Alumnus Applies Darden-Learned Skills to US State Department Diplomacy
By Jay Hodgkins
University of Virginia Darden School of Business alumnus Hugo Rodriguez (MBA ’92) leads a team of 320 individuals as the Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Paraguay. In a new profile on The Network section of the Darden website, Rodriguez discusses a career with the U.S. State Department that began in 2000 and has taken him to U.S. missions across Latin America to Europe to the Middle East, as well as how his Darden education helped prepare him.
After Darden, I went to work for Dole Fresh Fruit International, first in Colombia and then in Honduras. Darden prepared me to be successful at work — to understand the needs of the enterprise and lead teams to accomplish what was necessary — but it turned out I was also able to adapt quickly to different cultural contexts and be effective in challenging environments. What attracted me to diplomacy was the chance to put my operational abilities and cultural adaptability in the service of the country. From my first day doing visa interviews as a newly minted U.S. Foreign Service officer, I felt connected to a larger purpose, and that feeling has grown over the past 17 years.
The University of Virginia Darden School of Business delivers the world’s best business education experience to prepare entrepreneurial, global and responsible leaders through its MBA, Ph.D., MSBA and Executive Education programs. Darden’s top-ranked faculty is renowned for teaching excellence and advances practical business knowledge through research. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Director of Media Relations
Darden School of Business
University of Virginia