mark pritchard '85
Major: Economics, American Studies
Career field: Retail
Job title: Director, U.S. Country House
Employer: Best Buy
In two to three sentences, please describe what your current position entails.
I am in charge of selection, development, and creation of products that will be branded with the Best Buy Private Label Brands for the US. I also leverage these products into the other Best Buy International Retail Channels (currently Canada and China).
What has been your career path to date?
I worked at Target stores for 14 years in in Merchanding Group (both Buying and Inventory). I have been at Best Buy for 7 years in mulitple capacities (Merchandise Manager, Inventory Director, and Director for Global Sourcing).
Which country(ies) has your work taken you to?
How did your interest in working internationally develop?
I have been working internationally my entire career. I first travelled to China for Business in 1991. I have worked in or travelled to 26 countries.
Which parts of your St. Olaf education best prepared you to work internationally?
There were two key elements in my St Olaf education that prepared me for working internationally: 1) Classes that took a "world view", and 2) have multiple classmates from all parts of the world.
What is the most difficult or challenging aspect about working internationally?
Understanding the culture and business acumen for each of the countries that I work in.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of working internationally?
Learning about the different cultures from the countries that I work. It is the people that make this a rewarding experience.
What does being a “global citizen” mean to you?
Understanding each of the cultures and the countries that I have business ties to. It is important to show respect and understanding for all of the different cultures that I work with. In many countries, relationship is first, business is second.
What advice would you offer current students interested in working internationally?
1) Learn a language, 2) visit and immerse yourself in another culture, 3) visit and learn about as many other cultures as possible, 4) determine for yourself what level of interaction you would like in working with other countries (living there, visiting often, focusing on one country, working with many countries, etc.)
Please include anything else you would like to share about your experiences.
I live in Northfield, so I am willing to meet with students (in person) who are intested in international careers.