Last November, he was elected as the general student representative of the CEU Cardenal Herrera University. It’s a challenge which fits in well with his background: he’s studying for a Dual Degree in Political Science and Business Management, he’s a CEU Merit Scholarship holder, he’s the President of the Debating Club, and he’s also determined to get the most out of all the learning opportunities university life has to offer. Let’s meet Pablo Suárez.
In October, you were elected as the student representative for your faculty, and then, a month later, you were chosen as the general student representative for the whole university. What motivated you to take on this challenge?
Personally, I’ve always enjoyed representing other people and showing participative leadership. That’s how I can best listen to the students and defend their interests.
And the students around me have a lot to do with it too. Last year, several friends and faculty representatives put forward my candidacy. And in the end we were successful.
‘Being the general student representative is one most exciting challenges of my life so far.’
How did you feel when you found out you’d been chosen?
There’s no doubt that being the general student representative is one most exciting challenges of my life so far. I’m proud of representing almost 10,000 people. And, of course, there’s a lot of responsibility that comes with that, as I have act in the best interests of the students, which may not coincide with my own personal interests.
Absolutely. What were and are your priorities? What’s your assessment of your achievements so far?
A key priority for me this year was to ensure that we created a chief representative for the three different CEU universities, which we were able to do when we all met in Barcelona in March.
We’ve also achieved other objectives, such as setting up a national council for veterinary students (CONEVET), and the fact that the Business Administration and Marketing degrees again form part of the national student association in those areas, the AEALCEE. We’ve also achieved a few improvements to the regulations concerning exams. And we have a few other proposals in the works, such as the creation of a student office (the Casa del Alumno) and some lower profile things, such as getting more electrical sockets installed on campus.
‘A key priority for me this year was to ensure that we created a chief representative for the different CEU universities, which we did when we met in Barcelona in March.’
You have an ambitious agenda, especially as the CEU student body is so international and diverse. How can you ensure that all students feel that you represent them?
First of all, you have to be humble and acknowledge that you don’t know everything.
You have to listen and surround yourself with people who have first-hand knowledge of the problems and then draw on support and advice from the right people. That’s why I also listen to the good advice coming from the general student representative for all three CEU universities.
So, for you personally, this challenge is a great learning opportunity.
Yes. Continuing to learn and to take advantage of everything the University has to offer has always been a priority for me. By taking in the content from my dual degree and also by developing my soft skills, I’ll be better prepared to take on the challenges of my future career.
The whole thing is really positive for me, because I’ve met many people from different places and I’ve been able to keep up with many different activities at the same time.
Yes, because you’re not just studying one degree.
Yes, I’m doing a dual degree. And I’m also doing a certificate programme in communication and political marketing. I’ve got a CEU Merit scholarship, and to keep that I need to keep getting good results in my exams. I’m also the President of the Debating Club.
Your results are excellent, Pablo. It’s pretty clear that you’re also really involved in the non-academic side of university life too. How important is it to do that?
Very important. I’ve always thought that being involved in as many projects as possible is an essential part of my academic, professional and personal life.
Since I was a first-year student, I’ve tried to get involved in university activities in as many ways as possible, because I knew that that would help me to get a more rounded education and to develop skills which will be essential for my career. To give you an example, one of my greatest academic achievements has been to get to work alongside a member of Valencia’s regional parliament, the Cortes Valencianas, and I got that opportunity because I’d developed strong communications skills by taking part in the Debating Club.
And I also think that being the general student representative for the University will help me to achieve my career goals – both through the things I’ve learnt and the people that I’ve met.
‘To be a student representative, you have to listen to people who have first-hand knowledge of the problems and then draw on the support and advice from the right people.’
What are your career goals?
My mother is an economist and my father is a businessman, so I’ve always been familiar with the business world, and that’s where I’d like to build my career. My dream has always been to be an executive at a multinational company. But I also love politics.
What I am sure about is that I want to work in something that will make me happy and will challenge me.
We hope you achieve that – you’re certainly on the right track. Thanks so much for your time, Pablo. Enjoy the rest of the year!