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Winter 2005 CalBusiness  
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Haas Alumnus Seeks Chilean Presidency

By Marguerite Rigoglioso

Currently running for the presidency of Chile, Marcelo Trivelli, MBA 80, headed to Berkeley not just for an MBA but to experience the freedom the campus is renowned for. "I chose Berkeley because in addition to having a world-class business school it represented liberty, innovation, and the revolutions of the 60s and 70s," he says.

Presently Intendente of Santiago – an appointed role similar to that of governor – Trivelli, a progressive Christian Democrat, heads crime prevention, public services, and the regional budget for the capital city. New programs he has overseen have resulted in a 32 percent decrease in crime in Santiago and major improvements in the infrastructure for business, education, and health, says Trivelli.

At Haas, Trivelli recalls, "Being in an environment with both American and international students expanded my horizons tremendously." Lessons about entrepreneurship and the importance of social, legal, and political factors in business decision-making gave him an advantage when he returned to Chile, where a strict production- and market-oriented focus governed commerce.

Once back in Chile, Trivelli climbed the ranks in the petroleum company Dinamic Oil, where he eventually became commercial manager. Having gleaned from Silicon Valley entrepreneurs that "failure isn't the end of the world," he was emboldened to start two major businesses, one of which – a diversified mechanical parts supplier – now enjoys $4 million in sales per year and is expanding into neighboring countries.

When democracy returned to Chile in 1990, Trivelli, whose father had been a minister of agriculture in the 1960s, became assistant counselor to President Patricio Aylwin. Catapulted through that position into the world of mass media, Trivelli joined a small public relations outfit he then turned into the number one PR firm in the country. He kept a hand in politics, helping with numerous campaigns, including that of current President Ricardo Lagos, who in 2002 appointed him to his present position.

"You can't be rigid about your career plans," Trivelli advises. "You have to remain flexible for new opportunities."

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Marcelo Trivelli, MBA 80

Marcelo Trivelli, MBA 80
Intendente of Santiago, Chile

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