Our first career profile is from Sofía Alejandra Maradiaga, who is a Student Ambassador at UNITEC Honduras studying Marketing and International Business. An avid reader and keen on foreign languages, she is self-confessed globe-trotter. She is also interested in everything from science to art to business. She organizes TEDxUnitec and is a Startup Weekend organizer.
Why did you enter your field of study?
Marketing and International Business is a very dynamic career offered by UNITEC Honduras that combines the creativity and strategic thinking of marketing with international relations emphasizing on foreign trade. Thus, in addition to traditional knowledge and application, most classes have an international approach to their subjects that challenge the students to research and imagine the application of learned topics in different countries. Having felt a deep fascination for cultures that aren’t my own since travelling abroad for the first time as a child, a degree that offered such an experience seemed just right.
But how exactly did I know it’d be this way?
My older sister began studying this career when I was still in school. Every time I visited her during summer vacations, I’d ask her how college was and she would tell me about the content of her classes and what she learned day-in and day-out. This included learning about product design, advertising, economy, consumer behavior, being able to work with non-profit organizations and even learning a new language. With time, as I began to consider what I would study, I discovered that I wanted a career that wouldn’t mean monotonous, repetitive work. I wanted something that offered new challenges periodically, where both science and design could be involved, and where I could get to interact with different cultures. Having a keen interest for design and science, I wanted to somehow stay in touch with these areas without having to focus on them directly.
I would return from summers spent in Tegucigalpa, hearing my sister talk enthusiastically about her academic experiences, which ticked all the right requirement boxes in my own mind when choosing which future major I should go for.
What do you like most of about your area of study?
What makes me think “I studied the right thing” are those moments when I get to apply the knowledge I’ve learned in class, using the sheer diversity of disciplines that are involved in Marketing. In itself, Marketing has four big aspects that make up the so-called “marketing mix”: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. Each one represents a rich aspect in this business arena. For example, Place involves logistics while Promotion involves advertising; both being key areas that a marketing professional must be familiar with at least at a basic level. Moreover, the mere action of establishing the 4P’s of marketing requires the assistance of different fields, such as market research and even neuroscience. This sets the foundations of an exciting job that gives creative freedom and access to a myriad of industries.
As a marketing professional, you can work in the tech industry one year, then in the fashion world the next. With marketing you can also work outside the business world and utilize the knowledge you’ve acquired in areas to support social causes, or even politics. This is what makes marketing the career for me, for a curious person who loves learning about new things, a winner.
I must admit that my alma mater has had a lot to do with my love for my degree. UNITEC Honduras was precisely the right place to study this career. The university’s connection to Laureate gave me several opportunities to directly experiment internationality in relation to my field of study. Through outstanding experiences like having the chance to personally assist the World Business Forum and to join the Laureate Ambassador Program, interacting with students (many of them who are now dear friends of mine) from different institutions within the network and gaining a renewed perspective of my career.
The heavy focus on entrepreneurship that UNITEC plants in its students’ minds has also been key to my development and mind-set as a professional. Since the beginning of my career I involved myself in student groups formed within college. Through them, event organization knowledge and the habit of investigating new trends within my career has come naturally to me. The university’s social responsibility program has often put me into contact with local NGOs, which has given me the opportunity to make a difference within my community as I learn.
I’m so enthralled with the different areas of my career that I’m not yet sure on which will I focus on in the long-run. In the nearby future I can say that I’ve loved expanding my knowledge in neuromarketing and public relations.
In what direction do you think your area of study is going professionally?
Concerning marketing, I believe one of the main trends now shaping brand-customer communication, and will continue to affect the industry, is data-driven marketing. As mobile goes more and more mainstream and technology creates more communication channels between companies and consumers, brands will have to learn how to use the large amounts of data generated from these channels to measure the effectiveness of their mobile marketing efforts and to generate ideas on how to build better relationships with their target market through the aforementioned channels.
The harnessing of this data will also allow new metrics to surface (such as the ones we now have available through social media), that will let marketers keep better track of their audience in a more specific way and personalized way. I believe this will also grant us the ability to offer messages more personally adapted to each user at a lower cost.
What are your ambitions?
Speaking of short-term ambitions, after I finish my Bachelor’s Degree I want to continue my studies in business, most likely in the form of a Master’s Degree, preferably abroad in Europe or in the United States. I wish to opt for either a Master’s in Business Administration or in another area related to marketing, like public relations. Living and working in another country is also in my plans, particularly in Germany, a country whose language and culture I love. I’m especially drawn to Berlin, due to the great quality of education available and the historical richness it boasts. I recently had the chance to take advanced German courses in this city through a scholarship award, and my stay proved to me that this was the place to be.
If you could go back in time and advise yourself about your course/career, what would you say?
Having the chance to go back in time, I’d probably tell myself to begin studying a second degree sooner and without hesitation. Other than Marketing and International Business, I’m studying Finance as a complementary degree with the sole purpose of expanding my knowledge in Management. Also, supplementing the strategic thinking that Marketing implies with the numerical analyses and planning that are mandatory in Finance. I’m now close to finishing both programs simultaneously. When I began studying Finance during my second year in Marketing, I was unsure it’d be the best idea. As it turns out, it was a really good one, since it has given my studies a new level of depth within Management Sciences, taught me the importance of keeping metrics and how to analyze said metrics. So I would encourage anyone considering Marketing to complement their studies with an extra degree that can introduce something interesting to their learning that ultimately prove a great asset in the future.