Category Archives: Undergrad
More than 600 George Washington University students, faculty and staff in the participated in Lemonade Day D.C., the local branch of the national mentoring and business education program. The D.C. event was organized by the GW School of Business’ First Year Development Program to empower the city’s public school students to gain financial literacy and launch their own businesses.
This year’s event joined the 600 GW community mentors with more than 2,200 youth participants across 25 public and charter schools in D.C. PNC, Gallup, RCN and four other sponsors joined 20 community groups to support the effort.
Eighty lemonade stands were set up across Washington on April 11 as the Cherry Blossoms were in full bloom. The young entrepreneurs sold more than $8,000 worth of lemonade. The youth participants, who are enrolled in third through eighth grade, were encouraged to use their profits to live up to the Lemonade Day values: “spend a little, save a little, share a little.”
Photos of Lemonade Day stands on GW’s Foggy Bottom Campus are available online
Kia Ora! Greetings from New Zealand! I have been in the land where there are more sheep than people for just a little over two months; however, it feels like I have been here forever. The culture, the lifestyle, the people, and of course, the scenery are all so spectacular. The unique city I currently call home, Dunedin, has a population of 400,000 and is situated on the coast of the South island of NZ, famous for its great beaches – and penguins! Since NZ is located in the Southern Hemisphere, I was able to leave behind the DC winter to catch the end of the New Zealand summer and this has been such a treat!
It’s not just the beaches that I have been able to spend time exploring, but even more so – the mountains. I saw the first Lord of the Rings film when I was eight years old. Not only did I fall in love with the story, but the New Zealand landscape drew me in as well, and it quickly became a dream of mine to one day see the Misty Mountains in person. Now, at twenty one years of age I can attest that the Misty Mountains are even more breathtaking than I could even have imagined! As an outdoor enthusiast, New Zealand’s natural beauty overwhelms me. Whether it is a sunrise hike before class, a quick dip in a glacier lake, or bungy jumping from 134 meters high, there is always an adventure waiting.
Backpacking and tramping (New Zealand’s term for hiking) are such special ways to get to know people. While staying at different huts and campsites you get to meet people from all over the world and quite often become instant friends. However, it is not just the people on the trail that are lovely, but also people of New Zealand, aka Kiwis. I have found that my professors and my new kiwi friends to be some of the most genuine and humble people I have ever met. The Kiwi business school culture is one in which the students are focused on working hard to not only make themselves get ahead, but the people around them as well. It is also quite different to be in a business lecture and see about 10 long boards up at the front of the classroom waiting to be taken to the beach at the end of class. Definitely not an “#onlyatGW” moment.
I am grateful to be going to school and studying business in a place that is incredibly beautiful and so full of adventure. Gaining a view of the business world from a New Zealand perspective will forever influence my life and my future business career.
Kathryn is a Junior in GWSB pursuing a BBA with a concentration in Marketing. To read more about studying at University of Otago in New Zealand with Arcardia, click here.
By: Frederick Egler
Sometimes the prospect of studying abroad but still applying for summer internships can seem daunting. How are you going to network, prepare diligently, and interview while immersing yourself in the culture of the foreign country you’re in? Similar thoughts went through my head as I headed to Copenhagen Business School last spring, but the process is not as intimidating as some might think.
Being on campus to take part in OCR and networking events is extremely advantageous, but valuable relationships can be forged from abroad as well. I remained diligent in emailing campus recruiters, checking in frequently and in a well-timed manner. Additionally, I used tools like LinkedIn to connect with points of contact and HR references to express interest and curiosity in companies and possible positions. LinkedIn was an extremely effective tool for me while abroad, as I was able to gain exposure to firms that I was thousands of miles away from.
“LinkedIn was an extremely effective tool for me while abroad”
Interview prep is arguably the most important step in interviewing for any internship, and this process doesn’t change whether you’re in Duquès or Denmark. Loads of information – like job descriptions on company websites, previous interview questions, and Career Center tools – are online and can easily be accessed. Fowler Career Coaches are also extremely responsive to students while abroad, making sure no one is left out of the loop during the most important portion of the interview process.
