Wesley Warshawer – South Korea 2014

I have always been interested in the intersection of trade, economics, and geopolitics. I was fascinated by the global nature of these subjects; growing up 60 miles from Mexico, “international” issues didn’t seem so far away.

This led me to study abroad in India and South Korea during my undergraduate education. After graduation I went into consulting which took me to companies all around the US. Regardless of their size, industry, or geographic location, they all dealt with international concerns. Whether they had global customers, suppliers, or branches, every company had to break out of the domestic bubble to stay relevant.

This led me to Fulbright. My Fulbright program sent me back to South Korea for two years to pursue a Master’s in Global Economy and Strategy. Not only did the curriculum emphasize trans-national issues, but the college had over 400 students from 65 countries. We lived in a global environment.
South Korea went from being one of the poorest countries in the world after the Korean War to the 11th largest economy today. They have placed themselves squarely in the global economy, dominating the electronics, automobiles, and shipbuilding industries. South Korea’s rise in the last 70 years is both impressive and inspiring, so it is the perfect place to study international development, trade, and economics.

On my Fulbright, I met many amazing people from around the world. I have taken this knowledge back to the US and into my career. Today, I work at a truly global company located in the heart of Silicon Valley, a semiconductor designer and manufacturer called Maxim Integrated.

I work on the New Product Introduction (NPI) team in the Supply Chain Management division, which means I collaborate with many different departments within the company—engineering, marketing, IT, manufacturing, distribution, and finance—to bring our products to the market. Our engineers create incredible products, but it takes a massive collaboration to get it into the customer’s hands. Our teams are located all around the world; Fulbright has truly prepared me for the global partnership and communication required to bring our new solutions to the market.

I get up early and stay up late to have calls with our offices around the world. I have traveled to our production facility in the Philippines twice. Great companies like ours attract global talent, so even in our Silicon Valley headquarters, I interact with people from all corners of the globe.

I have learned one important lesson during my time in this role: it isn’t enough to just be good at your job. You could be an expert in your field and know everything backwards and forwards, but it doesn’t mean that you will be successful. To make a positive change at your organization, you need to be able to effectively communicate. Even if our company had the best engineers, the best marketing professionals, and best manufacturing team in the world (which we do!), it does not guarantee success. To achieve our common goal of getting our great products to customers, we need to collaborate and work together. Listening, learning, and cooperating with people from around the globe is not easy, but my Fulbright in Korea has prepared me for this challenge.

There is a stereotype that the Fulbright is normally for those interested in working in government, think tanks, NGOs, or academia. But I see a parallel between the Fulbright mission statement and my work in the private sector: “intercultural competence” and global communication is a requisite for success. Fulbright provides participants with the global mindset that is a critical complement to our technical skillsets. No country or company can be insular, and the global education I received during my Fulbright has helped me become an asset to Maxim Integrated.

When I am not working, I am volunteering on the board of the Association of Supply Chain Management (ASCM). As supply chains become more complex and global, our organization seeks to train and educate professionals on the challenges of an optimized supply chain. The way companies buy, build, and sell are changing, and the global piece of this puzzle cannot be overlooked. Politics, economics, and global trade are all woven together, and professionals come to us for continuing education and help navigating these potentially turbulent waters.

I hope to broaden my knowledge of supply chain topics and create stronger global teams to tackle ever-expanding sophisticated problems. I am very thankful for the education, support, and community that Fulbright has provided me. I am grateful to work at a place such as Maxim Integrated where I am part of a global team, all working towards a common goal. It never ceases to amaze me how strong the comradery can be, despite having different cultures, languages, and backgrounds.


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