Angela Acuna, ’11, on Working Abroad for IKEA

My name is Angela Acua, I graduated from St. Joseph’s in 2011 majoring in International Business. After graduating I began working for IKEA as a Business Area Supply Specialist. I never thought about a career in supply chain, but the International Business Program definitely prepared me for it. Every day I work with people around the world securing availability of IKEA products for North America, specializing in our kitchen system along with appliances. The matrix of people I work with range from forecasters in our main office, IKEA of Sweden, to planners that work directly with our suppliers, to the retail leaders in the US and Canada. It is my job to work with all of those people to be able to provide the IKEA customer with their products. From my coursework at St. Joe’s there are two specific classes that stick out in my mind and that I look back on today and realize how extremely valuable they were for me. They would be International Management and Global Strategic Planning. Even though I am not a manager, the International Management course really opened my eyes to how different cultures affect business. Now that I work with people all over the world in person, via email and phone conference I have realized how absolutely important it is to understand those cultures. It is important to be aware little things such as handshakes and being comfortable talking on the phone, but also being aware that reflection is sometimes expected at the end of meetings and how certain cultures can dance around giving bad news. As for Global Strategic Planning, well that computer simulation is essentially my job. Even if you do not end up working in supply chain I have learned from my non-supply chain partners that it is just as important to understand how it works. Through the International Business Society I was given the opportunity to network with professionals in many different industries. I know it can be difficult to imagine where you will end up, but through guest speakers it was great to ask questions and really get an idea of where to start looking for jobs. St. Joe’s and the International Business Program has definitely helped me get to where I am today; both in practice, but maybe even more importantly teaching me how important networking and communicating with people is. If I could do it all over again I wouldn’t change a thing.IMG_6878