My name is Alvaro Montoya, and I am known by Chinese friends as 梦龙. I was born in Lima, Peru, but I grew up in Barcelona. During my time in university, while studying my telecom engineering degree, I was always curious about the corporate world. How is it to work in a multinational telecom company? Who are the CEOs and executives from these tech companies? Do they have interesting lives? In order to learn more about the corporate world, I started to work as a chauffeur for one of the most important telecom events in Barcelona, where many CEOs, vice presidents, and relevant entrepreneurs from all over the world gather together to do presentations about their latest products and company developments. My goal was to find an opportunity to meet some of these people and learn from them. I drove all sorts of telecom executives, like the CEO of Nokia, the CEO of Etisalat, and others around Barcelona, showing them the hidden and charming spots of the city, and even asking them to hang out with me after their meetings. Honestly, I seized every opportunity to learn from them! And it was worth it. I learnt a lot about their lives, how much passion they had for what they do, and how hard you have to work to become a CEO or executive in a multinational telecom company.
我叫 Alvaro Montoya，中国朋友都叫我“梦龙”。我在秘鲁利马出生，在西班牙巴塞罗那长大。我学的是电信工程专业，一直对电信企业充满好奇。在一家跨国电信公司工作是怎样的体验？这些科技公司的总裁和高管是谁？他们的生活有趣吗？为了更了解电信企业，我参加了在巴塞罗那举办的一场电信盛会，担任司机。来自世界各地的电信企业总裁、副总裁等企业家欢聚一堂，介绍他们公司的最新产品和未来发展。我的目标是找机会认识他们，向他们学习。我载着各位电信企业高管，包括诺基亚、阿联酋电信的总裁，在巴塞罗那四处转悠，向他们展示这座城市的隐藏景点，甚至邀请他们会议结束后一起游玩。讲真，我抓住了每一个向他们取经的机会！这一切都是值得的，我受益匪浅。我了解了他们的日常生活，体会到了他们对工作抱有多大的热情，知道了要成为一家跨国电信公司的总裁或高管必须付出多大的努力。
One of the executives I drove around Barcelona was very impressed with my service, and talked highly of me to his company. The next thing I knew, I was in charge of driving the CEO of Huawei, Ren Zhengfei himself, with some other vice presidents of Huawei around the city. The conversations with them were very inspiring, to the point that their advice changed my life direction. They told me how China was the place for telecommunications engineers like me. “You already know Spanish and English; learn Chinese and come to China. We need people like you, with good communication skills and a technological background.” And since I am a person who loves challenges (challenge accepted!), the very next week I started my Chinese lessons, and over the next 2 years, I balanced my university studies, Chinese classes, and my work as a chauffeur.
From that day, my new goal was clear. I wanted to go to China to develop my professional career in the telecom industry. And that’s what I did. In 2011, I went to Beijing to study for the last year of my engineering degree. Since I really wanted to learn Chinese, I opted for the Beijing Institute of Technology, where there weren’t many foreigners, and some of them, like the Koreans, didn’t speak English well, so we all had to communicate in Chinese. This helped me improve my Chinese a lot, which was my obsession during my first year in China. You won’t believe me, but during the first year, I went to very few parties and traveled very little. All I did was study Chinese.
After finishing my studies, when my Chinese was good enough, I took a leap of faith. I reached out to one of Huawei’s vice presidents who gave me his contact information back in Barcelona when I was his driver, and kindly asked him for a position at the company. After one year of preparation, I really wanted to join Huawei. The HR manager reached out to me saying that since I was from Spain and had Peruvian roots, a position in South America or Europe would fit best for me. I refused. I really wanted to work in China, especially after learning the language for one year! “Let’s see what I can do,” said the HR manager…
A few days later, he contacted me and offered an interview for a position in Shenzhen! Unfortunately, the interview did not go well. It was a remote interview with 3 huge screens, 1 interviewer on each, and all of the questions were in Chinese… In the end, 2 people voted no, and I didn’t get the job.
