"Any time when I am in a specific country meeting with industry suppliers and learning about their products, technology, and global aspirations is when I am the happiest. " - Mary Baltimore ’13
Jan 24, 2019
Mary Baltimore ’13 graduated from Florida Southern with a degree in Business Administration: International Business. Now, this incredible alumna is the perfect example of how important it is to follow your passion and not let challenges scare you.
Where are you originally from? I’m from Memphis, TN.
What was your major? Business Administration: International Business; Minor – Spanish.
Were you an active Greek life member? Yes, I was a member of Alpha Omicron Pi.
What inspired your career path?
My career path was and is still inspired by my love of different cultures, global economic development, small/medium size businesses, and technology.
What courses helped shape you for your career today?
During my Senior Seminar class, I looked at strategy from a macro and micro level. I gained the capability of analyzing external factors such as geopolitical mechanisms, the economy, the industry, etc. in order to determine what factors created the current situation and how to use these factors to either mitigate the situation or change the course of it. This class has been instrumental to my career advancement. Also, this class opened my mind and introduced me to a skillset which I was unaware that I had.
Dr. Cindy Hardin’s Business Law and Contracts class has been equally instrumental in my career. To be perfectly honest, Dr. Hardin’s business law and contracts classes challenged me at times, but I loved every single second of that struggle. In my current position and some previous positions, my job consisted of reading, interpreting, amending, negotiating and working with attorneys on contractual language per company and/or federal and foreign government regulations. I am in no way an expert on contracts, but because of Dr. Hardin, my understanding of contractual agreements, arbitration, and negotiating terms and conditions, have overwhelmingly improved during my time at FSC.
How do you believe FSC contributed to your success?
My experience at FSC was more than what I ever thought my college experience would be. FSC gave me the opportunity to travel abroad on multiple occasions, experience wonderful professors who have shaped my future, and even allowed me to do a semester abroad at the U.S. Embassy in Rome, Italy during my senior year. FSC is a college that welcomes new ideas, champions you when you bring something different to the table, and it is a college that allows you to blossom into who you want to be. FSC has great professors, but they will not do the work for you. If you put your all into it, it has been my experience that the professors will do the same.
What do you like most about your job now?
Any time when I am in a specific country meeting with industry suppliers and learning about their products, technology, and global aspirations is when I am the happiest. But, I also have to appreciate the challenges in my work. These challenges force me out of my comfort zone and throws me into frenzies that may drain every ounce of energy that I have. However, I like this the most about my job. Without these challenges and frenzies, I would not be able to grow or see skills that could be improved.
Challenges provide me an opportunity to open my mind, encourage some very creative thinking, and allow me to accept the fact that there is a chance for me to fail or I may need to fail at something in order to know what to learn from the experience. It is these challenges that drives me to my happy place. I cannot like one without the other.
What does your day look like?
One day, I could be in another country meeting with my foreign government customers and several international companies. Another day could consist of administrative items such as financials, metric reporting, and other operational support. My day could consist of building upon strategies by working with business development, engineers, or my in-country strategy on how to complete my obligations. Or, my day could easily have all three of the aforementioned variations. This, to me, is one of the perks of my job. No matter how much I try to plan out my next desk, it rarely goes to plan due to the constant, unexpected changes.
What have you learned in the field that may have been different from what you learned while studying?
What I am about to say may be a bit controversial, but it is definitely my own opinion as the world continues to evolve and change. We all need a fundamental understanding of the basics of business. On top of this, we also need to understand how the way we do business, whether domestically or overseas, is currently changing. We have companies such as Amazon who are defying odds and entering into different market sectors quite successfully.
There are visionaries such as Elon Musk who is disrupting industries in the commercial and defense sector through innovation and design as well as following the standard 4P’s. It has been proven throughout history that demand and new industry standards across the world can be shaped and even driven by innovative technology. How can we use new concepts to drive demand or open a door to a new industry? Is the concept of using multiplatform technology the key to penetrating new market sectors?
And furthermore, economics and international trade have so many complexities depending on which industry you are in (and which country you are in). For some industries, you have to consider the rules and regulations shaping industry standards, how the political environment is going to shape an initiative, company or government budget allocations, etc. And, at times, you may have to divest, acquire, or create a joint venture in order to grow or sustain your business. How do you know when to do this?
While the aforementioned opinions all branch from the basic concepts of business, it is the how that needs to be studied.
Have you done any volunteer work?
Yes, I am currently on the Cultural Arts Commission for the City of Rockville. Within my community, I have volunteered for the Human Rights Commission events and through my job, I have volunteered for many activities supporting our veterans and our troops, supporting employee resource group initiatives as well as supporting STEM activities.
What advice would you give current students or young alumni?
Be confident in yourself and know your worth. Always believe in what you have to offer. When you graduate, your first job or position may not be what you expect. This role may not be anything that is related to your interest or degree. The key to any situation is perseverance and not allowing the situation to defeat you. As you continue to grow, you will enhance skills that you already possess, acquire new capabilities, and discover what you do not want or like to do.
Use these lessons as stepping stones to help shape your next step or move. Whenever you find yourself in a situation where you feel stuck or you are somewhere you do not want to be, know your worth, persevere through the situation, and change the course of your life. Whether you have an easy transition from college to career, are currently struggling to understand your role, or you have had to completely switch careers, be determined to show the world who you are.
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