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By Liz Warren-Pederson


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Ryan Patel presents at the Eller Global Perspectives Conference. Photo by Vannessa Kramer.

Industry leaders and faculty focused on global issues offered insight and analysis at the eighth annual Global Perspectives Conference hosted by Eller’s Global Business Program in April. The approximately 100 undergraduates in attendance heard about expansion strategies, unconventional oil and gas, and localization within globalization specific to Argentina and Chile.

“This year’s global cohort program will be in Argentina, so this year’s conference offered really good perspective to the students who will spend their summer in Buenos Aires taking Eller classes,” said Vannessa Kramer, director of international programs within the Eller undergraduate program.

Ryan Patel, vice president of global business and real estate development with Pinkberry kicked off the conference with a talk on expansion strategies for global retailers in Latin America.

“The global market is very sophisticated,” Patel pointed out. “There are so many ways to build a global brand – some brands have gone the franchise route to expand quickly, but we’ve maintained control of the brand to protect it and build global locations the right way.”

Patel got engaged with the Eller College about two and a half years ago. “Pam Perry and her team took me out to lunch. The whole team was genuinely invested in learning about what we’re looking for in terms of talent and how students can prepare to succeed in global careers,” he said. When his division got funding to hire an intern, Patel sent the job description to the Eller team. “They passed on the best fit for our needs, and within a week, we’d hired her,” he said.

The Global Perspectives Conference has been on his calendar for over a year. Although he’s not an Eller alum himself, Patel said he’s an adopted Wildcat. “I can see how focused the team is on helping students, and I want to give back in the same way,” he said. “I hope that the students will remember how people gave them a hand and when they’re in a position to do so, that they’ll help out, too.”

The conference concluded with remarks from Lydia Brantley, investor relations manager at National Oilwell Varco, and Carlos Alsua, senior lecturer in international management and global entrepreneurship with the McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship. The three panelists then took questions from the audience

“We got great feedback on this year’s speakers,” said Kramer. “They definitely made the conference a success for the students.”

Top photo of Buenos Aires Cityscape courtesy Shutterstock.