The Coworking marketplace is disrupting the real estate industry, with millions of workers around the world choosing flexible office space to grow their business. For entrepreneurs and freelancers, communities like WeWork provide a professional work environment with a ready-made network of contacts and without the overheads.
The hard and soft skills required to manage and run a coworking space are grounded in modern hospitality, so it is no surprise to see Les Roches alumni leading this disruptive new industry. One such alumnus is Alvaro Villar, Director of Operations at WeWork Latin America. His journey to the top of the $20billion business began with a career switch decision.
Name: Alvaro Villar
Graduation year: 2012
Program: Diploma in Hotel Management
Current position: Head of Operations, WeWork Latin America
“When I finished my studies in psychology my first thought was that I needed a twist in my career in order to search for an industry full of opportunities and challenges, and that was when I found Les Roches”.
For Alvaro, a global outlook was always essential for success, which is why he felt Les Roches was the right way to enter the hospitality industry. “I chose Les Roches Marbella for its international prestige, for its alumni which come from all over the world. I felt part of a global community, of a world full of opportunities”, he said.
Expertise that opens endless doors
A Les Roches education is grounded in hospitality, but the expertise and experience gained during studies are applicable in multiple industries, as Alvaro discovered. “When I graduated from Les Roches, I realised how much I had learned and how qualified I was for different industries. I started out, like many other graduates, in the hotel sector. Now I’m Director of Operations for WeWork Latin America. I’m capable of performing different activities in different countries, with different cultures and clients.”
With over 300 properties in 25 countries and more than 350,000 members, demand is only going one way for WeWork. In Alvaro’s region of Latin America, he manages 35 buildings and is opening an average of two to three new buildings per month.
“It is a new way of humanizing work, a way to create a culture amongst companies that work within a shared space and we all benefit from the interaction between us”, Alvaro said. “WeWork is now in six countries in Latin America, in different cities, and it has been a very interesting challenge to tropicalize a concept born in New York to fit in a different culture.”
What does a Director of Operations do?
“Once the buildings are opened, comes managing the administrative work of different offices and countries, taking care of all our members’ needs, administrating the operation costs that affect us, managing occupancy rates”, he said. “You can imagine how complex the operation gets and how qualified we are after a school like Les Roches.”
For Alvaro, the immersive combination of practical studies and real-world internships at Les Roches has been key to his success. “You get experience in all kinds areas. They exhort you to make your internships in different countries and that prepares you for the world.”
Any advice for someone considering Les Roches?
“The advice I would give to those wondering whether to study at Les Roches is to ask themselves whether they want to become that kind of person, a global person, someone surrounded by people from many countries, a multicultural person prepared for today’s world. For a world that demands having a more global and broader vision to overcome different challenges.”
Thank you to Alvaro for giving us exclusive access to his WeWork offices and for taking time out from his busy schedule to talk about Les Roches and his career. Alvaro is one of many successful Les Roches alumni, discover more success stories below:
- Chris Astill-Smith – nutrition startup founder
- Jan Willem Verweij – Director of front office at the Peninsula Chicago
- Erik Eklund – Inspirational Speaker