From the Orchestra to the Office

Two photos of Sergio Alvares. On the left is a photo of Alvares playing his instrument, the viol, as a professional musician. On the right is Alvares in business attire working as an entrepreneur.

With a story that spans the globe, from the concert halls of Europe to the tech hubs of the United States, Sergio Alvares is one Blue Hen who has had a unique path to his University of Delaware degree.

Alvares, who was born in Brazil and moved to Switzerland at the age of 18, earned degrees in both music performance and business administration in Switzerland and also spent two years living in the south of Spain. As time went on, Alvares said, he became more and more of an “international citizen.”

Alvares then spent 10 years as a professional musician playing what he calls a “relatively unknown instrument” known as the viol or viola da gamba. During this “intense” performing arts career, he said, he spent most of that decade “on the road.”

“I had the privilege to perform in the top concert halls in Europe, tour the world and work with people from all walks of life,” Alvares said. “It was exhausting to be constantly traveling and performing, but it allowed me to see the world and understand it in its full diversity. This was a unique experience, and I carry its benefits with me to this day.”

Through these experiences, Alvares was able to become fluent in six languages: German, French, Italian, English and Spanish in addition to his native Portuguese. With these skills under his belt, Alvares worked with his wife, who is also fluent in four languages, to develop a small translation business.

It was this experience of starting a business that brought Alvares to the MBA/M.S. in information systems and technology management (ISTM) at UD’s Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics. (In the fall of 2020, this became the MBA/M.S. in business analytics and information management (BAIM) dual degree program.)

“Running our business with no prior business experience was a challenging but exciting learning-by-doing experience,” Alvares said. “Therefore, it became clear that pursuing an MBA would be very beneficial for me.

“In addition, the translation industry experienced a massive digital transformation in the last decade, going from pen, paper and dictionaries to computer-assisted translation software, translation memories and digital glossaries,” he continued. This transition, combined with Alvares’ tech-savviness, convinced him that the M.S. in BAIM program “was a perfect match to help me take the most advantage of the translation industry’s digital transformation.”

During his time studying at UD, Alvares said that the program appealed to something he clearly enjoys in life: variety.

“That is exactly what I found, and most appreciated, in both programs: faculty, students and staff from all walks of life, with a multitude of experiences, knowledge and perspectives,” he said. “For me, it could not be any better.”

Perhaps this is why, Alvares said, “What I accomplished during these programs in a couple of years is more than what I managed in the past 15 years in Europe… For me, both programs were an extraordinary accelerator into this dynamic environment of opportunities where I no longer feel like a fish out of water.”

As Alvares continues to grow his business, he’s also working as a digital solutions business advisor at the Delaware Small Business Development Center, where he helps other small business owners to bring their businesses into the digital age. In this way, he’s added a new title to his long list of them: tech expert.

Right now, the world’s digital transformation has accelerated in an unprecedented way,” he said. “To me, it is very exciting to be a valuable resource to those who need help to jump onboard the digital bandwagon.”

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