Grecia Pardave ’09 came to Southern California from her native Peru in 2003 to study business. After earning her degree in international business from Cal State Fullerton’s Mihaylo College in 2009, Pardave returned to her country, where she is now an associate professor of business marketing at the Universidad Privada del Norte (UPN) in Lima. Pardave reflects on her Cal State Fullerton experience and examines higher education and entrepreneurship opportunities in her nation.
About 4,000 miles southeast of Southern California, the Pacific Rim nation of Peru is experiencing a rapid economic transformation and is a growth market for international investors. Grecia Pardave, a Cal State Fullerton international business grad and associate professor of business marketing at UPN in the Peruvian capital, Lima, encourages entrepreneurs and business professionals to consider her nation as a potential destination.
“For entrepreneurs, Peru is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world,” she says. “Private investment and rising exports have played an important role in this growth. Major export sectors include mining, agriculture, textiles, fishing and oil. Peru also offers a favorable legal framework for foreign investment and has numerous economic cooperation and free trade agreements, including with the United States, European Union, China, Japan, Australia, Mexico and other South American countries.”
Pardave, who advises business startups in Lima in addition to teaching business courses, notes that Peru is among the fastest-expanding economies in a continent that has witnessed uneven growth in recent decades. According to the World Bank, the Andean nation of 32 million people has had an average growth rate of 6% over the past decade, with low inflation.
“The potential of the Peruvian market and its growth are due to the business boom and more international businesses and organizations investing in the country,” she says. “This implies a great demand for highly qualified professionals who have the ability to work according to the higher standards of quality, innovation and the demands of the current global market.”
In teaching international business and marketing courses to the next generation of Peruvian professionals, Pardave has an active role in preparedness for these opportunities.
Comparing Business Education in California and Peru
When reflecting on her student days at Cal State Fullerton, Pardave recalls the diversity of the campus community as a memorable feature of the experience.
“While many universities in Peru offer classes taught in English, studying business in the United States has a broader international focus, with courses available in Chinese, Japanese, German, Spanish, French and Portuguese, giving students the opportunity to learn and understand international business practices and protocols,” she says. “I recall the enriching experience of each of the professors, as well as the diversity, competitiveness and challenges of each project, which have helped shape my professional path. And I remember that it was very common to walk around campus and listen to many languages being spoken. The university taught me to value the contribution of diversity, not only in education but also in my daily life.”
Fast-forward to 2019 and Pardave is teaching both in-person and online courses at UPN’s Lima campus. The diversity she experienced at Cal State Fullerton is a major contributor to the global focus she imparts to her students.
“I am responsible for preparing all materials needed for each of the courses I teach, advising students about their final projects, teaching thesis courses, and being on the jury and advising thesis projects,” she says. “Thanks to the international approach I received while studying at Cal State Fullerton, I share and transfer this global knowledge to my students, teaching them to think outside the box through innovation of ideas, products and services.”
“I believe I am making an impact by going the extra mile,” she says. “I am very passionate about teaching and genuinely care about each student’s success. I always encourage them to be better by following up with their papers and projects and providing them with timely feedback. During each term, I assign innovative projects in which each group is required to research other countries and create a marketing solution for their assigned nation. If you pursue knowledge, you pursue your future!”
As in Southern California, business education in Peru includes advising and mentoring entrepreneurial endeavors, whether launched by students, alumni or others in the community. Pardave particularly advises new businesses on best formation strategies, the development of privacy policies and commercial transaction structures, especially as relates to international expansion.
“Many entrepreneurs have general ideas about their business or project, whether it is a product or service, but they do not know the needs of international markets or the laws that could impact their business,” she says.
Inspirations for an International Educator
Pardave draws inspiration from her personal family and members of the Titan family: “My greatest source of inspiration will always be my parents,” she says. “My dad taught me to never give up on my dreams. Unfortunately, he passed away three weeks after I moved back to Peru. He had fought cancer for more than seven years. My mom, a hardworking woman, showed me that dedication and discipline pay off. She supported my decisions to study abroad, at Cal State Fullerton for my bachelor’s and then in Belgium for my master’s, because she believes in me and the advantages of a higher education.”
At Cal State Fullerton, Pardave was a member of Phi Beta Delta, an internationally focused honor society, for which she served as co-webmaster. She also served as president of the International Student Association, where she developed long-term friendships and recognized the importance of understanding cultural differences and diversity.
“I also had many great professors, such as Josefina Hess, Jane Hall, Modesto Diaz and Pawel Kalczynski, who were always open to answer any questions I had,” she says. “They were all very helpful in showing that they truly care about their students. They taught me about academic excellence, which led me to be on the Dean’s Honors List.”
We send our best wishes to Pardave as she continues her mission to impact the lives of the business students of her country and are privileged that she chose Cal State Fullerton for her undergraduate degree. And congratulations to all of our international students, who bring unparalleled diversity and enrichment to our campus community.