Our University Spotlight Series isn’t over, (don’t worry!) but we thought it was time to share the experiences of another important group in the Sage Corps community: our City Managers!
Sage Corps City Managers, to put it simply, are rock stars. They live in each of our program cities and serve as resources and mentors for our fellows throughout their fellowships. They are immersed in the startup ecosystems in their cities and are passionate about entrepreneurship.
They are an integral part of the Sage Corps team, and we are so grateful to have worked with so many amazing City Managers over the years!
First up in our City Manager Spotlight Series is Juan Martin Maglione, Sage Corps City Manager in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Tell us a little about yourself - where are you from? Where did you go to school? What are your interests?
"I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1989. I studied in Buenos Aires and the Netherlands, and graduated from college with a Business Administration Degree and an International Business Consultancy Specialization. I also have a Masters Degree in Strategic and Technology Management from ITBA (Instituto Tecnológico de Buenos Aires)."
What are you currently doing? (Where do you work and what do you do?)
"I am currently working at Cognitiva, an IBM Watson Strategic Partner, where I work to provide cognitive and artificial intelligence computing solutions to improve the quality of life in Latin America, transforming the way companies make decisions."
How did you first become interested in the startup industry? Why do you find it so interesting?
"People who start their own business have a different point of view than those who have never gone off to create something of their own. Entrepreneurs are known for seeing a problem and thinking of an innovative and original way of addressing it. They approach opportunities differently, and are constantly finding new solutions to make the most out of their time and work. This is something that I find fascinating.
I am amazed at the strength and conviction of every entrepreneur I have ever met. I feel that Theodore Roosevelt summarizes it very well in the following quote:
“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deed could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”"
What about the startup industry in Argentina, specifically in Buenos Aires, do you find unique and exciting?
"Startup culture is heavily growing around the world, and has been highly competitive in Buenos Aires in the last 10 years. Something to highlight from Argentina is that 92% of companies are SMEs, (small and medium size enterprises) and that 98% of those SMEs are family businesses. So, we could say that entrepreneurship is in the blood of this country."
What interested you in the City Manager position? Why did you decide to apply?
"When Matt told me about the Sage Corps program, I thought it was fantastic. Several years ago, I went to study in Eindohven, Holland, and it was one of the best experiences of my life. I felt that I had to get involved with something similar if I could when I returned home. That's why I also started teaching at a local university."
What has been the most rewarding aspect of your experience as a City Manager?
"I think that seeing the changes in a student’s personality, behavior, and confidence between when he arrives in Buenos Aires and when he leaves is something that always draws my attention. I feel that this program is a journey that, besides giving a student thousands of professional benefits, gives cultural and social value as well. The fellows leave the country with a much higher level of maturity, which reflects their different experiences here."
In your experience, in what ways has the culture of Argentina had a positive influence on Sage Corps fellows? How does this enrich their experience as interns?
"Argentine culture has been a huge influence on every fellow. Why? Because Argentina is unique! Do you know of any other country where a TV is bought in 50 payments, but a house must be paid for in cash? Do you know of any other country with more than 4 values of currency (black market, white market, blue market, etc.)? No!
Every fellow who lives here will learn so much about finances, decision making, and politics."
What was your favorite event with your cohort this summer?
"I would say our visit to Adtomic, the startup founded by Santiago Piredda, (my best friend) and the Choripan Lunch in Properati were my favorite events. At the Choripan lunch, some of the fellows learned how to cook a proper “Argentine Asado”. They did a great job!"
What is one piece of advice you would give to prospective fellows?
“It's not what you study, it's what you do. Never stop doing.”
Thank you, Juan, for all of your hard work as a Sage Corps City Manager! We are lucky to have you on our team, and our Buenos Aires fellows are lucky to have you as a mentor.
Stay tuned for more City Manger spotlights on the Sage Corps blog.
Want to learn more about Sage Corps's Buenos Aires fellowship? Think you're ready for the challenge?