Carlos Testolini
Partner, Oria Capital

Carlos Testolini

Carlos Testolini is a Partner at Oria Capital and a board member of Interplayers. He earned his degree in information technology and has held management at global organizations including IBM and Bosch. He attended the Advanced Management Program at Kellogg Executive Education and shared his insights into how the program impacted his leadership vision.

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What aspects of your AMP experience surprised you?

  • There are parts of this experience that have brought me back to childhood again. Journaling, learning how to tell stories, making prototypes. These are pieces of your brain that are dormant and get reawakened. You get so many perspectives that allow you to make your message clearer, make your point more effectively. It’s really helpful to exercise those skills, and I’m trying to really experience it.

    I also had an unexpected bond with all of my partners in this program. This is the learning you don’t get in books—it’s a life experience.

What have been the unique features of AMP that will help you grow as a leader?

  • The personal life experiences we’ve been exposed to have been great. There’s been nothing that happened by coincidence. This experience has had enormous added value, well beyond what I expected (and I had high expectations to begin with!).

    The reflection aspect has been tremendously helpful. I’m committed to my reflection, and I’ll continue to use my journals after the program to do self-reflection and stay disciplined. I’ll think about how to be a better person every single day—analyzing things that didn’t go that well that day, and learning from being honest with myself. I hadn’t journaled before because I consider myself more of a doer than a thinker, but it’s actually very useful.

We like to describe the AMP as transformative. Would you agree with that characterization and if so, how has that played out for you?

  • It is absolutely transformative. It’s the blend of perspectives that make the experience transformative. They don’t want us to just come and listen to information. They want us to take it and use it. That’s why we’re talking about so many other topics beyond the technical. That’s what’s transformative. We need it hammered into us to do reflection, because it gives us the opportunity to change habits we had in the past. None of us will go back home the way we came.

If a peer asked you whether he/she should attend AMP at Kellogg, what would you tell them and why

  • I would immediately say yes. There’s a whole set of opportunities here for any kind of person. I wouldn’t consider age, management level, anything in the decision. I should have done AMP a long time ago, and I think the length of the program is perfect.

How do you envision translating your key takeaways into action in your organization?

  • I’m trying to take at least one action item from every session that I can concentrate on. I’m trying to pick things that are feasible, and measure the results with my learning partner. I’m envisioning my learning partner as my boss. That’s who I have to report to. He’s keeping me accountable.

What was your experience with your peers in the program?

  • My first impression was that it was going to be tough. I started feeling the personal side already at the first session. I thought it would be tough to overcome our hurdles. Then I realized: I have only three weeks. I’m going to get everything that I can out of it. I think everyone had the same feelings. But everyone is so open to sharing their core values, and we quickly bonded. At first, I felt I was being a little competitive, but I put the thought away. I’m not here to win; I’m here to learn. I thought about how and what I could extract from my fellow participants’ wisdom. I was completely out of my comfort zone, which was great.

    We’re assigned individual learning partners, but I think I came away with a whole class full of learning partners—I have the same level of intimacy with everyone that I do with my assigned partner, and that’s what was so extraordinary about the program.

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