Bringing My IT Knowledge Back to Chile

Patricia Steffens Vidal (MSIT '19) looks back on her time in Northwestern's Master of Science in Information Technology (MSIT) program and ahead to her new job in Chile.

Patricia Steffens Vidal (MSIT '19) spent nearly five years working at Redbanc in Chile before enrolling in Northwestern's Master of Science in Information Technology (MSIT) program.

Redbanc is responsible for the operation of an Interbank ATM network connecting the ATMs of all the banks in Chile, and as Operational and Technological Incidents Prevention Manager, Steffens Vidal was responsible for the development, control, reporting and follow up on the solutions of all the operational and technical incidents at the company.

Now that Steffens Vidal has completed the MSIT program, she is back in Chile, where she will start a new job at Enel as Head of Quality Systems and Processes in May. Before that, she took time to talk about her professional journey and her experiences in Northwestern's MSIT program.

What was it about the MSIT program that appealed to you?

I enjoyed having classmates from different places in the world working in different industries and positions. I also enjoyed being able to choose the classes that were of most interest to me.

What were you doing at Redbanc before coming to Northwestern?

I was in charge of identifying and evaluate technological risks in the operation of Redbanc and then worked on improvements with the operation division. I was also in charge of making a cultural change regarding the importance of the business continuity and quality of services committed to the clients.

How would you describe your MSIT experience?

It was a super fun time where I met amazing people, I learned and discussed new topics and I gained new skills to face the technological challenges of the future.

What were three highlights for you from your time in the program?

One highlight during the program was my internship. I moved to work in California during the summer and I was able to experience the Silicon Valley culture and learn from it. Another highlight was to meet my study group on the first day in MSIT and work with them every quarter. I also enjoyed all the activities that were organized to make us feel like a family.

What was the most important lesson you learned while at Northwestern?

At Northwestern I learned that there are no obvious answers when people have different cultural backgrounds. That is why I think it is so important to listen and learn from others who have a different opinion regarding the same problem. And when you put all the points of view together, the final solution is much better.

What are you doing now professionally?

I am going to start working in May in Chile at Enel, an Italian energy company, as head of quality systems and processes. My biggest challenge is to implement improvements, digitalization and a cultural change in order to become more agile and efficient in the services the company provides.

How do you think your time in MSIT impacted you?

My time in MSIT impacted my life positively in professional and personal terms. On the professional side, I now feel more confident about the technical aspect of IT and I also developed soft skills that will help me perform better work. On the personal side, I met great friends, I learned about the U.S. culture and about the world. It was one of the best experiences of my life!