Feature Stories

Building Character and Community - Part 2: Success Abroad

Inspired to Achieve

China - Wanli Dai '05 BA

Wanli Dai
China - Wanli Dai '05 BA

Once a young pioneer in the university's first class of China Incarnate Word (CIW), Wanli Dai didn't know that the road he would ultimately take would be Interstate 10 to Houston, to work for one of the most prestigious accounting firms in the U.S.

Two months into his new role as auditor for Ernst & Young, Wanli - also known as William - still loves his work. “I didn't start out liking accounting,” said Dai. “But I was inspired by my professors and decided to give it a try. After I got into it, I knew I wanted an accounting career.” So Dai figured what better place to start than one of the big four accounting firms in the nation.
“My work with Ernst & Young takes me to various companies to do financial control testing and auditing to ensure company numbers are reliable,” says Dai. “It's challenging, and I have the chance to learn from the most talented people in the industry.”

Dai is in the top tier himself as one of CIW China's four highest achievers who transitioned to the U.S. to complete their degrees here. His GPA and command of English made him a sought-after candidate by leading firms, even prior to completing his master's degree. Dai followed a swift path to success - CIW AA '03, UIW BA '05 and MS from Trinity University just one year later. He plans to continue his education on the job before taking his skills back home to assist China's growing economy. He'd eventually like to teach and inspire others as his professors inspired him.

“My education at CIW and UIW will always be a special part of my life. Incarnate Word is unique in the way people care about each other in this small community,” says Dai. “I always felt that warmth of caring, even now while I'm hundreds of miles from campus.”

Providing Futures

Nigeria - Dr. Frank Jacobs '78 BS

Dr. Frank Jacobs
CEO Jacobs is busy expanding his winery and making plans to build a secondary school.

As Frank Jacobs observed the impact of illiteracy and unemployment while growing up in Nigeria, he never imagined what a pivotal role he would play in the lives of his country's people. “I was inspired to contribute to the industrial development of my country,” says Jacobs. “Few people were well educated, and both my parents didn't know how to read or write.”

That left an impression. He completed his doctorate and worked in the U.S. and Canada before returning home to Nigeria to apply what he learned. “I wanted to help solve the problems plaguing my society and improve the lives of others,” he says.

With the support of his family, Jacobs established a winery in his rural town. Now Chairman and CEO of Jacobs Wines Limited, he has changed the face of his community by providing jobs, futures -- and a school. “Our operation has diversified to include education,” says Jacobs. “We've established a private primary school that has represented Nigeria in Mathematics and Science competitions in Africa.”

Helping Others Succeed

Mexico - Marcos Fragoso '96 BBA

Marcos Fragoso
Fragoso feels “The more prepared are people, the more benefit they can bring to their country.”

“Destiny brought me to work in education,” says Marcos Fragoso, who worked for the Legionaries of Christ corporate office supervising and operating its schools and universities in Mexico. It changed his life. After three years, he was drawn back to his alma mater.

Fragoso is now director of Centro Universitario Incarnate Word (CIW) in Mexico City and coordinator for UIW Latin American initiatives. Before this role, Fragoso worked in service industries in the U.S. and abroad, then moved back home to Mexico to become operations manager for auto parts stores. “Wherever I work, I always try to do my best,” says Fragoso. But he adds, “It was UIW that gave me the vision to innovate and create.”

Passionate about CIW Mexico, Fragoso wants to see the program's enrollment grow and new degrees introduced to bring more students and recognition to the remote campus. “My goal is to have this become one of the most recognized universities in my country.”

Leading the Charge

Bosnia - Velida Svraka '03 BA

Velida Svraka
Svraka on a visit to New York City. She says, “I am always up for a challenge; so whatever presents itself as the most exciting challenge will also be my next goal.”

After six months of reselling licenses, educating business partners and implementing aggressive marketing strategies, Velida Svraka convinced Microsoft, Inc., to award NTCHS, a leading Bosnian tech company, a contract to distribute its products. Today, Svraka is Microsoft product manager of NTCHS specializing in software licensing in Bosnia, and she's in charge of managing that contract.

Svraka has the challenging task of getting big companies and government institutions in line with regulations. As a communication arts major, Svraka didn't graduate from UIW with specific knowledge of the IT industry, but her experiences made her realize that nothing was impossible. Her attitude was, “If I could come all the way from Bosnia to study in a foreign language, then getting into an unknown industry could not be much more difficult, could it?”

Supplying Life's Finer Things

France - Philippe Courty '87 MBA

Philippe Courty
Courty spread his creative wings, from French Air Force to French entrepreneur.

From working with the French Air Force in International Affairs to luxury décor products, Philippe Courty finds the latter most fascinating. After his UIW MBA in 1987, he returned to France to work with the French Minister of Defense, but then turned his sights toward the role of entrepreneur.

Now as owner of his own company called “Pygmalion,” Courty is spreading his creative wings. “I wanted to start my own brand and be my own boss and have a superb adventure!” he said. His enterprise, a mail-order catalog business selling high-end designer items, was inspired by San Antonio and all he experienced while living and studying here.

What does it take to make the leap from a government role to that of small business owner? Courty says you need to envision what you want and follow through.