Once you’ve made a few meaningful connections and prepared thoroughly interviewing is almost easier than being on campus in a way. You aren’t attending a super day or sitting anxiously in a room with a horde of other students waiting for your name to be called. Instead, all you need is a quiet place with a dependable Internet connection or phone line. Interviewing for internships while studying abroad takes the stress out of the lead up to the actual interview, which is a part of the process that sometimes trips students up the most.
So if you’re ever deliberating between going abroad and staying on campus, don’t stay because it’s the only way to get a valuable internship. The truth is it’s not, and going through recruiting abroad doesn’t negatively affect you. What’s more, your experiences and talking points from being in a new and exciting place will set you apart from other students and display your uniqueness during the process.
While most other students’ semesters are tapering to a close, my spring semester is just beginning to trickle. The academic calendar is merely one of many aspects of life that is different here in Japan. Though I’ve been in Tokyo for roughly two weeks, my classes, which begin on April 13th, have yet to start.
This interim period has been sprinkled with various exchange student orientation atop generous portions of exploration. When I arrived in Tokyo and subsequently moved in with my warm and hilarious host family, the first thing I noticed about this city was efficiency. Efficiency is displayed various ways from public transportation to usage of space. And speaking of public transportation, the trains in Tokyo are so efficient it’s overwhelming. The network of trains and subways is vast and complex; spreading far and wide whilst being easily accessible within its expansive system. Furthermore, it’s a rare occurrence for a train to be off schedule so therefore they are widely used by everyone. I mean everyone. I’ll continue with this thought later but when I say the Japanese have a knack for using space efficiently, it doesn’t cease with space inside train cars. On my first morning commute to campus, I gravely underestimated the meaning of “rush hour,” and found myself packed inside a sardine can filled with business(wo)men, tourists, students, and other various Tokyo metropolitans en route to some destination within this magnificent city.
Luckily, my arrival in Tokyo coincided perfectly with the blooming of the cherry blossoms, also known as sakura. Here in Japan, the beauty of sakura strikes wonder through the heart of the nation. Nationwide, cities hold festivals known as “sakura-matsuri” when the blossoms are in full bloom to celebrate their beauty. Additionally, you’ll find parks filled with great volumes of people enjoying “hanami:” picnicking under canopies of cherry blossoms to enjoy their grandeur, especially as the petals fall. The particular Matsuri I went to was at Yasukuni shrine. There, a colossal “torii” that towers over the promenade lined with vendors dishing out all sorts of delectable foods and drinks.
As I mentioned before, the usage of space in Tokyo is incredibly efficient. If you took a walk in any given direction, you’ll find that almost every nook and cranny along the street you are walking on is utilized in some sort of way. Restaurants the size of closets pack each block. Alleyways are lined with general stores and the like, and “depaatos” tower eleven stories high alongside countless office high-rises. Let’s not forget the numerous train station/malls as well, where it’s hard to draw the line where the station ends and the shopping mall begins. But do not waiver, non-urbanites, for there is plenty room to breathe. As condensed urbanized Tokyo is, it is also packed top to bottom with greenspace. Numerous shrines such as Senso-ji and Meiji Jingu Shrine are surrounded by gardens and are scattered throughout the city. When you consider these wonders as well as the swells of people swarming within each and every inch of infrastructure, you’ll be reminded of how small you are and how endless Tokyo is.
As the stream of my semester begins to trickle, I can already imagine myself becoming fully engulfed by this epic city over the next four months. Its people, places, food, language, and most of all, culture, are very new. I am very excited to see where the current takes me.
Morgan Rana is a Junior in GWSB pursuing a BBA with a concentration in International Business and a minor in Japanese Language & Literature. To read more about the CIEE Tokyo program, click here.
