Originally from Medellin, Colombia, Ricardo came to Mercer University on a Division I tennis scholarship to study in the school’s esteemed engineering program. Here, the Colombian study abroad student earned both his undergraduate and MBA degree, before launching a successful career as vice president at a leading produce company in Florida.
Ricardo also found a sense of family as he gained the tools he needed to succeed in the business world. He took some time to tell us about his experience learning, growing, and thriving during his time at Mercer.
Q: As a Colombian international student, what was it like coming to Macon from Medellin?
Ricardo: I remember setting foot in a small town called Macon all by myself with a heavy heart from having left my hometown, Medellin. The next day, I had my freshman orientation program where I met other international students and quickly made good friends from all around the world.
Q: How did your experience at Mercer University affect how you work in the business world?
Ricardo: I attribute my perspective on diversity and how I apply it within my role to the exposure I received at Mercer University.
Q: As an alum of the engineering program, a Mercer international MBA student, and a star athlete, how did you apply discipline and balance to your athletic and academic responsibilities?
Ricardo: Mercer’s support systems helped me become very structured and goal-oriented. My MBA at Stetson School of Business provided me with great leadership skills and the business background I needed to run the different programs I’ve run throughout my career.
Q: How did you find your way from Mercer international student to your career in the produce industry?
Ricardo: After graduation, I secured a position as assistant product manager at Del Monte Fresh Produce and then moved up the ranks. I couldn’t believe that I was starting my career within such a great company and getting the opportunity to learn the business from one of the best in the industry.
My job requires a problem-solving mindset, and it keeps me entertained and on my toes every day.” – Ricardo, MBA 2007
Q: What inspires you?
Ricardo: I love the idea of bringing healthy fruits into the market and helping people keep a healthier lifestyle. In addition, visiting different production areas in Central and South America has been a great experience for both my professional and personal life. I have learned from many different cultures and met a diverse array of great people along the way.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
Ricardo: At this moment, my professional plan is to continue growing and become the leading player in the industry—to become the go-to supplier for all main retailers and develop their tropical assortments nationwide. For my future plans, I’ll keep aiming high, keep moving up the corporate ladder and become the CEO of a produce company or, why not, run my own company.
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