Alumni Spotlight: Diorgenes Borges

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When his company in Brazil relocated Diorgenes to Houston, it was only for a short period. Agecom Produtos de Petroleo, Ltda., a distributor of chemical and petrochemical products, wanted Diorgenes to work part time in their Houston subsidiary–Agecom America, Inc.–and use the rest of his workday to study English. A friend recommended the Rice University ESL Program. He was impressed by both the Intensive English Program’s solid curriculum and Rice University’s beautiful campus. His main goal as an ESL student was to improve his English so that he could move his career forward. “Improving my communication skills gave me more confidence to participate in important meetings and share my ideas and thoughts with coworkers and business partners.” Taking English classes and putting what he learned into practice paid off. After just a few months, the company decided to give him a permanent position in their Houston office. That was seven years ago, and he still lives and works in Houston today.


Diorgenes, fifth from the left, with some of his classmates on his last day in the program

Diorgenes says that the teachers were one of the aspects he liked the most about our program. They understood the difference between teaching English to native and non-native speakers. He also enjoyed the multiple opportunities the program offered for students to interact with their classmates outside of class, mainly through a robust social activities agenda. These chances to mingle allowed him and his classmates to apply what they were learning in real situations. It also provided for the development of strong friendships. “I keep in touch with a lot of them. Some went to college in the USA and now they have jobs and are moving forward in their field.” As far as Houston, he loved its diversity and the opportunity to meet people from different countries who have faced similar struggles and situations. “My favorite thing about Houston is the fact that it is a multicultural city, and it makes everyone feel at home.”

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Diorgenes, second from left, strolling around the Rice University campus with his friends

Spending time with people from different cultures in the program also prepared him for a new role as the executive of a large global corporation, making business with international companies and working with people from all over the world. Three years ago, MAN Diesel & Turbo North America Inc., a global German oil and gas corporation here in Houston, hired Diorgenes. After only one year, he was promoted to head of the Purchasing Department of that corporation. A little over a year later, he got yet another promotion. This time he became the head of Procurement, a position in which he supervises both the Logistics and Purchasing Departments.

One other thing that Diorgenes achieved by polishing his English, which in turn helped him advance his career, was the opportunity to enroll in professional studies in supply chain management at the University of Houston. This 40-hour program allowed him to have meaningful discussions and exchange ideas about best practices in the field of global supply chain management. Thinking about his own experience, one recommendation he would give you if you were considering studying English in the USA, is that you get exposed to as many experiences as possible, in order to learn not just the language, but the culture as well. He would also suggest you be open to the unknown and unplanned things that will surely come your way, and use those for your own enrichment.

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Author: Milagros Lugo-Amador, Assistant Director


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