UHV business alumni offer advice, tips during Alumni Week

University of Houston-Victoria alumna Carmen Uruj Perwaiz has been actively involved with alumni since 2013 and was keen to share how her experience with the School of Business Administration accelerated her career. Perwaiz was one of 10 speakers for the school’s annual Alumni Week, and the advice she offered captivated the students.

Carmen Uruj Perwaiz

“UHV faculty and staff, the course material, the interactions and the academic journey impacted my career, and it’s important to share how I’ve benefitted from my degree with the students,” Perwaiz said. “I hope that by speaking to students and demonstrating how they can succeed in their professional roles using the tools they gain from UHV, that they might walk away from my talk with a renewed confidence about deciding to pursue a master’s degree.”

Alumni Week took place virtually from March 29 to April 1. The event is in its 11th year, and UHV School of Business Administration alumni from various businesses and professions were invited to speak to current UHV students about their professional journeys, career insights and advice. Perwaiz was one of 10 speakers for this year’s event.

Ken Colwell

“We are thankful to the alumni for taking the time to share tips and knowledge with our students during Alumni Week,” said Ken Colwell, dean of the business school. “It is a great service that they do as alumni of the School of Business Administration, and we appreciate it.”

Perwaiz graduated from UHV in 2014 with a Strategic Master of Business Administration. She manages communications and public outreach for the United States Agency for International Development and is currently assigned to support the USAID mission at the U.S. Embassy in Tunis, Tunisia. She has previously supported the United States government in roles at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and at the U.S. Embassies in Kabul, Afghanistan, and Islamabad, Pakistan. Perwaiz was born and raised on a horse ranch in Tulsa, Okla., and has bachelor’s degrees in communications and anthropology from the University of Houston.

Perwaiz spoke to students taking a “Seminar in Strategic Management” course about various topics that arise while managing international relations, including how to manage a diverse team from the perspective of an American manager.

Even though most meetings still are taking place in a virtual format, there are cultural nuances that professionals need to keep in mind, including greetings at the beginning of video conferences, how to understand and avoid misunderstandings between languages, and cultural optics. Perwaiz also discussed the value of time zone management and how to increase productivity when the global team is located in different regions.

Jeanniery Gonzalez

“These sound like small courtesies, but these small courtesies go a long way in terms of management success, your team appreciating you and your management techniques,” she said during the lecture.

Jeanniery Gonzalez, a student in the course, said she found Perwaiz’s lecture to be insightful and inspiring. Gonzalez is a procurement manager for an ecommerce medical supply business in Katy and is earning a Strategic MBA in finance and management. She also is a member of the Business Student Association.

“I found what she had to say so interesting because so much of what she spoke about, like learning how to manage meetings in different time zones and cultural nuances, directly applies to my current role and what we have learned in other management courses,” Gonzalez said. “It is so important to do research and approach business in a respectful manner.”

Gonzalez was inspired by Perwaiz’s professional journey as an international communications specialist, how Perwaiz persevered after sustaining critical burn injuries, surviving a violent extremist attack in one of the countries she was assigned to, and the challenges Perwaiz faces as a single mother and career woman. Gonzalez, who has a son, was thrilled to see Perwaiz’s infant son was included in the virtual conference.

“She does a great job even with the situations she’s been faced with just because she is a woman, and I’ve been challenged in some situations because I am a woman,” Gonzalez said. “It’s about being polite, considerate, and showing sympathy and respect for the other person with whom you are in business. We are all humans.”

Gonzalez said once she graduates, she plans to be an active UHV alumna and offer advice to students, as well.

Other speakers during the UHV School of Business Administration’s Alumni Week were:

  • Eduardo Michel, consultant with Black Owl Energy, LLC
  • John Schroeder, global business development manager, Kalsi Engineering
  • Steve Chauffe, vice president of Downhole Tools, Dril-Quip, Inc.
  • Natalie Head, pricing coordinator for the midcontinent and northeast regions of the U.S., Shell Oil Products, U.S.
  • Michael Wells, vice president of operations and supply chain, Dril-Quip, Inc.
  • Dhaval Shah, vice president of operations, Daikin North America, Goodman Manufacturing Co LP
  • Apollo Chang, general manager, David McDavid Acura
  • Victor Rodriguez, operations project coordinator, OMB Valves
  • Robert Royer, founder and president, Building Brands Marketing

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Amber Aldaco