Landing the Interview: Talking Shop with Tito Torres (IBP’21) and Andrew Chuang (BGA’23)
Andrew Chuang (BGA’23) recently connected with Timothy “Tito” Torres (IBP’21), senior advisor, strategy and external relations at Special Operations Association of America, to discuss their shared interest in business and international affairs, both having been enrolled in joint programs between the McDonough School of Business and the Walsh School of Foreign Service.
Can you tell me about your background? How did you end up where you currently are?
I enlisted in the military after high school and spent the majority of my career in the 75th Ranger Regiment. I then served as an exchange officer with a British Special Forces unit. It was during that time that I realized the impact I could have by bringing my on-the-ground experience into a more strategic arena. That drove me to drastically alter my career and pursue the diplomatic roles that eventually led me to Georgetown.
Now that you have a degree that mixes business and international relations, how is that helping you in your career?
What I learned in this program, both the material in the courses and what I learned from other students in my cohort, has given me confidence in identifying strategic opportunities I would not have seen a few years ago. My education has directly contributed to numerous opportunities and success since leaving the MA-IBP program. At times I lean on topics I learned at McDonough and at other times it’s leaning on Walsh. The world is becoming more connected and fluid everyday. The world needs broad experts and often it is one project or event that elevates your expertise in the view of others. The squishy zone where all of this collides is where Georgetown University is leading.
How important was your network in your journey?
The network is the most important. People are everything, and how you treat people is the key to everything. I’ve been fortunate to have mentors who gave their time to guide and mold me. It is a priority in my life to be the same type of mentor to others. We owe it to the next generation to help them make fewer mistakes than we made. So I try to invest in people when I have an opportunity, as my mentors did for me.
Building a network is about treating people with respect and approaching every new interaction as a chance to help someone. If you are always looking to help others, it is returned tenfold over time.
The last thing I’ll say is that being an undergraduate is a very interesting and exciting position to be in. The Georgetown name and community means a lot to alumni. Any professor or alumnus you are interested in talking to or learning from: send that email, make that cold call. I still do this all the time. Intellectual curiosity matched with consistent contact will help you find mentors, collaborators, people, and partners who will change your world for the better.
How can a student succeed in this space? What makes them stand out?
Don’t be afraid to explore both what you want to do and what you don’t want to do. It’s about figuring out what your passion is and things will begin to fall into place. Everyone at Georgetown is talented, so it’s about leveraging what works best for you. We need young professionals in the defense and national security space, and undergraduates sometimes sell themselves short on the expertise and insight they bring. What hard skills or specific path you need to stand out is very specific to where you want to be—private sector, public sector, etc.—but what will always help is the network you build.
What is a question you don’t get asked enough?
I am aware that my background puts me in rooms that would normally be closed to those with less combat experience. That said, what people sometimes don’t understand is how much a warfighter seeks and believes in peace through economic development and diplomatic engagement; not always through conflict. I would love to hear more often: what from your experience can we leverage to better develop economies, diplomatic policy, and private sector engagement so we can avoid ever needing to lead with combat again?
This story was originally featured in the Georgetown Business Fall 2022 Magazine.