Alejandro Palacios

Alejandro Palacios

D.B.A. Student
H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship

Pushing Careers to the Next Level

At a time when many executives are happy just to hold onto their jobs, Alejandro Palacios is working his way up the international business ladder. As vice president for Strategy and GoGreen—part of DHL Global Forwarding Americas, the air and sea component of the largest transport company in the world—he is responsible for looking beyond current status reports to show his company the path to the future.

Sitting in his spartan office at the DHL Americas headquarters in Plantation, Fla., he explains why he’s pursuing a Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.) degree in International Business at NSU, even though he’s already a successful executive.

“In my line of work, you need everything a doctorate gives you access to,” said Palacios, who, as the son of a diplomat, grew up in Ecuador, Israel, and France. “If you’re not aware of the latest trends, then what kind of strategies are you developing? You’re a follower, not a leader.”

Palacios spent much of 2009 devising a five year strategic plan and guiding the company’s drive to reduce its carbon footprint. That means everything from changing to more efficient light bulbs to offering “green” shipping alternatives to customers. It’s a lot of responsibility, but Palacios loves his work. “It’s especially fun because I get to do all these different things,” he said.

Palacios didn’t set out for a career in the transportation industry. After earning degrees in business and psychology in Ecuadorian and Mexican schools, he worked for Pronaca, Ecuador’s largest business group, until he realized he needed a multinational corporation on his resume to get into a good business school in the United States. DHL not only gave him the experience he sought, but also transferred him to its U.S. regional headquarters so he could work and study at the same time.

That’s how Palacios came to earn a Master of International Business Administration (M.I.B.A.) degree at the H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship, graduating in 2003. NSU, he said, provides first-rate professors and resources in a true international program, and it provides the weekend classes and online services required for working professionals.

“I’ve done a lot of recruiting in the past 10 years—students from top schools,” Palacios said. “And I can tell you the quality of education I’ve gotten here is second to none.”

Palacios’ M.I.B.A. degree program covered international topics with studies designed for global managers and entrepreneurs. His D.B.A. focuses on advanced decision-making skills, in-depth knowledge of research, and strong leadership development, with a concentration in international business that’s relevant for global managers.

Ruth Clarke, Ph.D., chair for international business at the Huizenga School, said NSU is a great fit for professionals like Palacios. “For students already working for multinational companies, the focus is always on being entrepreneurial,” she said, “being able to develop new initiatives and handle change in a fast-paced, global arena.”

After five years of study, Palacios is less than a year away from receiving his D.B.A. In January, he received the Huizenga School’s 2009 Distinguished Alumni Award at NSU’s annual Celebration of Excellence.

Palacio says his NSU education will pay off for the rest of his life. “I saw they were investing in the school in a way that made it a very good, long-term investment for me,” Palacios said. “My diploma and my degree are going to be worth much more in 10, 20, or 30 years than they are now. You can’t say that about every school.”