I kept on looking for jobs. At that time, the economic crisis had hit Spain very hard. My dad lost his job and said he could only support me for another two or three months at most. My race began. Applying for jobs became my full-time job. I would send over 200 CVs a day. I remember taking the bus every morning to downtown Beijing, applying to international telecom companies. But 2 months passed and I had no luck, so I started applying for Chinese companies as well. Over the phone I started to sound like a local Chinese person and they were stunned when they saw a foreigner show up for the interview. Finally, one of them hired me!
我继续求职。那时候，经济危机对西班牙的打击非常大。我父亲失业了，他说最多只能再支持我两三个月。求职竞赛开始了，求职成为我的全职工作。我一天要投 200 多份简历。我记得每天早上都要坐车到北京市区，向跨国电信公司提交求职申请。两个月过去了，幸运女神并没有眷顾我，我开始申请中国公司。电话交流时，我的口音听起来像中国人，但他们却看到一个外国人出现在面试现场，目瞪口呆。最后，一家中国公司录用了我！
I started working for a local company in the automobile industry. I worked there for 2 years and absolutely everything was in Chinese: calls, meetings, emails. It was so stressful but I learned so much! 2 years later, I quit, and was totally lost about my next step. At one point, I attended a birthday party where I happened to meet someone who worked at Microsoft. I gathered my courage and told him working for Microsoft would be my dream! Surprisingly, he told me he knew someone who was hiring and put me in touch with that department. I ended up working there for 1.5 years.
I felt fulfilled working for Microsoft in China. I managed a team of 6 people and we worked a lot, way more than I did at the Chinese company, until one day, when everything changed. Sadly, my mom passed away from cancer. This made me reconsider my whole career. Why was I working so much? Was I really doing what made me happy? I was angry at the world, and my desires had changed. I wanted to do something I loved and stop working so much for other people’s goals. I decided to do an MBA program at Tsinghua University.
在中国微软工作，我感到很充实。我管理着一个 6 人的团队，每天都很忙，比我在之前的公司忙得多。直到有一天，生活发生了变故，我妈妈因癌症去世了。母亲的离世让我重新考虑我的职业生涯。我为什么要这么努力工作？我做的事情真的能让我快乐吗？我开始愤世，未来的向往也发生改变。我想做自己喜欢的事情，不再为完成别人的目标而努力工作。我决定来清华大学攻读 MBA（工商管理硕士）。
During my MBA, I joined every startup competition I could. Since I like coding, I created prototypes and showed them in the competitions. One of my prototypes got second prize, so Tsinghua’s startup incubator encouraged me to use the prize money to start my own business. And so I did! After my MBA, I joined the startup world, and I have been with my own company, Akkadu.com, for 4 years.
就读 MBA 期间，我尽己所能参加创业比赛。我喜欢编程，所以我设计了许多原型参加比赛。一个原型获得了二等奖，所以清华的创业孵化基地鼓励我拿这笔奖金来创业。说做就做！读完 MBA 后，我加入了创业大军，开创了自己的公司 Akkadu.com，奋斗了 4 年。
The startup world is mad. There are so many ups and downs. Teams change, ideas evolve, the market changes, and sometimes I feel lonely. But I have never given up on my vision: to help people understand each other, regardless of language.
My vision started back in Spain. I realized how biased I was about other countries. Usually, news about other countries is negative, and so we develop unfair stereotypes. So, I was surprised to meet so many Arab or Asian clients as a chauffeur who were so smart, so kind. I realized if there were no language barriers, we could learn from other cultures and countries by ourselves without having to rely only on the “news,” and this would definitely make this world a better place.
I am very stubborn and not afraid. I do not give up and challenges make me feel alive, and that, combined with all the opportunities that China has given me, has made me who I am today.
This is my story. Thanks for reading!
“Don’t wait for things to happen, make them happen!”