community he gained through the program. He felt supported throughout the entire process, from application to graduation.