MA Global Communications

Lucia Rios: A Marketing and Communications Professional with an Edge

May 08, 2024

As a first-generation college student and the first in her family to move abroad, Lucia Rios applied to the MA in Global Communications out of a love of French language and culture and a desire for a practice-based degree. She had studied French and Economics in undergraduate but decided to “completely pivot,” as she explains. She was excited that, through its joint US and French certification, the program offered the possibility to stay in France after graduation, which she has managed to do successfully. She cites the program’s exposure to “real-life experiences” through practica –such as the Branding Practicum during which students create their own company and brand it from start to finish, and the Writing Practicum– as highlights of her time at AUP. “At AUP everything is tied to real-life experiences,” she says, which she credits as preparing her for both an internship and her current role as Chief Marketing Officer at Itryo.

Itryo is an agency offering the services of experienced marketers to start-ups, regardless of what their budget might be. Upon graduation from the MAGC program, she was hired as a part-time intern before becoming a full-time intern, then accepting a French CDI (permanent, full-time) contract as CMO of the company and consultant. “We work with clients anywhere from a few months to a year or a year and a half, depending on their needs, to help them boost their marketing efforts. That can be anything from building up teams from scratch, or coming in with an already existing team and leading them or upscaling them; it can be more operational marketing work, or very strategic with product launches, features, etc.”

While the program offers several specialized tracks (Development and Communications; Digital Cultures and Industries; and Fashion), Lucia chose the general track, which allowed her to take classes that interested her from across the curriculum. Looking back, Lucia appreciates the flexibility the program offers in that respect. “I liked that it was a small school and that there was the possibility of building your own degree and path,” she says, citing the interesting electives she took, such as Beginning Arabic and other marketing courses that could help her broaden her skill set. The study trips – she went to Senegal, Egypt, Ghana and Stockholm – were also highlights of her time at AUP. But above all, she points to the experience of feeling like a foreigner as being transformative.

“AUP was a gateway to building a life,” she says and mentions the fact that while being an American higher education institution, incoming students should embrace the challenges of being a foreigner in Paris and dealing with the French system and ways of life. “You can’t expect to have everything handed to you, and while AUP will provide a great network and will help open doors for you, it’s up to you to be proactive in your own experience and make it what you want to it be.”

As she sets up plans to return to the United States, while remaining in her current role, she recognizes the great added-value of her profile after spending these years in France, thanks, initially to AUP. She has indeed become equipped to navigate hybrid, multicultural experiences, and cultural differences. Studying in France confronts you with diversity and teaches you to be resourceful, and Lucia seems to have made the most of that.