Alumni Spotlight: Dr. Hugh Marc Porter
Posted on September 1, 2018 by MCOB Outreach
Seeking a more well-rounded experience, Dr. Hugh Marc Porter came to South after transferring from UAH in Huntsville. He wanted an education emphasizing international trade and the city of Mobile was a hot spot on the topic. Porter also enjoyed living in a location nested between popular destinations such as, Pensacola, Florida and New Orleans, Louisiana.
Porter graduated from South in 1988 with a Bachelor’s degree in International Business. His education pursuit didn’t stop there; as a matter of fact it had only just begun. Porter continued on to obtain a Master of Art (MA) degree in Anthropology from San Diego State University, a Master of Science (MSc) in change management at Oxford University and HEC Paris business school, and a PhD in Management at Kedge Business School in Marseille, France.
To Porter, South means one thing to him – home. He says life is comfortable here and he is glad to be back. He describes his time at South and in the Mitchell College of Business as busy. “I was working at a department store named Parisian. It is ironic that I ended up living in Paris for 17 years. I was going to classes and trying to keep up with a busy social life across the Bay, but it was a fun busy.”
After graduation, Porter moved to Washington, D.C. and worked for a Taiwanese think tank. He says there was interesting work in explaining why Taiwan should be independent and how the world has changed since then. Following the Taiwanese think tank, he went to work in Cape Town, South Africa, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, back to Los Angeles and then to Paris, France. He currently owns a consulting research firm in Paris called Stratcomms Ltd. They work with large multinational firms such as BMW, Toyota and L’Oréal developing global strategies and local implementation. Working on a project basis, there are always new things to do and different geographical areas to explore. The company also provides support in Washington, D.C. for those companies or people who need assistance communicating their view points. “This is a new area that we find is very interesting after the election of President Trump. International companies are finding it difficult to understand the new world order and we help them navigate it,” he says.
He is the founder and lead consultant of this company. He first started in France where labor laws are very strict and people look for life-time jobs. One such company was having problems with their New York office making too much money; this was curious to him because he had never heard of such a thing. He was brought in to explain the point of view to the company from headquarters. He notes that his career has been full of these rather interesting situations that were confusing at first look and then became more logical the deeper he looked.
When asked how his career has evolved, Porter says, “Over time I have come to see how things change. I was fortunate that I was able to move fast when needed and slow when necessary. I have moved from a more operational level in major companies to the corporate level. This gives a bird’s eye perspective and requires letting go of doing the work and focusing on the organization of people. That is a difficult balance. I used to crave doing the hands-on work but now have come to understand a higher level strategic vision is more fascinating. It has also allowed me to work with governments of countries and, therefore, an even more macro- view of life.”
Porter says South taught him about a way of life that is rare and deep and allows him to have insights into America and the world that we think is normal but others do not easily understand. This can lead to very interesting business opportunities. “When you respect others, you can see opportunities many cannot see. This is a real competitive advantage.”
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