Many of our students aspire to work for a multinational corporation or in international business, and quite a number of them have succeeded in doing so. Among them is Andrea Padilla (BBA ’99), regional director of Corporate Public Relations and Executive Communication for Hewlett-Packard (HP) Latin América.
Hewlett-Packard has grown to become the world’s largest IT company, now employing 156,000 people in 170 countries—a diverse and international group.
Padilla oversees communication campaigns, including event management and regional consulting, for twelve Latin Américan countries in which HP operates. She spends half of her time traveling in Latin América and has accumulated much experience working abroad.
Before joining HP, Padilla spent six years working for Burson Marsteller, a global public relations and communications agency, where she managed the company’s technology practice and provided strategic consulting for a range of clients, including SAP, IBM, Qualcomm, Electrolux, and Visa. In 2001, Padilla lived in Brasil for a year,managing corporate communication for Burson Marsteller’s technology clients in Sao Paulo.
Working in Brasil was a challenge.
Living and working in Brasil was a cultural immersion, Padilla said.
“I didn’t speak Portuguese and had ten people reporting to me, so it took a while to get used to the cultural differences and the flexible deadlines,” she said. “But, despite the differences, it was an excellent opportunity for me to learn about another country. Brasil is the fastest growing market in Latin América, and it offers a lot of insight into the field of technology.”
Brasil was not her only experience abroad. In 2006, Padilla managed HP’s corporate communication plan for launching of its operational center in Costa Rica.
Padilla offers advice to students.
Padilla encourages students and young alumni interested in the international business to:
- earn hands on experience through internships
- gain exposure to other cultures and other backgrounds
- read industry news
- acquire technology skills
- expand global viewpoint and gain a broader respect for all countries and cultures
“FIU’s business school was my first exposure to what my working environment would be like today,” Padilla said. “It was an invaluable experience that led me to my present career.”
Padilla recently joined the Alumni Circle in order to give back to her alma mater. The Alumni Circle provides a forum for mid- to senior-level alumni to advise and work with the executive dean and other administrators in the college on programs and initiatives to further its goals.
“I look forward to devoting time and effort to helping the college build a more educated workforce and to seeing even more graduates from the university succeed in international business,” Padilla said.