Deedee Smith, B.A. 2005

Vice President Global Sales, Ecolab – St. Paul, MN

2005 Major: International Comparative Studies, certificate in Markets & Management Studies; MBA (2011)

How has being an ICS graduate from Duke helped shape you personally and/or professionally?

"Being an ICS graduate has helped me pursue a personal interest and curiosity for all things international. In combination with the Markets and Management certificate, I positioned my studies as essentially International Business. Having studied abroad my junior year allowed me to build on this foundation as well. I immediately began with Ecolab in their International Marketing department upon graduation and have continued to follow a path incorporate my global focus throughout my career. Perhaps unsurprisingly, when I decided to pursue my MBA, I was immediately attracted to a program Fuqua had at the time called the Cross-Continent MBA program. I was able to study in 5 countries outside the US as part of the program, which was very exciting and particularly topical to the work I do. The seeds of much of my personal and professional growth since I left Duke all trace back to my elected course of study with the ICS program!"

What advice would you give students in Duke's International Comparative Studies programs? 

"Get comfortable in the grey areas! ICS might feel a bit harder to articulate versus other traditional majors, but that lets you live in the nuance and merchandize your expertise in unique ways that stand out! When it comes to working in a global environment, this flexibility is essential. Being able to navigate new situations, new cultures, new ways of thinking - that’s where the good stuff is. Be comfortable being uncomfortable; it’s more rewarding!"

Deedee Smith