International Business alumna interns as marketing assistant for USDA in Pretoria, South Africa

During her senior year at Barry University, Nicole Ogando was assigned to interview a person whose career was of interest to her as part of her Career Readiness course. The assignment, designed to provide insight into a particular career field, not only helped Ogando decide on a career path – it gave her the chance to experience it.

Ogando, who graduated from Barry’s BSBA in International Business and Finance program in 2014, chose to interview Vladimir Diaz, regional director of Florida and Puerto Rico for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Hispanic-Serving Institutions National Program. At the end of the interview, Diaz presented Ogando with several internship opportunities with the USDA that would provide experience in the field of agricultural development – a field that particularly interests Ogando due to its ability to create jobs and food security in developing countries.

Three weeks after graduation, Ogando was packing her bags and bound for Pretoria, South Africa, where she is now serving a three-month assignment as a marketing intern for the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. 

“I applied to all the programs that Mr. Diaz spoke to me about and, surprisingly, I heard back from all of them,”Ogando said. “I was blessed to be accepted to all, but working in South Africa for the Foreign Agricultural Service was an opportunity that I couldn't let pass me by!”

As a marketing intern, Ogando is responsible for analyzing and reporting economic agricultural data and research, as well as analyzing trade policy and agricultural marketing research. In addition, she travels throughout South Africa to meet with leaders of the retail food industry, the wine industry, the citrus food industry, the table grape industry and other relevant industries in order to understand the dynamics of the different industries and how they trade, as well as how these agricultural products impact South Africa economically and in terms of feeding its people.

Barry’s International Business major not only prepared Ogando for the internship but also equipped her for any future career that requires cultural knowledge and awareness, she said. 

“I love learning about different cultures and I have always been interested in business development and diplomacy,” said Ogando, who partnered her International Business major with a second major in finance. “International Business seemed like a perfect fit. The globalized business world is looking for more people who are culturally aware and who can manage people from different backgrounds, and I wanted to be prepared for that.” 

Upon completing her assignment with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, Ogando hopes to work for an international organization or for the American government developing, managing and implementing programs that help people and communities in developing countries to thrive economically.

“I want to show them the potential of their natural resources that can be used sustainably to create jobs for themselves and get out of the cycle of poverty,” she said.

For more information about Barry’s International Business major, visit  

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