Nurturing future leaders at TechPolis

GPS International Advisory Board member Ricardo Tavares offers an environment for students to become leading players in the field of mobile technology

Feb. 22, 2018 | By Rachel Hommel | GPS News

Arriving at the UC San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy (GPS) in the summer of 1995, Ricardo Tavares was eager to learn about wireless technology as Brazil was just beginning to privatize telecommunications.

Working as a teacher assistant in 1997 for Dean Peter Cowhey, who had just served as the chief of the International Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the Clinton Administration, helped confirm Tavares’ new passion. 

“I was looking for an industry that was doing global good, and mobile was making a quiet revolution in the world,” said Tavares.

Two decades later, Tavares is managing global public policy campaigns all over the world, citing GPS courses as a great foundation. He added that the curriculum at GPS prepared him to tackle the politics of telecommunications policy in over 25 countries and gave him the tools to quickly analyze industry data.

news-tavares.jpgToday at TechPolis, Tavares is a leading international consultant on information and communication technology policy and regulation, with over 25 years in the field. Hailing from Brazil, Tavares has a good understanding of, and sensitivity to, different political and economic systems and a variety of different cultures.

“Mobile penetration rates cut across all income levels in all geographies,” said Tavares. “The industry has connected billions to the Internet, providing and enhancing livelihoods in the developing world.”

TechPolis, which operates on six continents, is a true global leader in the technology field and is the perfect training ground for GPS students.

Kayla Hunter, 2018 Master of International Affairs (MIA) candidate was intrigued by the TechPolis internship due to her interest in how the Internet and communication technologies are changing the way we work and interact.

“Tavares understands our program and what it's like to study here. He was very kind about working around school deadlines with the projects he assigned,” said Hunter. “He very much wants his interns to succeed both within the company and as students.”

Hunter cites her deep understanding of the ways in which public policy and market activity affect each other as being the most beneficial lesson from the GPS classroom that she brought to the internship.

“This internship really solidified the power of great leadership!” said Hunter. “He treats his employees as people first, workers second and the impact is powerful.”

Ricardo TavaresAdam Rosenberg, 2018 MIA candidate was eager to join TechPolis as it combines his two research interests – technology and public policy. 

“GPS instructors demand professionalism: that has helped me at TechPolis where professionalism was expected from day one,” said Rosenberg. “As a former student, Tavares understands the intensity of the GPS program and is a great source of advice.” 

Impressed by the knowledge gained from the internship, Rosenberg also enjoyed the virtual office environment.   

“The most valuable lesson that I have learned working at TechPolis is how to be part of a remote team in different time zones,” said Rosenberg. “As someone who wants an international career, this is a very important lesson.”

Eunji Kim, 2019 Master of Public Policy candidate was recently selected as an TechPolis intern and is looking forward to gaining research experience as she hopes to work in the field of technology policy development. Kim cites the internship as being successful at finding innovative ways to use technology and current policies to solve bigger social issues. 

“I’ve really enjoyed learning how a research project starts from ground zero and how to work towards the bigger picture. That is invaluable,” said Kim.  

When looking to hire, Tavares emphasizes the unique pedigree of GPS students, in addition to the need to create a challenging but caring environment for his interns.

“Over the years, I have noticed that the typical MBA training is not ideal for government relations and public affairs,” said Tavares. “I like the combination of economics, data analysis and the politics of public policy that GPS provides.”

Many GPS alumni have become important leaders themselves, including Sebastian Cabello ’05, who leads the GSMA Latin America and Henrique Barbosa ’16, who works at the International Monetary Fund, both of whom spent four years working with Tavares.