Dani Pedroso: "Schiller shapes people to be international citizens"
February 21, 2023
All Knowledge Areas
*Interview by Sonia Alegre, Schiller Alumni
Dani Pedroso graduated from Schiller Madrid with a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations and Diplomacy in 2003, and with a Major in International Business in 2022. He is a senior executive with strong expertise in the renewable energy sector having worked both in the manufacturing and the development and building of renewable energy assets. His outstanding career took him to Spain, UK, Dominican Republic, China, Hong Kong, the Middle East, and the Indian subcontinent. He currently works for an Emirati conglomerate, Al Khayyat Investments, and is the founding member and Chief Development Officer of Three Eight Six , an energy company that provides investment, develops and operates renewable energy assets in the MENAT region to maximize value and long term returns for investors.
Why did you choose Schiller?
I went to Schiller because of my brother, whom is 12 years older than me. He studied in Schiller in the Dunedin and Madrid campuses. I started at the Heidelberg campus because my mother is German and my dad really wanted me to go to Germany to practice my German and be closer to my family that lives in Frankurt.
What memories do you have from your time in Schiller?
I remember well Heidelberg; it is a small, picturesque student town in Germany. At the time, it was close to the three largest US foreign bases outside of the US which made it very international as well as beautiful town where I also happened to meet my wife. We studied together at Schiller, so I have excellent memories from Heidelberg. I would go back time and be there again any time. After Heidelberg I went to Madrid because some of my friends transferred to the Madrid campus so they could learn Spanish and because I wanted to be closer to my dad and do an internship at his company to start getting used to working.
Recently, before the pandemic, and for compliance matters, I had to go back to Schiller to upgrade my diploma to international business. Although I studied international relations and diplomacy, my career has been all in the private sector. However, it did help me a lot to understand multiple cultures, improve my communication skills, getting used to new environments and mingling with the locals and trying to be part of the local societies.
In my re-enrollment Schiller was very helpful and accommodated me in every sense. I had a time restriction, and they did everything possible for me to manage to complete in the period of time that I was ask to. They were very helpful, and I don't have enough good words for them for multiple reasons.
How has Schiller impacted your career?
Schiller has helped my career in many ways. The key one is I keep in touch with many friends from around the world. Some of them have made my journey a lot easier when getting into new countries. I also thank Schiller for exposing me to so many different nationalities and cultures in different countries.
Also, I learnt to adapt quite fast to being away from home and became very resilient. You learn to find your way around quickly, although maybe some people suffer a bit more in academics or because they miss their families, but everybody was very close to each other and you support each other. So, you do make friends for life. And, I can say, I have quite a few of them.
Since you were in Schiller in 2000-2003 and then recently in 2022, how has Schiller changed or improved since then?
Well, education, I think in general has changed thanks to technology. As long as you have a computer, you can be a student. Also, software drives students to do good work. You can’t copy and paste without getting caught so you have to put the hours and the effort to deliver proper content, which I believe this is quite positive in comparison to before.
Schiller was and still is an international university, with multiple nationalities on campus and closed groups that go from campus to campus and get exposed to different environments. I believe now Schiller is becoming more sophisticated. They have all these amazing collaboration agreements with leading companies related to cutting-edge technology and the future sciences which is great. Back then, we didn´t have this, it was more of this fraternal type of relationship. Campuses had dormitories and we all became very close, or people shared accommodation, like in Madrid, and that was really good. In any case, I think then and now Schiller is excellent. I have had a great experience in both of my experiences at Schiller. And I know for a fact that the previous generation, which was my brother, James, also had a great experience.
Are there any particular anecdotes or people that you remember that you would like to share with us?
I remember well Dr. Schwarzkopf, who was our business law teacher, he was a very good teacher and left me with a good memory. Also, George Collinson, in the Madrid campus. He taught micro and macroeconomics and we all loved him. I also remember Duncan Shaw. I enjoyed very much his lectures in international relations and history. And then one that I will never forget is Ianna Contardo for business. Also, during my recent Schiller experience, I really liked my accounting teacher and Dr William Scott Wilson, my sustainable development teacher. I really enjoyed how he brought in speakers to the classes that were very valuable.
What message would you like to send to current Schiller students and readers of this blog?
I am very proud to have studied in Schiller. I also consider myself lucky to have met all the people that I have met in Schiller, including my wife. And I wouldn't change my experience at Schiller anything at all. I think Schiller shapes people to be international citizens. Everybody puts in the effort that they want, so you get your education according to that effort, but they definitely get exposed to having the opportunity to learn as much as they want. The quality of the teachers is very high, so it's up to every student to decide how much they want to take, how much value they want to grab from their life experience. Last but not least I would encourage everyone to take as much as they can, because they will regret it if they don't.