Paige Newcombe’s global experiences in the MBA program set her on a successful career path at a worldwide company.
By Lisa Thiegs
After getting her undergraduate degree, Paige Newcombe MBA ’05 took a job as a Pan Am flight attendant, which gave her a taste of global travel and interactions. She didn’t know then that later in life she would find herself en route to a career where global business and communications are front
Now, as a worldwide practice executive for IBM, Newcombe knows how valuable her MBA education at St. Edward’s University was. While at St. Edward’s, Newcombe says she had invaluable educational opportunities, both in and out of the classroom.
“I was getting hands-on experience on what it’s like to do business in other countries, which goes a lot further than textbook experience,” says Newcombe, who participated in five trips to Eastern Europe and Central America, where she was assigned as a member of a consulting team for a foreign client and worked to solve business problems and develop business plans. “It was so important to see how culture bleeds into business and how cultural nuances affect the way the business is delivered.”
After graduate school, Newcombe took a job at Coremetrics, which was a fairly small startup software company specializing in cloud computing, a newer platform for software services. IBM’s acquisition of Coremetrics last year brought Newcombe from a privately held 250-person company into a publicly traded 425,000-person company.
As part of a company that is constantly growing in technological advances, Newcombe knows that the world is at her fingertips. “We’ve seen with technology that nearly all business is global, and having at least a basic understanding of how to do business across borders is necessary; it’s no longer optional,” she says.
Newcombe oversees teams around the globe that provide assistance in local languages and make certain that business practices fit with the culture in which they are located. Recently, she has helped establish a group in Tokyo, Japan, and a group in Bangalore, India. She is now directing her attentions to Hong Kong, where IBM aims to set up a group to service the market in China.
While her career has really taken off, Newcombe remains grounded near her hometown of Austin. She lives in nearby Dripping Springs with her husband and two daughters.
Excerpt originally published in the Fall 2011 issue of Directions.