Ana Romero came to Purdue with an undergraduate degree from Universidad Simón Bolivar in Venezuela and experience as an IT consultant. She had much of the technical background she needed to succeed in business. The question was whether she could round out her portfolio.
"I was scared when I came in that I didn't have what it takes to be a leader," Ana says. "Purdue made me think of what is expected of me as a leader, and it gave me opportunities to lead clubs such as the Krannert Hispanic Management Association and put those skills to work."
Her hard work paid off. First, she worked through the Krannert Professional Development Center to land an internship after her first year with Sears Holding Corporation. She then went through Purdue's Center for Career Opportunities to obtain an interview opportunity with Whirlpool. She will begin work in the leadership development program at Whirlpool in Benton Harbor, Michigan, upon completion of her MBA in May.
School can be challenging for an international student, regardless of location, but Ana felt at home almost from day one. "I was in a study group with a person from the United States, one from India and one from Ghana. What we all realized is that we had many things in common, and it allowed us to work well as we came to respect each other's cultures."
Ana's understanding of the importance of being globally focused also was a factor in her Whirlpool experience. She took Chinese as an undergraduate student, impressing a Whirlpool IT manager who also operates the China market. "Maybe I can eventually get an assignment with the company in China," she says.
Ana has served as a teaching assistant for Professors Maria Shunko and Suresh Chand in the operations management area at Purdue. She has been active with the Boiler Out! Volunteer Program for International Students and Scholars, which provides international students the opportunity to work on community services projects.
She originally learned about Purdue from her grandfather, who earned a degree there in chemical engineering. Like her grandfather, Ana found the university to be a great experience.
"The American culture is different than what I had grown up with," she says. "It's very demanding here, and the competition is big. But I've benefitted from meeting many people, and I'm looking forward to put the things that I've learned into practice."