Felip Salon’s passport is a gallery of stamps. He has lived in three different continents and worked in varying roles, constantly improving his skills. Moving abroad was also the opportunity to travel and get to know other people, cultures and languages. Meanwhile, he decided to make a difference with a social and educational project called Buhat Eskwela, benefitting an indigenous community in the Philippines. We bet all the kids have a word to him: Salamat!
The Magazine-Review interviews Felip Salon, alumnus of The Lisbon MBA (2017) and Consulting & Analytics Manager at Visa
Have you heard about Cagayan de Oro? The city is the logistics and business hub of Northern Mindanao, in the Philippines. Felip Salon was born there, but his professional career led him to the country’s capital.
“After working for three years in Manila, which is about an hour and a half flight from my hometown, I thought if I were to live far from my family, I just may have to go further and grab the chance to explore the world. I was 25 years old then”, he shares.
Since then, Felip Salon lived and worked in the United Kingdom, United States, Portugal and the United Arab Emirates. “Different cultures and meeting people from diverse backgrounds teach you perspectives that you can never learn just by staying in your home country”.
However, Filipinos are very connected to their roots and family. Felip Salon is not an exception, and you can tell why.
“I miss my family and friends in the Philippines. Indeed, there’s no place like home. I also miss eating Filipino dishes – lechon (a whole adult pig pit roasted), dinuguan (pork in blood stew) and ube (purple yam) ice cream”.
Most of the time, these delicacies are only a memory because Felip Salon chose to have unique experiences abroad.
“I am a Certified Public Accountant, which paved the way to be a part of two reputable companies: Ernst & Young and Deutsche Bank. I’ve stayed about ten years in finance and accounting before I got curious about what it’s like to be in another career. I am grateful to Visa for giving me this opportunity. Now, I am in the consulting field, within the payments industry. Learning this new area has been an interesting challenge”.
The Lisbon MBA was the key to diversify his career, says Felip Salon. “I am thankful that The Lisbon MBA has allowed me to learn and gave me some foundation to help me adapt in my new role. I wanted it to be a top program, with international exposure at a reasonable cost. The Lisbon MBA program ticked all those boxes and more. With the MIT immersion program, as well as the emphasis on the holistic formation for its candidates – technical and soft skills – I know The Lisbon MBA was the one for me”, he adds.
During the program, Felip Salon also took part in a three-month consulting work for Caixa Geral de Depósitos (CGD), the Portuguese state-owned bank. His experience was focused on “driving digital adoption among CGD’s cardholder base”. The only thing he regrets was the lack of time to learn Portuguese.
The greatest accomplishment
The Philippines is a diverse country with thousands of islands and dozens of indigenous groups. In Southern Bukidnon, the elderly community of the Lumad people has founded Mindanaw Tribal School, Inc. (MTSI). Back in 2016, about 100 children were studying there for free, with the support of volunteer teachers who have not received any salary for a year. Both the school and the children were struggling to meet the basic needs. At that time, Felip Salon decided to give a little help.
“It was my greatest accomplishment when I, with my friends, successfully raised funds to provide a classroom and one-year worth of school supplies”, he says.
His project, based on empowered youth through education, was named Buhat Eskwela – a combination of two Visayan verbs which literally mean “to make” and “to go to school”.
“I believe the Buhat Eskwela has been successful because the donors trusted the team and the team trusted me. I want to ensure that I maintain that level of trust and credibility in the next project, hopefully soon”.
Felip Salon is still thinking about his next move on social initiatives. But when we asked him about career plans, things are very clear. “I tried to maintain a mobile lifestyle, but, after living in five different countries, I am now thinking of settling down”.
For now, Dubai is where his heart is, but the idea of home is definitely in the Philippines.
Music: Electronic Dance Music
Book: Accounting books
Movie: Avengers: Infinity War
Motto: “Good guys don’t necessarily need to finish last / Pressure is a privilege / You only live once”