I took my operations in Panama because I was intrigued by both having an MBA and working overseas. It gave me a great opportunity to see and do things that I wouldn’t normally have the chance to do, especially not while I was still employed in the United States. The experience I gained from it really helped me think through some decisions that I would make later on when it came to planning my retirement.
One decision was to return to the US to take a management consulting job. It turned out that this field is one with some excellent positions available in Panama. I ended up spending six years in Panama, primarily managing global project portfolios. It was a lot of fun, though also somewhat exhausting. It was a great education in international relations too.
Once I returned to the United States, I thought I might give the MBA a second look. I knew that I still wanted to manage globally, but I also knew that I wanted to spend a year or two in Panama. Since the exam requirements for the MBA are quite different than those for other graduate programs, I thought that this would allow me to learn the different differences between the two.
One thing I learned was that MBAs aren’t set in stone. I really had to take my time and evaluate my options before making a decision. For example, I know that the salary is very important for an American company looking to take my operations in Panama. However, the type of license you have doesn’t matter nearly as much. The licensing requirements for most jobs in Panama are considerably lower than in the US.
A few weeks ago, I started talking with our local operations manager. We had talked several times before and he had always explained that the licensing process wasn’t anything like it used to be when there were fewer licensing requirements. Today, there are dozens of boards out there, requiring many different types of licenses. For example, there are nine separate boards that all govern ownership and control of multinational corporations. The only way that you can take your operations to Panama is if you have a US subsidiary or the equivalent.
In addition to all of the board requirements, I also quickly discovered that there are lots of financial documents that I would need to prepare for my company. These include keeping a book’s book showing who all of our clients are, what their last name is, where they live, how much money they make, how much we are asking them to contribute, and what we are paying them. If I take my operations in Panama out of the country, I would have to start preparing all of this financial documentation from scratch.
This process can take up to four months if you are doing everything yourself. Now, you could hire a company or a legal representative to help you fill out all of those papers and paperwork. However, I don’t want to pay any fees for that and I don’t like the idea of having anyone watching my business. Plus, I’d rather spend my time managing my operations in Panama, running it professionally, and growing it than I do trying to figure out whether or not my taxes are done right in the USA. So, for me, it makes more sense to hire someone who knows all of the nitty gritty to take care of all of this for me.