Vice Minister of Mines of Peru
Hometown: Lima, Peru
Grad school: Colorado School of Mines, MS Mineral Economics, 2004
Undergrad: Universidad del Pacifico, BS Economics, 2001
Why did you choose Mines, and more specifically, the MinEc program?
RLF: As an economist involved in the mining sector, I felt the need to enhance my technical knowledge in mining. I’ve always heard good things about Mines and met some MinEc alumni. One of my mentors studied in the MinEc program in the 80s; she encouraged me to enroll in the program.
Tell me about your experience at Mines. What stands out in your mind?
RLF: I have great memories from my days in Golden. The faculty is first class and there is a great group of international students. I still keep contact with some of my fellow students. While we haven’t seen one another in years, when we catch up, it’s as if no time has passed: that is real and strong friendship. Indeed, we’re like family and we try to look after each other. The diversity in gender, geography, experience and generation enriched the knowledge. The exchange of different experiences and cultures enhanced what we learned in class.
Tell me about Peru’s Ministry of Energy and Mines and your role there.
RLF: The Ministry of Energy and Mines is the maximum authority in the extractives sector in Peru. It’s in charge of creating the norms and the promotion of the mining sector in Peru. I see my main role as creating the appropriate environment and conditions so private investment can develop mines under the highest environmental and social standards and Peru can translate its mineral richness into development.
Where do you most use your MinEc training and how did it prepare you for this job?
RLF: It gave me the technical basis to combine my pure economic background with the mining sector. This knowledge was later complemented with a mining legal program from another institution. I think studying abroad helped me better understanding other cultures, which is indeed what I deal with today. Most mining investment in Peru is foreign.
What are the biggest challenges new graduates face in the marketplace in terms of building a successful career?
RLF: First, graduates must have very clear and strong values. Second, they must build their reputation every day. Third, do not minimize any opportunity that presents itself; one never knows what is behind the next door that will open. Fourth, graduates must look for excellence in whatever they do, but be pragmatic at the same time. Fifth, don’t forget that one deals with people, so treat them as you wish to be treated; and also teach them, remember that you were there at some point, and build your network. Finally, find balance between your work and personal life.
From a curricular perspective, identify key areas of excellence that MinEc should emphasize to better prepare graduates for the workplace.
RLF: Soft skills are key nowadays; introducing negotiation and leadership courses could add a lot of value to the program.
Do you have anything else to add?
RLF: I’m very proud of my decision to study at Mines. Everywhere I go, the school is identified and recognized as very well reputed. I would like to come back and share my experience with faculty and current students.