By: Betsy Chau
I remember looking down Pennsylvania Avenue while catching a glance of the breathtaking view of the DC sunset as I approached the GWU Foggy Bottom campus for the first time. It had been less than 24 hours since I first landed in Washington DC – my first time in the nation’s capital. I was mesmerized by the beautiful landscape and monuments along with the excitement in the air. That was almost four years ago, when I arrived in Washington DC for what was to be the first day of the next four years of my undergraduate studies. As an international student born and raised in Hong Kong, I was always very culturally sensitive, so naturally, I feared of being unaccepted. I knew I had some adjusting to do but evidently I did not know how when I first arrived here. Soon after move-in came Parents’ Weekend, holiday seasons, and the all-American Thanksgiving holiday. It was inevitably difficult seeing my friends go home to their families especially during these family-oriented holidays.
Unfortunately, international students do not have that luxury to do so (home is around 8,000 miles away for me). To me, it was initially a struggle after my parents had finished helping me move in and get settled before freshmen year officially began. Then, from managing personal finances to resolving conflicts with peers and roommates, to staying healthy in the peak flu season, to packing and unpacking summer storage boxes, these were all real responsibilities on top of adjusting to the cultural differences within the US and within GWU.
Having coped with racism firsthand, having defied the status quo, and having taken risks by stepping outside of my comfort zone, I now feel all the more prepared and confident to take on what the world could throw at me. I knew I needed to prove myself among my peers so I don’t seem like the “outsider” or the “foreign one”, so I proactively engaged in all of my classes and group projects. There were surely times when I felt belittled because of my cultural sensitivity, but it did not stop me from wanting to gain more out of this international education experience. In fact, I became even more motivated to achieve more. I strongly believe that my parents have invested so much in my education that I owe it to them to make the most out of my experience here.
From joining the co-ed professional business fraternity, Alpha Kappa Psi, in the spring of my freshmen year to becoming the president of Alpha Kappa Psi at GWU during my junior year, to having the privilege to serve as a Fowler Coordinator during my senior year, I have actively become more involved in the community I live in and interact with on a day-to-day basis. I have chosen not to only hang around other international students, because I believe that if I were to do so, I could easily just pursue a similar education back in Hong Kong. From someone who had experienced education in a foreign country for the past four years, one of the most important takeaways for me as I reflect back is to take chances and risks to step outside of my comfort zone. When you choose to do so as well, you will realize so many extraordinary things that you do not come across everyday. Soon enough, you will notice yourself assimilating more into the community and becoming even more engaged with your peers. At the end of the day, as an international student, you will benefit the most out of your peers and of those around you because of the way you chose to approach your time here at GWU. Some people find comfort in being around those who come from the same background and share the same culture, though like myself, I find comfort and challenge outside of my comfort zone where things are almost always more exciting and rewarding.
As I reflect on the past four years I have spent at GWU, I have realized that the decisions I have made along the way have made me who I am today. It is not easy being an international student here at GWU and in the United States. But I am confident to say that I am proud of my accomplishments throughout these four year, as it has transformed me as a student into a young professional who is ready to take my first steps into the “real world”. I have included here a short list of tips that I wish I would have known before I started my time here at GWU, so I hope that it can be beneficial to you too! :
- Step outside of your comfort zone. Join an organization that will not only surround yourself with those who are from the same culture or background, but an organization that will allow you to meet a great diversity of people and to develop professional skills.
- When faced with difficult situations assimilating, just remind yourself that as an international student, you have the privilege to study abroad. This is not an experience that anybody can have.
- Become more active within the GWSB community. The GWSB community has so much to offer, but you will have to be actively engaged in it in order to get the most out of it.
- Start looking for internships and jobs early on if you wish to stay in the US. Job seeking and sponsorships for international students are very long and complicated processes so make sure you get a head start on it!
- Check GWorkSB from time to time to make sure you do not miss out on any upcoming events. One of the key success factors to landing an internship or job in the US for international students is through networking. It is mostly by networking that you meet professionals and develop relationships with them, which you can further discuss employment opportunities with thereafter.
