Since the 7th grade, Hannah Watanabe has known that she belonged in the business world. Even as a 12-year-old she wanted to start her own business one day.
When Watanabe, home-schooled in San Jose from kindergarten through high school, started thinking about college, she also knew that remaining in Silicon Valley was key.
Four years in the marketing program at Santa Clara and a competition-based senior marketing project for Synopsys, a major software company, led to the offer of her dream job upon graduation in June 2010.
"I'm so stoked! I can't wait to get my hands dirty in the marketing department of a big company, show them what I know, and have them show me what they know," says Watanabe.
In her senior year, she participated in the El Salvador Business Immersion Trip. "I could write a novel about how it changed my life," Watanabe says. "I grew up in a very small house and many times would complain to my parents about its size." The tiny one-room home she was welcomed into by a couple living in the village of San Jose de Las Flores lacked many of the conveniences she had grown up with. "They had nothing, yet they kept giving and giving, and not once did I hear them complain. They are so thankful for the little that they had. It helped me realize that they are so much richer than I am."
While in El Salvador, Watanabe met several artisans from villages across the country, for whom their product sales were their only income source. She figured she would return home with numerous places and individuals that she wished to donate money to, but this was not the case.
"I realized that I wanted to use my knowledge as a marketing major to help these individuals sell their products," she says. "It was then that I understood what Santa Clara meant by using one's knowledge and having compassion for those in need."
Watanabe now blogs as a social media specialist at Synopsys. Check out her recent interview with SCU's own marketing professor, Buford Barr: http://synopsysoc.org/thelisteningpost/2011/01/interview-with-professor-buford-barr-part-1-how-corporate-communications-has-changed/
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