Bringing technology to the world's students
Michael de la Cruz, MBA '99, Senior Marketing Manager, Intel World Ahead
“More and more countries are realizing the positive effect of students using PCs and other technology to enhance their learning both inside the classroom and at home,” says de la Cruz. “We have seen great adoption of education solutions based on the Intel Learning Series among primary school students in both mature and emerging markets.
“This type of progress hits home for me,” he adds, “since I’ll have four children in primary school over the next few years.”
De la Cruz recently returned to the United States after five years in Shanghai, China, where he completed two different assignments for Intel. In his first role, he led a team that worked closely with local Chinese PC manufacturers to grow their notebook PC sales. They used both marketing and product development programs to help manufacturers launch new products based on Intel’s latest microprocessors.
He later moved to the education sector. Teaming up with a new product group, de la Cruz focused on developing affordable education solutions to bring information and communication technology (ICT) to primary school children throughout the world. Much of his work involved launching and selling solutions based on the Intel Learning Series, a program designed for one-to-one “e-learning” tailored to the needs of local communities in classrooms around the world.
“There is still incredible opportunity to enable millions of students with technology, especially in primary schools, and in both mature and emerging markets,” says de la Cruz. “For me, it is a rewarding opportunity to contribute to growing Intel’s business in education as more countries focus on developing twenty-first century skills among their student populations.”
This enormous potential is also rife with obstacles, however. For example, simply giving a PC to a student in a remote area of a developing country does not mean that he or she will become a better learner, notes de la Cruz. Technology may offer access to information, but considerable effort and resources are necessary to educate consumers about how to use it effectively.
Adopting new technology creates a ripple effect that requires new thinking in teaching methodology, improvements in infrastructure, and new business models to ensure access to technology is sustainable. Moreover, continuous innovation in new technologies brings marketplace opportunities and challenges that are constantly evolving.
Fortunately, that’s exactly what makes working in technology exciting for de la Cruz.
Anyone considering a career in ICT should think about global opportunities and identify overseas targets early on, advises de la Cruz. You can learn a lot from your international classmates. “When I was at the Johnson School, there was a mantra of ‘take a foreign student to lunch.’ This is a fun and easy way to learn more about them and the places where they come from. At a minimum, you walk away with a new friend and host for your next vacation abroad.”
The opportunity to live and work abroad in China with his family was one of the most exciting experiences of his career, says de la Cruz. “China is one of the most dynamically changing and fast-paced places one could ever work,” he says. “My family and I had a great time learning the language and experiencing the culture.”