CIBS Ambassador Program
CIBS Ambassadors utilize their international experience to:
- Assist CIBS in its globalizing mission by sharing their international experiences with current and prospective business students through formal programs, informal settings, and weekly CIBS office hours
- Enrich Mays Business School’s students’ international cultural awareness and global acumen
- Recruit Mays students for the various programs provided by Mays Business School and Texas A&M University.
The following students were selected to serve as CIBS Ambassadors for the 2018-2019 academic year:
Meet the Ambassadors
Charlie Hernandez ’21
- Business Honors
- Internship (China)
Howdy, my name is Charlie Hernandez! I am a sophomore Business Honors and Finance major from the great city of Houston. I am a first generation student, the baby in a family of 7, and the proud father one one son (he’s a dog; his name is White Sox). Being in Mays is an experience foreign to not only myself, but to my family; pursuing collegiate education is in itself astonishing to my siblings and parents. When the first day of class rolled in, I set a goal for myself: at least once a year, I will travel. It doesn’t matter where I go – whether it be in the states or somewhere on the other side of the world – I will venture to places unknown to me. So far, I’ve kept up with my goal. During the summer of 2018, I was fortunate enough to intern in Xi’an, China, working with a Human Resource outsourcing and consulting company. I toured great, historic monuments, and made even greater friends, many of which I keep in touch with. This experience fueled my flame of wanderlust, and I plan to keep this goal alive throughout my life. I made the decision to act as a 2018-19 Center for International Business Studies Student Ambassador to help others realize the extraordinary experiences found abroad. Whether it be in South America, or in Europe, in Africa, India, China or other nations in the Eastern half, I would like to help Mays students expand and strengthen their global perspective. I look forward to working with the CIBS team on behalf of Mays Business School and Texas A&M, and hope to help other students experience new worlds.
Jake Billings ’19
- REEP Semester (China)
Howdy! My name is Jake Billings, and I am a senior accounting major from Tyler, Texas. My interest in China began in high school when I had the opportunity to teach English in Xi’an, China, for an entire summer. Even with that fairly short experience, the Chinese culture became so fascinating to me that I knew I had to study there if I received the opportunity in college. Last fall, my dream came true: CIBS gave me the opportunity to study at Peking University in Beijing, China. Experiencing the Chinese business environment both inside and outside of the classroom was very rewarding. I was able to attend lectures from some of China’s highly acclaimed professors and visit regional businesses like online retailer JD.com. Although I learned a lot – from culture to cuisine, and met so many awesome people – I think I have barely scratched the surface of this truly fascinating country. My semester exchange has provided me a new perspective to use in both business and life; that is the real value of studying abroad.
Gustavo Almanza ’19
- Management Information Systems
- REEP Semester (Hong Kong), Global Business Brigades (Panama), Regents’ Africa, Ireland Technology Management
Howdy! My name is Gustavo A. Almanza and I am a senior management information systems major from Houston, Texas. My passion for traveling began during countless hours of watching the Travel Channel, specifically Anthony Bourdain. As a freshman, I would bother the CIBS office on a daily basis, until I finally got my break and traveled to Panama with Global Business Brigades. I became so invested and passionate with the work that I did there, that sophomore year I became President for the May 2017 brigade. Between those two trips, I was fortunate enough to be selected to go on the Phillips 66 Regents Scholars trip to South Africa in the summer of 2016. As a junior, I went on a reciprocal educational exchange to the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in Hong Kong. While there, I was able to visit 6 other countries. As soon as I returned to America, I was back at it again in Ireland for a class field trip in May 2018. I’m now in my final year of college. If you had told me as a freshman that I would visit 11 countries, and counting, during my time at Texas A&M I would have called you a liar. My international experiences taught me that you have to make the choice to take a chance if you want anything in life to change. Although going abroad consists of unknowns and new experiences, it teaches you to expect the unexpected and to remain flexible no matter the situation. Studying abroad has been by far the best thing I’ve done in college and I strongly encourage everybody to look into international opportunities. As the saying goes, “A ship in harbor is safe, but that’s not what it was built for.”
Elizabeth Key ’20
- Business Honors, Supply Chain Management
- REEP Semester (Spain)
Howdy! My name is Elizabeth Key and I am a supply chain management major from Atlanta, Georgia. I am passionate about the Spanish language and culture. On my spring breaks during high school, I traveled with my church to the Dominican Republic (three trips) and Peru (one trip). One summer during high school, I had the opportunity to study at the Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca in Spain. I returned to Spain the summer after graduation with my church to do missions. After almost ten years of studying the language, I was able to live in Madrid for the spring semester of 2018 and attend the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. The classes I took went towards my business degree and my Spanish minor. In Madrid, I lived with three friends that I met through classes in Mays. We traveled to other cities in Spain and to other European and African countries almost every weekend! A global mindset is one of the greatest assets that Mays Business School offers its students. I learned a great deal from taking classes at UC3M, but even more from conversations about daily life and cultural difference with friends from all over the world.
Kenyatta Brisco ’19
- Global Business Brigades (Panama)
Howdy! My name is Kenyatta X. Brisco and I am a senior management-HR major from Houston, Texas. Where I grew up, not many people had the opportunities I am fortunate enough to have today. Coming into Mays I was afraid to leave my comfort zone, but CIBS did a great job of explaining to me the benefits of studying abroad. The summer after my freshman year I was given the opportunity to go to Panama as part of the Global Business Brigades. There, I was able to apply my financial literacy skills and help the people of Panama. I never knew how much doing that would change my perspective of going abroad. After my sophomore year I went to Europe with EF Ultimate Breaks, a country dedicated to sending college students abroad to learn about the different cultures. That was one of the best months of my life, where I was able to travel and learn about the different cultures that impact Europe to this day. As I come to the closing of my collegiate career, I wanted to scratch that travel bug once again. I am fortunate enough to have been selected as the President of the January 2019 Global Business Brigade. I hope to inspire others to use the CIBS office as a resource, because you never know where tomorrow can take you.
