When Nathan Abrego ’23 and Santiago Cuevas ’26 were offered an internship at one of Mexico’s largest companies, they knew they needed to seize the opportunity. Grupo Salinas is one of the most prominent conglomerates in Mexico, specializing in banking, retail electronic media, telecommunications, content production insurance, and retirement fund management. Abrego and Cuevas were introduced to this internship by Jorge Diaz Cuervo, a Southwestern Pi Kappa Alpha alumnus. Abrego and Cuevas attribute their connection with the right individuals at Grupo Salinas to Cuervo’s assistance.

When introduced to the idea of moving to another country for a summer, Abrego knew he wanted to take advantage of this opportunity. Currently a senior at Southwestern, Abrego is a Men’s Swim Team member, president of Pi Kappa Alpha, and an active campus member. Residing in Houston, Texas, it was challenging for Abrego to leave home and move to a foreign city for the summer. However, he knew it was beneficial for his future and career, so he took a role as a fraud specialist. When he arrived in Mexico, he faced some challenges, and the biggest was learning how to be social with his coworkers. Abrego explained, “In Mexico, it’s a different story where you must stand out. Everything seems to be a competition.” However, the competition is what Abrego credits to making this internship influential; it taught him how to stand out amongst coworkers. Abrego stated, “While working at Grupo Salinas, the most useful skill I learned was to believe in myself. I was there to prove myself and thought I did that.”

While Cuevas worked at Grupo Salinas, he performed a completely different job there. Cuevas is a sophomore at Southwestern, on the golf team, works on a golf course, and runs the finances and administration of the company. Cuevas is from Mexico City, and he explains that “It was crucial for me to be home, and getting the opportunity to study in the US and then work at a large firm in Mexico was cool.” While Cuevas was living in his hometown, he also faced challenges working at a high-level company at a young age. He credits having Abrego with him as a way of supporting and helping him work at his highest level daily. While at Grupo Salinas, Cuevas took on a project to help connect a golf course, Las Parotas, to an app called Golf Connect, which helped connect golfers worldwide to Las Parotas.

Abrego and Cuevas both credit Southwestern with helping them gain access to this internship and the ability to perform at such a high level. Abrego credits the University’s small class sizes and engaging culture as pivotal in preparing him to excel at Grupo Salinas. Abrego stated, “Southwestern had a big role in preparing me for the internship. Small classes allow you to interact with students personally, which prepared me to go to Mexico. It helped me interact, stand out, and ask questions.” Cuevas credits Southwestern with preparing him to be a confident leader at Grupo Salinas.

When asked how Cuevas and Abrego worked at Grupo Salinas, Cuervo stated, “I hope this was a high-impact experience for both Nathan and Santiago. From talking to the people they worked with at Grupo Salinas, I know they performed well. Even Ricardo Salinas himself wrote back to them, offering future opportunities.” Salinas, the founder and owner of Grupo Salinas, was blown away by the work ethic and attitude of Abrego and Cuevas and wants to offer them future opportunities at the company.

Both Abrego and Cuevas highly recommend Southwestern students to apply for an internship at Grupo Salinas and experience what they were able to do last summer. They said the internship put them in situations outside their comfort zone and taught them lessons they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. Abrego’s message to Southwestern students is, “I think it’d be a great opportunity for students to reach out to alumni and network with trustees and faculty. Traveling to Mexico City and interning there would be a great opportunity. You will gain business relationships, learn to operate in the real world, and experience a new culture. I think it’s something that would benefit any student at Southwestern.”

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