UConn alum preps students on starting an international business

Peter Broadbent, vice president of U.S. and European sales at Photronics, advised students in Konover Auditorium on Wed., March 2, 2016. (Jackson Haigis/Daily Campus)

Business students filed into Konover Auditorium Wednesday night to get advice about their industry from University of Connecticut alum Peter Broadbent, who is vice president of U.S. and European sales at Photronics, as part of the global business leadership seminar series hosted by the Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER).

Drawing on his education at UConn, Broadbent emphasized the importance of education.

“You’re lucky to be a husky,” he said to the crowd. “You’re lucky to be in school.”

During the lecture, Broadbent showcased how his company advertised their business to investors and customers around the world. Photronics is a company based in Connecticut that was created in 1969 in one man’s garage in Danbury. This homegrown company is now a successful international business.

Broadbent started off by focusing the discussion on education. It was important, he said, for students to believe in the importance of education and their four years in college.

“Education expands your horizons. Keep learning. Keep enjoying learning,” he said.

Broadbent has worked for numerous companies including Apple, Intel and Samsung. His experience shined through his extensive knowledge of his business field.

“There are so many jobs out there. Go out and explore them,” he said.

Broadbent told students that business careers are still in the making. When students go out in the workforce, he said, they will be exposed to job opportunities that are currently even made yet. The world of international business is always changing and evolving, Broadbent said.

Photronics is a company that supplies different types of photomask materials for large companies, including Apple and Samsung. Broadbent exposed students to the degree of innovation and technological advancements that take place.

Broadbent presented students with how his company would pitch themselves to potential investors. He explained the background of the company, how they make money and how to effectively use resources to expand the business. He noted the importance of growth drivers, indicators of success. As a result of these techniques and Broadbent’s knowledge of the field, Photronics is a leader in their field with a large market diversity and a positive cash flow.

Broadbent also explained the history of how the company came to be through trial and error. He also noted the importance of management. When their company buys another company in a different country, Broadbent said it is important to leave management in place and keep the leaders that are already in place.

“You need to work within a culture, not force our culture on them,” he said.

He encouraged students to respect culture, forming joint ventures when possible, and be flexible with change. Broadbent also placed value in innovation.  

“You have to be a lean mean machine. Business changes every day,” Broadbent said.

 Students reflected on the lecture and what interested them.

“It was interesting because it gave a background of his business prior to explaining the work they do,” said Marisa Gallerani, a fourth-semester economics major.

Students also responded positively to how Broadbent structured the lecture.

“It was cool to see how the company pitches to investors. They put the company in a great perspective. And the advice he gave in the end was really great,” said Matthew Kopec, a fourth-semester accounting major.

Broadbent’s final advice to students centered on how to positively move through the world.

“Attitude is a choice. Add value in everything you do. Be curious,” Broadbent said. “Be tough. Be business tough. And network for business.


Kharl Reynado is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at kharl.reynado@uconn.edu.