Senior Learns Business Around the World with McDonough’s Global Programs

RohanTatiana Hadchiti (B’18) currently is a senior at the Georgetown McDonough School of Business, double majoring in marketing and international business. Having grown up in New York and originally from Lebanon, she has taken advantage of different global business opportunities at McDonough, including study abroad opportunities in Hong Kong and Barcelona and completing a global consulting project in Lille. This past summer, she was an analyst in the Global Public Affairs division of the Blackstone Group. Upon returning to campus this fall, she became president of the Georgetown Retail and Luxury Association (GRLA), a student-run organization focused on educating students about the retail and luxury industries through speaker series and networking events.

Why did you want to pursue a double major in marketing and international business?

I chose to pursue a marketing major because it offers the perfect balance of quantitative and qualitative components. On the one hand, marketing research is the link between the external environment and marketing decision-making and provides the analytics necessary to measure a campaign’s impact on business performance. On the other hand, marketers must develop creative strategies to appeal to different target audiences and focus on building relationships to cultivate customer loyalty. The changing nature of technology and social media make marketing an even more fascinating industry to study—marketers must continuously analyze current trends and develop innovative strategies to appeal to customers’ evolving habits, needs, and wants.

In addition, I attended an international school in New York and have been exposed to an array of perspectives, primarily from Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. Given my multicultural background, I wished to gain a deeper understanding of the benefits and challenges of doing business and making decisions in different regions of the world. International business seemed like the perfect major to combine my interests and learn how to navigate global business challenges.

How was your global consulting experience in Lille?

The Global Business Experience was an exceptional program. My team produced a detailed business strategy proposal for Bonduelle, a world leader in ready-to-use vegetables and had the opportunity to present our findings and recommendations to senior-level executives of the company. In preparing the client deliverables for this project, my teammates and I applied material directly from our classes—analyzing financial data, evaluating foreign market entry strategies, and developing marketing and sales plans. It also allowed me to use my fluency in French.

GBE teaches teamwork, organization, communication, and professionalism in addition to valuable consulting skills. It is a particularly unique and rewarding experience. I do not think any other course would have allowed me to apply the theoretical to the practical to such an extent.

Why did you choose a study-abroad opportunity in Spain?

I pursued the Business and Culture program in Barcelona because it blended business and humanities courses for a well-rounded education abroad. As a marketing and international business double major, I was able to complete courses related to my majors taught by professors from different schools in a city I have never explored before. In my opinion, there is no better way to study international business than being in an international setting—it gave me the opportunity to learn about complex global business issues through a local lens.

In your leadership role with GRLA, what are your plans for this year?

Last year was a very successful year for us. We hosted executives from top global brands such as Ferragamo, Oscar de la Renta, Fendi, Levi’s, and Aerin. Our main goal has always been to educate students about the retail and luxury industries, as well as increase networking and recruiting opportunities in this field. This year, I plan on continuing to attract guest speakers and panelists, conducting industry tours, and hosting our marquee event—the Global Luxury Summit in the spring. I also intend to focus on student entrepreneurship and hold a “pop-up shop” style event featuring students who have started their own retail companies. They will be able to showcase their creations and talk to their peers about how they successfully started their own brands.

You interned at Estée Lauder last year—can you tell us how this internship is different from your recent role at Blackstone?

My internship at Estée Lauder focused primarily on marketing in the Travel Retail division. I completed two major projects—the first required conducting market research in the Americas, EMEA, and APAC that culminated in a competitive analysis project on Estée Lauder’s skincare line. I also examined the company’s consumer base and presented a range of marketing strategies to appeal to a new customer segment.

The Global Public Affairs team at Blackstone sets the strategy for media and government relations and maintains relationships with several constituents. The head of my group serves as the chief spokesperson for the firm. As an analyst, I helped manage the firm’s brand through its social media presence, drafted internal communications, and conducted research on a variety of time-sensitive topics. Because the team is small in nature, I had the opportunity to gain a well-rounded understanding of all of Blackstone’s business groups. I was able to interact with the teams in real estate, private equity, credit and hedge funds, and participate in high-level initiatives. I also took part in calls with our global public affairs office in London.

What advice do you have for juniors who would like to pursue a similar international business career path?

Take advantage of every study abroad opportunity that McDonough offers. International programs are vital to understanding the nuances of how a country’s culture affects the choices made by its companies. You can read about it and intellectualize it, but you really need to experience it firsthand to truly appreciate it. In just two years, I completed programs in Hong Kong, Barcelona, and Lille, each focusing on different aspects of business. In Hong Kong, I learned why thousands of multinational enterprises choose this dynamic city as their base; in Barcelona, I studied the importance of international marketing and branding strategies specific to Spain; and in Lille, I prepared and presented a consulting project to senior level executives of a global company. Through corporate site visits overseas I heard the different strategies that companies such as Estée Lauder, Bacardi, HSBC, and EuraTechnologies implement to succeed globally. Each study abroad opportunity is an immersive adventure that combines academic learning, practical exposure, and cultural enrichment, and that ultimately contributes to personal development and growth.

Based on the several academic and non-academic opportunities you pursued, how do you think Georgetown has developed your “global-curiosity”/”global-readiness”?

To me, having a global mindset in business means being able to understand cultural traditions and economic policies from around the world and apply them to make an impact in business. Georgetown offers a wide range of opportunities that help develop global-readiness and cross-cultural learning: an international student body, study abroad programs, and a commitment to global education. Students are given the ability and resources to be inquisitive, develop unique perspectives and learn to manage the challenges of a global economy.

Through my experiences, I have learned that each culture has a unique lens on the world, and it is essential to learn the intricacies of a specific region to do business there successfully.