An Argentine bursting with talent

@Roberto Arribas

“I believe a more stimulating and modern education is possible, and that IE University is an excellent ecosystem to develop these ideas.”

Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Benjamín Rodríguez is an IE University student who makes videos and films to promote the university and Segovia

His melodious Buenos Aires accent gives him away. He is a kind and well-mannered guy who speaks with ease and accuracy. Everyone from the Santa Cruz la Real campus in Segovia, the home of IE University, speaks wonders of this 21-year-old young man from Buenos Aires.  From an academic point of view, Benjamín Rodríguez is a brilliant student. But he also possesses an unusual talent which he is completely fascinated by: storytelling through video and photography.

To really get to know this Argentinian student (who has been living in Segovia for a few months now), we must take a look back through his years studying at the Henry Ford Technical School in Buenos Aires.  Benjamín was educated at this prestigious educational institution for technology—driven by Ford Argentina—where he managed to receive excellent grades every year.  Nevertheless, over the course of years, Benjamín felt, rather ironically, that engineering wasn’t for him.

He soon came to find his calling: making videos, a hobby he and his friends used to keep themselves entertained.  He soon became hooked, and created, along with his friends, “Optical Clock Films,” a start-up that promotes audiovisual businesses in Buenos Aires.  Initially, Benjamín took lead of the administrative side, namely production tasks and customer acquisition. “We spent two weeks in a southern zone along the coast of Buenos Aires and shot several videos of hotels; it was all a huge success,” he says.

Benjamín soon realized that film and storytelling was something that he was really fascinated by. They invested the money they earned into improving their training video and photography, and purchased accessories for their camera (a high-quality lens and a drone.) “The money was meant to be for traveling the world, but in the end, I spent it on what I enjoyed,” he admits.

Talent and passion are the key ingredients and force behind the exciting ideas brewing inside Benjamín’s mind.  As such, in his final year at the Henry Ford Technical School in Buenos Aires, Benjamín offered to make videos for the Human Resources department of Ford Argentina. With this opportunity, he was able to gain an insider’s view on what the company and its employees get up to in the capital Buenos Aires.  “This worked really well,” he told us. “I realized that what mattered wasn’t the camera or the drone, but the opportunity to tell stories with these tools.”

When he graduated, he convinced his parents to allow him to take a sabbatical and tour Europe. “When I was 15, I spent a few days in Italy and I was amazed,” he told us. So, for nine months, Benjamín visited some enclaves in Argentina before crossing the pond to visit a few cities in France, Spain, and Portugal.

“Why don’t you study in Europe then?” asked his mother, and rightly so. Benjamín had never even considered emigrating from his home country, but he thought that this idea proposed to him by his family was the best option for him and his future. “I started looking online and soon fell in love with everything that IE University in Segovia offered,” he says.

SEGOVIA

“I arrived in Segovia three weeks before I started studying Communication and Digital Media at IE University; I walked the city from top to bottom and loved it,” Benjamin explains, without hesitating to add, “Segovia is paradise.”

He couldn’t get an idea out of his mind, an idea he soon came to obsess over: he wanted to work for IE, even before his studies started. He wanted to take the work he had developed so successfully at Ford Argentina and emulate it at IE. He went to the Casa de la Moneda, where the IE Creativity Center is located, and went to speak to their director, Carlos Redondo, a member of Campus Life.  “I said I wanted to work for them no matter what, and that if they saw my work they would see what I am capable of; I also proposed to make a video about the Casa de la Moneda from the perspective of a student who has just arrived in Segovia for the first time.”

The directors of Campus Life gave him permission to go ahead with this project and waited to see the results. Benjamín teamed up with design student Anurag Phalke, who collaborates with the Creativity Center, and they managed to shoot the video in just four days. The video pleasantly surprised everyone due to its high visual quality and narrative.  Soon after, the team was given some further assignments: to create videos for Campus Life about campus events and spaces. Today, Benjamín—who has only been at the university six months—is already working for this department alongside his university peer, Kartik Kotwani. Both have combined their talents to create professional-quality content for IE University’s social media.

“I have to offer my thanks to the Director of Campus Life, Juliana Pereira, and Assistant Director Giedre Pavalkyte, for putting their trust in me, for always supporting me, and for always receiving my suggestions willingly,” Benjamín adds. Benjamín also mentions Diana Gómez, Director of the Communications Lab at IE University, “for her unwavering support and professional advice.”

New projects

Just over a month ago, the Argentinian student started a new chapter.  Not only is he in charge of filming IE events, he is also going to create videos offering an insight into what really happens at the university, including: student stories and entrepreneurial projects, what life is like for administration and services staff at IE University, or what student clubs offer.  In turn, Benjamín wants to show off all the excellent opportunities for students in Segovia: its monuments, cultural and entertainment activities, hotels for tourists, and restaurants and bars.

It may still be a bit too early to take a glimpse into the where Benjamín will ultimately end up in his professional career. However, he acknowledges, “I love videos based on new educational solutions; I believe a more stimulating and modern education is possible, and I believe IE University is an excellent ecosystem to develop these ideas.”

As a photographer, he has set up a small exhibition at “La Cueva” at the Segovia campus. Here he has put a dozen images on display which he took during his recent trip to Cameroon, where he was invited by a group of entrepreneurial IE master’s students. He used his camera to immortalize the projects that the grad students were developing in the city of Douala.

Benjamín says he doesn’t have much time to devote himself to anything else other than video and photography. He ensures that he spends ten hours each day between classes and his work as a videographer. “As a good Argentine does, I like to meet up with my friends and chat: I live in the San Lorenzo district, which is located really close to the university, and what I like most is to go jogging around the Alameda del Parral,” he says.

Now he is planning a trip to the Saharawi refugee camps in Algeria, close to the city of Tindouf. Benjamín will undoubtedly put all his efforts and expertise into this project. But that’s a story for another time.