- Enjoy your time here and make the most out of it! College is only lasts for four years. Capture all the good memories, keep up with all of the relationships you developed throughout college, and years from now, you will look back and really appreciate that you were studying at GWU as an international student.
This can be an extraordinary experience as long as you choose to make it one!
By: Tavyen Williams-Jackson
This past summer I had the opportunity to intern with Bank of America as a Global Human Resources Analyst. The internship took place at the company’s corporate office in Charlotte, NC and while I was looking forward to being in a new city, I was also nervous. I had never been that far from home for an extended period of time and also had no friends in Charlotte. The first couple of weeks were an adjustment period as I tried to both navigate the city and form relationships with my colleagues.
At the time I questioned my decision to choose Charlotte for my internship but in retrospect I am thankful for everything the city taught me.
At the time I questioned my decision to choose Charlotte for my internship but in retrospect I am thankful for everything the city taught me. As mentioned before I was nervous about being in a new city, and it wasn’t until I realized the power of networking that I began to take full advantage of Charlotte. I am an ambivert by nature, so I sometimes struggle with stepping outside of my comfort zone and introducing myself to new people. However, in a new city this is one of the best and easiest ways to meet and make new friends.
I started my networking with one-on-one coffee sessions with other interns and then moved on to managers. I decided to start internally because I wanted to build a rapport with my coworkers at the Bank. Once I felt myself becoming more comfortable around those at the Bank, I began to attend multiple networking sessions a week. These networking events allowed me to meet HR professionals and find other individuals with similar interests.
Through attending these events I was also able to locate a group of dancers, which was important because I am passionate about the performing arts and lead a dance team here at GW. By the conclusion of the summer, I’d attended about 20 networking events and as a result, increased the size of my personal and business networks. Ultimately, networking proved to be a powerful tool this past summer because it allowed me to take full advantage of my internship and the city of Charlotte.
By: Scott Gardner
Searching for a job or internship is one of the most frustrating, daunting, and yet exciting adventures college students go through. Perfecting your cover letter, resume and networking skills are all vital to every ones job search and should not be overlooked. However, it’s important to keep things in perspective as you’re going through your job hunt and once you land a position. Through reviewing my resume, helping me with mock interviews, or meeting up for an informational interview, multiple people have impacted me and helped me grow as an individual.
I have come to appreciate how important it is to reciprocate and help others as much as possible. You can gain a lot through helping others and passing on knowledge you’ve acquired while on your own job search.
I believe you should help others because countless of other people have helped you. The following are three reasons to help others with their job search, while you continue to grow.
- Mock interviews are one of the best ways you can directly help another student. Throughout my time at GW I have met up with friends multiple times and we would run each other through mock interviews. This proved to be a great way for me to perfect answers to common questions such as “walk me through your resume” as well as hear another person’s perspective. Helping others with mock interviews allows you to pick up on things that you want to incorporate into your own interviewing style, as well as things that you want to make sure you leave out (such as those ‘umms’ or my favorite ‘really’).
- Helping others is also a great way to meet cool and interesting people. I really enjoy engaging with passionate and driven individuals, and speaking with others about their career goals is a great way to broaden the people you can meet while in college.
- Lastly, it feels good to be able to share the knowledge you have acquired through job searching or interning within a particular industry. There is also a quote that goes something like: “you do not truly understand something until you can teach it.” Helping others allows you to not only help someone else understand a topic, but in the process you will gain a greater understanding of the information yourself.
These are just a few reasons why you should look into helping others and sharing knowledge that others have helped you acquire. It’s important to realize that everyone has had someone help them along the way, and as we all begin our careers we should be looking to help others grow, not just ourselves.
Hungary isn’t the most common study abroad destination for business students. The first question from every professor during my first week of class was why we, American students with the opportunity to go almost anywhere in the world for our semester abroad, would choose Hungary.
The answer was simple at first – I wanted to do something different. I wanted to be in a central location that was great for travel and exploration without being in a Western European country that serves as the set of every romantic comedy kiss-in-the-rain scene I watched as a pre-teen. This answer has evolved enormously in my six weeks as a student here.
