Javier Castano with a donkey packed with supplies next to a local man
Javier Castano in Afghanistan on a 2012 site visit to a USAID road construction project.

Master of International Business set Castano’s sights on the world

Javier Castano (BSBC ’06, MIB ’07) didn’t want to pigeonhole himself into one industry. With familiarity in building construction and a passion for international travel, the Master of International Business program offered the perfect step to further his business knowledge and prepare him for the future.

Today, Castano serves as a Foreign Service Officer who specializes in contracting and grants management for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). He procures foreign assistance programs and is based in Cambodia.

“Interestingly enough, USAID’s Foreign Service Officer recruitment process requires relevant work experience and, particularly for the contracting specialty, a master’s degree in a related area of study,” Castano said. “Without the MIB degree, I would not have this job. The actual curriculum of the program, with the international focus of the academics, truly helped me understand business concepts from a macroeconomic perspective.”

Castano participated in a study abroad semester at the E.M. Lyon Business School in France and completed an internship at the U.S. Mission to the European Union in Brussels, Belgium. That internship is what changed his plan and turned living abroad into the long-term plan for his life.

“During my internship abroad, I realized that working in the international arena is more akin to a lifestyle than a job,” Castano said. “I was no longer just a student abroad or a tourist but living and working overseas for an extended period of time. Although the internship was just a few months, this idea still applies today as I have been overseas for the greater part of eight consecutive years now.”

After graduating from the MIB program, Castano began his career stateside. He joined Holder Construction Company, a general contractor based in Atlanta, as a Pre-Construction Engineer. He worked on procurement and contracting of trade contracts for commercial construction projects.

While later working at KPMG’s U.S. headquarters in New York City, fellow MIB alumnus Kevin Brown showed Castano an announcement that USAID was in the midst of recruiting Foreign Service Officers with backgrounds in contract management. The international aspect grabbed his attention, just as it did when he decided to enroll in the MIB program.

“Next thing I know, I was being interviewed for several hours in D.C. and filling out applications for a security clearance,” Castano said. “Fast-forward nine years and here we are today.”

Living and working overseas has provided unique challenges. His location is determined by a bidding cycle, which is made even more challenging by his wife also being a government employee. Their previous tour took them to the U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo. Before that, Castano was posted at the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam and the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Castano’s experience in the MIB program set him up for success in his future career. To learn more about how you can experience the same benefits through a fully online program option.