Quinlan alumna receives Binational Fulbright Internship
This spring Riti Patel (BBA ’14) received a Binational Fulbright Internship in Mexico, joining the ranks of numerous other Ramblers to gain the distinction.
The prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student Program fosters international understanding through research, study, and teaching opportunities abroad for recent graduates and graduate students.
Beginning in August, Patel will spend a year with a Mexican corporation to dissect the cross-sectional functions among Mexican culture, business economics, and policy to understand how all the pieces influence internal strategies.
A Quinlan alumna, she earned bachelor’s degrees in global and international studies and finance. In her own words, she shares her thoughts on her upcoming Fulbright experience.
What’s involved with a Binational Fulbright Internship?
The program is designed for students who want to have more integration within a company. I won’t necessarily be doing research; rather, I’ll be working with a company for a year, gaining more hands-on business experience.
I’ll have interviews in the beginning of June. After that, I’ll be matched up with the business I’ll be working with. There is a range of possible companies, from nonprofit social enterprises to the Big Four accounting firms like EY. I’ll also be taking business courses part time at a local university.
What sparked your interest in Mexico and international studies?
As an undergraduate, I studied abroad in Chile for about a month, and then I spent about six months in Colombia. That got me really interested in Latin America and helped me realize how different all these countries are.
A lot of times we box them into one section of the world, but it’s not necessarily like that. These countries have different histories and different economic backgrounds. They’re all unique. And that’s something you really have to understand if you want to do business, since they all have their own ways of operating.
Without a doubt working in Mexico I don’t want to deny the fact that we have a huge immigration and migration issue between Mexico, Central America, and the U.S. While I don’t expect myself to change it completely, it is important to learn the impact of trade agreements and business decisions that ultimately affect the livelihood of people in other countries. I’m excited to be able to start those conversations while working there.
How did your Quinlan education help prepare you for this experience?
I had Theodora Bryan while I was in the honors program. She’s a business ethics professor. She’s really been one of those people that have been very impactful—helping me pave a path toward a career I’m passionate about. She’s always telling students that business is supposed to make an impact, it’s not just about profitability. She’s definitely been someone who’s been inspirational.
And other Quinlan professors—like Mike Welch, Mine Cinar, Suk Hun Lee, and Eve Geroulis —helped me develop into a socially conscious business leader.
How does it feel to be selected for this program?
I’m super excited, but a little bit nervous. It’s a new setting, and it’s going to be a mind-opening and life-changing experience.
I’m not fluent in Spanish, but I did use it in school and while I was studying abroad. Of course, it’s a different experience when you’re working in an office. The year in Mexico will help my fluency, and allow me to have a greater understanding of the Mexican culture and business atmosphere.