As I prepared for my semester abroad, I asked friends, family members, colleagues and mentors their opinions on making the most of my experience. Although I recognized the “personal growth” factor of having the type of life experience time abroad grants, I wanted to think about how I could make my semester an asset on my resume. Everyone came up with the same thing: communication. My top strength, my biggest career interest, and arguably the most important professional skill – learn about communicating with people entirely different to you. This is the basis for the criteria used when selecting the top 5 most important things GW business students should know about Hungary.
- Living in a country with a healing economy makes you reevaluate your idea of a healing economy, is not comparable to the United States post 2008, and requires a level of sensitivity that does not include comments about how cheap things are and how much the bills look like monopoly money. Although the purchasing power of the dollar is so strong in Hungary that you can buy a three-course sit down meal at a 5-star restaurant for under $25, the per capita GDP is roughly $13,000 (compared to a comfortable $53,000 for my fellow US residents). That means that the meal isn’t cheap to Hungarians, and it’s just not good enough to convert everything you buy to dollars. Communicating with Hungarians means understanding the normal price of a basket of goods here.
- Knowing your audience takes on a whole new meaning in a post-communist nation. While I agree that most people in Budapest (Hungary’s capital) speak enough English to help you with directions or understand your order at a restaurant, something that was never fully explained to me is the huge generational gap. In 1989 there was a significant regime change when the Soviet rule fell and the transition to Western-style democracy began. People who were educated pre-1989 learned Russian in school, not English. In contrast, younger generations take English as a mandatory subject from age 6. This means that it could be considered a relatively large insult to a fellow university student’s intelligence to assume that they are not fluent in English, but equally rude to assume that someone in their mid 50s will understand you.
- Hungarians are quiet. Speaking in what Americans would consider an “indoor voice” on the tram will result in stares, raising your hand in class is very bold, and debate and disagreement are not common. It’s relatively refreshing to check yourself for unnecessary volume sometimes…why do we insist on yelling at each other all of the time?
- Homogeneous is an understatement and taboos are plentiful. Trying to fit in is a normal phenomenon, and I would argue that many American college students dress similarly to each other and follow some basic trends, but Hungarians not only dress the same but have similar physical characteristics as well. There is very little diversity in the native Hungarian population (to the point where even just being blonde makes a person marginally unique), and diversity issues are abundant but very much unspoken.
- Self-deprecation seems to be a national trend. Many students have asked me why I am bothering to learn Hungarian since they have been taught that learning English, and therefore moving away from the Hungarian language, was their key to success. I have come to realize that the question “why did you choose Hungary” comes less from a place of curiosity and more from a place of bewilderment. Perhaps the most important key to effective communication and unlocking some of the most beautiful and unique components of Hungarian culture is expressing outward appreciation for all that the country has to offer.
So, six weeks in, the most important question: why am I happy that I chose Hungary? Because Hungarians wear their wedding rings on their right ring finger instead of their left. Because “name days” are almost as significant as birthdays and are assigned to every traditional Hungarian name on annual calendars. Because Hungarian folk dancing is much more strenuous for the men than the woman – an interesting contrast to most dance forms in which the woman is the main focus. Because more wars have been fought on this soil than I can count on two hands and the population has bounced back every time. And because Hungarian fairy tales end with the phrase “and they lived until they died”, and I’ve decided that that small dose of realism is a beautiful way to end a story.
Alice Murray is a Junior in GWSB pursuing a BBA with a concentration in Marketing and a minor in Psychology. To read more about the CIEE Central European Studies in Budapest study abroad program, click here.
Being a Fowler Coordinator
By: Christopher Cavalea
Two weeks ago, a student approached me after class and asked me a simple question: “What is it like being a Fowler Coordinator?” After staring blankly for a moment or two, I replied, “It’s hard to put into words.”
“What is it like being a Fowler Coordinator?”
