Eric Vetter has traveled many miles and made many decisions in his career as a business professional, but none was more significant than the choice he made in 1984, when he joined the second class from the University of Nevada, Reno to ever be part of the University Studies Abroad Consortium (USAC).
“In 1984, I was on pace to graduate, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” said Vetter, a vice president of business development for International Game Technology. Vetter, who grew up in Winnemucca, Nev., was of Basque descent – his maternal grandparents were originally from the Basque country.
So, he decided studying abroad would give him an opportunity to bring his career plans into greater clarity.
“I saw it as a great opportunity to avoid graduation,” Vetter said, smiling. “But I learned so much about myself and the world and what I wanted to do.”
Vetter shared his story earlier during a talk he gave on campus, “From Winnemucca to Spain and Around the World: One Man’s Journey to a Career in International Business,” in an event co-sponsored by USAC and the International Business Student Chapter of the College of Business.
Vetter’s story included his memories of spending a year living and studying in San Sebastian, Spain. He lived in a two-bedroom apartment with four female students (“Being on the couch all the time,” he said), and benefitted from the insider’s knowledge that Carmelo Urza, now director of USAC, brought whenever Urza visited his younger friend.
“Carmelo knew his stuff, let me tell you,” Vetter said.
Most of all, though, it was a perfect experience for a young, ambitious man who hadn’t quite decided on his life’s path.
From traveling and studying abroad, “I learned it was a big world and there were a lot of things I could do … and I decided to get my international (business) degree,” Vetter said.
Vetter graduated from the University in 1985 with a bachelor of science degree in Business Administration, then earned his master’s degree in International Management. He’s since lived, worked and visited locales that would be the envy of any world traveler: England, France, India, Singapore, China, Japan, Latin America.
“I’ve always been the person who was volunteering to go overseas,” Vetter said. “A desire to do more, with a focus on doing things outside of traditional roles, has always served me well.”
Interestingly, particularly as he grown older and his family (Vetter is married and has two teen-age children) has grown, the itch to travel hasn’t subsided. He does, however, believe that even when an individual takes a risk and tries a new job in a new country or a new place, they should always remember “their core … keep your family close.”
“For me, it was always wanting to do something outside of the U.S., but also to have a good family,” Vetter said.
He said he will never forget his experience with USAC.
“My USAC involvement was the turning point to decide on a career … and it’s still probably the thing that motivates me to go into the boss’ office and say, ‘Hey, I’d like to help with that,’” said Vetter, who speaks Spanish, French and Portuguese. “I’ve learned to go to other places where there are problems because problems are just opportunities … they truly are.”