Anna Vigdorov ’19
- REEP Summer (Norway)
Howdy! My name is Anna Vigdorov and I am a senior PPA major getting my bachelors in Accounting and masters in Financial Management. I’m from Katy, TX, but like most, I group myself in with Houston. Growing up in a Russian family, I was always traveling back to visit grandparents, and that’s where my love for travel arose. Coming into Mays as a freshman, I knew that I wanted to study abroad no matter what. I started showing up at the CIBS office once a week bugging all of the advisors on what steps I need to take to make my trip happen. Summer going into junior year, I was fortunate enough to do a summer exchange program in Oslo, Norway. I spent the summer white water rafting, traveling across Norway, and making friends from all around the world. I came back into junior year with stories to tell for hours, and an added perspective to various cultures. One of the greatest things I have done for myself during my collegiate career is study abroad, and I would strongly push for anyone even thinking about it, to go ahead and take the leap! Our CIBS office does an amazing job with organization and helping each and every student achieve their study abroad dream. The worst that can happen is coming home with a ton of new friends, and knowledge that is not available within a classroom!
Amanda Boliek ’19
- Management Information Systems
- Nordic Summer Faculty-led
Howdy! My name is Amanda Boliek, and I am a senior management information systems major from Liberty Hill, Texas. This past summer, I had the opportunity to study abroad in Helsinki, Finland for a month. This was my first time traveling to a different continent, so I was extremely excited to see more of the world and learn about new cultures. While I was there, I experienced the Nordic Business culture through various classes and company visits. Not only did I learn so much more about the global business environment, but I also made an incredible group of friends on the trip. While studying in Helsinki, I had the chance to travel to Estonia and the Czech Republic too. Studying abroad really opened my eyes to the incredible cultures that exist outside of the United States, and I would definitely recommend traveling abroad to everyone.
Maureen McClellan ’18
- Global Business Brigades (Panama), Southern Africa Winter Faculty-led, Internships (Argentina & Spain)
Howdy! My name is Maureen McClellan and I am a super senior marketing major from Katy, TX. My love for traveling began when I was a baby – I first left the country when I was only six months old. Discovering and understanding different cultures has become my passion; to date I have visited 27 countries. Texas A&M has provided me with the opportunity to travel to 3 different continents during my time here and has given me the chance to study, work, and live abroad. As a freshman, I had my first international experience through CIBS. I went to Panama for a week to apply what I had learned in my business classes by teaching local people in indigenous communities about micro-finance and serving as a consultant to small businesses. The following year I participated in a faculty-led program to South Africa and Swaziland to learn about non-profits and entrepreneurship. I spend half of my junior year in Spain for an internship with the government and was in Argentina for two months interning for a private oil company. International experiences have shaped my time here at A&M and have had an enormous impact on my education. What I have gained from these trips has not only reinforced everything I have learned in the classroom, but also taught me things you can’t learn from a text. I am a better global citizen in this world because of the opportunities offered to me by CIBS and A&M.
Thanh Le ’19
- Internship (Spain), Regents’ Africa
Howdy! My name is Thanh Le and I am a senior finance major from Houston, Texas. Growing up in a multicultural family, I was fortunate enough to have a lot of opportunities to visit various countries when I was younger. My experience of interacting with different cultures ultimately fueled my passion for traveling and my dream of one day moving to and living in Europe full time. I entered college with the goal of traveling to a new place every year, and Texas A&M has done an amazing job providing me with international programs to achieve my goal. At the end of my freshman year, I was selected to go on the Phillips 66 Global Leadership Program to Dubai and South Africa. This two week trip was an eye-opening experience, I really got to see the world from a different perspective and realized how much of it I haven’t seen. That’s why coming to the end of my sophomore year, I decided to take an internship in Spain, in hopes of discovering more parts of the world and gaining a full understanding of the working and living life in Europe. Each international experience has left me with many lessons and great experiences. Not only was I able to discover myself in an unfamiliar environment, grow personally, and establish life direction, but I also gained tons of great relationships and valuable knowledge of the world.
Monica Swei ’20
- Business Honors, Supply Chain Management
- Ecuador & Peru Summer Faculty-led
Howdy! My name is Monica Swei and I am a junior Supply Chain Management major from Plano, TX. Growing up in a dual-background family, I have always been instilled with an appreciation for different cultures and the world around me. I have been half way across the world to China and South Korea on family vacations, but this past summer I had the opportunity to go to Latin America for the first time. I went on the Ecuador and Peru Business trip this past May, and what an adventure it was! I chose this program because I wanted to step into a space outside of my comfort zone. I have also been studying Spanish for the past eight years and wanted the opportunity to use it beyond a classroom setting. Between seven plane rides in just two short weeks, I saw so much of each country’s unique culture, cuisine, and natural beauty. Ecuador and Peru truly exceeded my expectations. I saw volcanoes in Ecuador, walked along the beach in Mira Flores, and even hiked up Machu Picchu. Taking a moment to pause and observe the world around you is the best way to grow! You learn how to be comfortable with the uncomfortable and you are challenged to think about your experiences with a different lens. I hope that everyone has the opportunity to broaden their perspective of the world by going abroad, and the CIBS office is a great resource to help get you started.
Would you like to be a student ambassador? We will be looking for new ambassadors for the 2019-2020 school year. Apply with this form.
The application is due May 1, 2019.