As a Fowler Coordinator, I am on the front lines of the eternal battle between who we are as people, and who we are on paper. This battle is fought with resumes and cover letters, and is assisted by preparation and mentorship. The truth is, every student brings value, and every student deserves to be hired after graduation. Yet, when we look at the statistics, this is not the case. Students are often overlooked by recruiters, and often believe they are not deserving of the careers they desire. The primary role of a Fowler Coordinator is to reverse this thinking; to expose a student’s value, and help them communicate it to employers.
Working one-on-one with students, helping them understand the needs of employers, and humanizing the recruiting process is anything but easy. At times, it can feel like employers are speaking another language, foreign to even the worldliest linguists. However, through my experience as a coordinator, I have had the opportunity to watch students develop their strengths, and use those strengths to achieve their goals. I have had the opportunity to facilitate internal and external development, and see firsthand the difference proper instruction makes. This is where I am at a loss for words.
Being part of the Fowler Coordinator team is like being part of a highly successful sports team. Each of us, as individuals, is a thoughtful and driven professional with a passion for helping other students succeed. Yet, when we come together, we build off of each other rather than compete with one another. We generate new and innovative ideas, and learn about ourselves in the process. We work with leadership that is focused on our own needs, as well as those of the university. Unlike a sports team, “winning” is not determined by the number of balls in a net. Rather, it is the number of students who learned something new about themselves and their career path. It is the number of students who received interviews this semester who were overlooked last semester. It is the number of employers who have said, “We love GW.”
This is a position for those who want to develop their skills, those who love to teach, and those who have a passion for helping their fellow students.
The rewards for such a position are, as I have said before, hard to put into words.
The Challenges of Interning and Working Abroad
By: Abigail Howard
Living in Spain for three years as a kid, truly broadened the way I view the world. Since then, one of my main goals has been to travel, live, and study abroad as much as possible. However, until I actually went abroad to work, I never realized the unique challenges I would encounter in the workplace.
After my sophomore year at GW, I decided to search for internships in Istanbul. I had already spent a gap year intensively studying Turkish in Samsun, Turkey on a scholarship from the U.S. Department of State. I already knew the language and was able to find an internship through a personal contact. So in the summer of 2013 I sent out to work as a Corporate Communications Intern for Dogan Burda Dergi, a large magazine publishing company that is part of Dogan Holding, in the heart of Istanbul.
Interning abroad was unlike any other work experience I have had. Before securing my internship, I had to discuss basic topics such as compensation, start and end dates, and visas, which proved to be very complicated as we were in different time zones and I was speaking in a language that was not my native tongue. On my first day, the Human Resources manager, who I had been in contact with, took me to the Corporate Communications department and my manager was surprised by my arrival. She was not expecting me, so there was no work for me to do for most of the summer. Despite this, my summer was extremely educational. I focused on improving my Turkish and took advantage of every opportunity to talk with other employees. Most of my coworkers had never met an American who spoke Turkish and knew so much about their culture. We would spend our lunch break discussing differences and similarities between our backgrounds and cultures. I also read articles and every magazine the company published in order to keep up with what was going, as well as to advance my language skills. After noticing that the social media was lacking at the company, I researched what similar companies were doing and created a plan that I presented to my boss at the end of the summer. Every once in a while I would be tasked with translating newsletters from Turkish to English to increase the company’s global presence, which I enjoyed.
During that summer, I also faced challenges with the political situation in Turkey. While I was there, there were constant protests in large Turkish cities due to disagreements between citizen groups and the political power. These protests started two weeks after I arrived, and continued every weekend throughout my stay. As a result, many businesses and travel shut down on the weekends so that people could demonstrate their disapproval with the current government. A main part of my planned job was to help plan and execute events, and unfortunately the majority of the events got cancelled right after I started my internship.
My internship experience is probably not typical for Turkey, or abroad in general, but the political situation could not have been predicted and definitely required some adjustment. Still, I haven’t lost my interest in living and working abroad. Currently, I am searching for a job in Santiago, Chile and am planning to move there in July after I graduate. While I know firsthand that living and working abroad presents a whole new set of obstacles, I know it will be another incredible and rewarding experience.