Category Archives: Undergrad
By: Rich Sneider
“It was a great résumé builder.” Too often I hear this phrase when I walk around Duques. I get it. Everyone is preparing for a job after graduation, and I appreciate that so many students are willing to spend their last free summers working hard. That ethic is a cornerstone of the success that we as a Business School have achieved over the years.
What worries me is that it seems that some students believe that enjoying your work and building your résumé are two mutually exclusive ideas. The old adage of “do what makes you happy and you will never work a day in your life” should be your driving force in every stage of your career search, even the internships. Internships should be samplers of different jobs that you are considering for after graduation. So if you are not enjoying it now, why would you consider doing it as a career?
Beyond that, if you are not enjoying what you are doing ,then you are probably not working to your full potential on the job. Studies done by the New York Times, Forbes, and countless HR and psychology authors have shown that employees who like their jobs work harder. If the purpose of taking a position is to look good on a résumé, you are better off finding something you love to do and excelling at it. Additionally, the more excited you are when describing a previous work experience in an interview the better off you are going to be. Employers do not want to hear that you only took a job to work your way into their HR office. They want to know that you are the type of person who can come into work smiling, eager and committed to your work.
You should look back at your time at GW with fondness, and having an enjoyable internship that helped you get a great job is a key component of those memories.
Two weeks deep in French culture and cuisine is bound to make any girl dizzy in love (or at least just nauseated from a café and croissant overload). As a business student who usually finds herself locked in the Capital Markets room or settled in at her daily post as an intern, a semester in Paris is nearly the opposite of what I am accustomed to in Foggy Bottom. Instead of frequenting Whole Foods or the Deli in between classes for a quick recharge, I find myself actually sitting down to enjoy a (much smaller) cup of coffee that comes without a lid. This change of pace (and portion) has definitely taken a bit to get used to but I find that it forces me to be confronted with the task at hand rather than rushing towards the next “to do” on my list.
Because I am pursuing a BS in Finance, with a double major in Economics, I was not completely sure I would be able to fit this amazing opportunity into my already jam packed schedule. With quite a bit of research and planning ahead, however, it was more than manageable to coordinate the classes I needed to count for credit at home. The American University of Paris offers a multitude of Economics and Business courses that cross over nicely into the GW curriculum, making my decision to jump across the pond even easier.
The orientation program at the school lasts for a full week and has been a great asset to my new life in Paris. Topics covered in the programming included where to find the best grocery stores and pharmacies, which neighborhoods to frequent at night, how to stay safe in the city, and how to adapt overall to French culture. At AUP there are bunches of visiting students, many of which are from the states! Although I expected to meet quite a few more French locals, it has been just as enriching to meet students from other campuses across the U.S. and even students from GW whose social circles hadn’t necessarily crossed with mine in D.C. in the past. Connecting with these students has allowed me to solidify my goals for my semester abroad through hearing their personal passions and perspectives. Getting to know so many new people at once has brought me back to memories of my first days on GW’s campus and I feel as if I am a freshman again learning even more about myself.
One of my favorite things in Paris so far has been my close proximity to countless incredible museums and monuments. At a decent price with my student status, I have been lucky enough to attend quite a few classic sights that Paris claims as its own. Some highlights have been visits to Musée d’Orsay, Centre Pompidou, Cathédrale Notre Dame, Les Invalides, and l’Arc de Triomphe as well as a night cruise on the Seine, a stroll along the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, and a walk around Montmartre, just to name a few.
As I begin to get deeper invested in my courses, I am making it a goal to become closely involved with University life as well. I am currently a proud member of the Green Initiative on campus, the Yoga Club, the Wine Society and a Volunteer Tutoring group, which assists Parisian Kindergarteners with their English skills.
Although Paris is a much different city than Washington D.C. there are still numerous ways to make this foreign place feel like home and I plan to do my best to assimilate and find enrichment in as many outlets as possible during the next 4 months here. By the end of the semester I hope to feel a bit less of a tourist than I do now with many more memories and friendships than I came with.
Hayley Purcell is a Junior in GWSB pursuing a BS in Finance degree with double majors in Finance & Economics. She is currently abroad through GW’s exchange program with American University of Paris in Paris, France.
Going the Extra Mile
By: Amanda Harlor
I’ve found that there is a lot of emphasis on how to land a great internship. We learn about it in class, we get advice on how to get an internship from our older peers, and we attend panels on the subject. All of this information is extremely important, and hopefully you will be able to successfully leverage what you’ve learned and accept an internship offer at your dream company.
But now what? There is a lot less information and education on what to do to make the most out of your summer internship. How do I ensure that I am maximizing my professional development over the summer? How do I learn more about other positions in the industry and/or at the firm? How do I build and manage a network? And, highest on most students’ lists, how do I turn this internship into a full-time job offer?
I’ve been really fortunate to have had the opportunity to be an intern several different times, and I have friends that have had even cooler experiences. I’ve compiled a list, based on my own experiences and the experiences of fellow students, of best practices for how to get the most out of your summer internship.
- Network: It is so important to go beyond your desk and really get to know the people you are working with. Not only is this the best way to find out more about the company you are at, but it is essential for your professional development. I’d suggest using an Excel spreadsheet as a tracker; after you meet with someone, immediately record who they are, what they do, and what you talked about. This will help you stay organized and make it much easier to manage the connections you make, especially if you are meeting with a lot of people.
- Go above and beyond your manager’s expectations: It is not enough to show up to work, do your assigned tasks, and leave. This robs you of the chance to really show your team members what you are capable of. So show some intellectual curiosity and make sure you understand why you are doing the projects you’re doing. Ask what is the relevance of the project? Why do we do this a certain way? Is there a better way to do this? How does my project benefit my team and the company as a whole? I’ve found that managers are usually really impressed by interns that show real interest in their projects, and if you can find a way to improve the process, that is even better.
- Get to know the other interns: If you are in a program with other interns, take the time to get to know them. They are a great resource to ask your “stupid” questions to, and potentially could be your future co-workers.
- Ask a ton of questions: As I mentioned before, intellectual curiosity is a great trait to have, and it will really help you stand out. Be as inquisitive as possible (but not so much so that you become a nuisance), and make it known that you have a genuine interest in the industry.
- Stay connected: After you’ve finished your summer, be sure to give your personal email to any key contacts that you’d like to stay in touch with. Re- connect periodically with people you met over the summer; update them on what you are up to, and show an interest in what they’ve been doing since you left. This is especially important if you want to return to the firm for another internship or a full-time position. More than likely these will be the people that will help you secure that next job, so be sure to stay in touch!
These tips are not hard and fast; different firms are going to have different cultures and protocols. But all of these guidelines boil down to one idea: Go the extra mile. Go above and beyond whenever possible in every aspect of your internship, and you will be setting yourself up for success beyond the summer.
Well, this is the last time I will be writing from the Eastern Hemisphere: my three month immersion in the culture of London and Queen Mary University has come to an end.
It is honestly the saddest feeling in the entire world. When finals were picking up, I did have moments of homesickness; I wanted to be home for Christmas, with everything so decorated and pretty, spending quality time with family away from all the papers and obligations I had during the final week of the semester. Yet, now my papers are finished, the feelings have reversed back; I do not want to go home at all.
Now I bet you saw the word immersion and thought “oh well it’s not like he’s really British.” No, but some things do become ingrained in you. Like what you may ask? It can be anything as simple as the “proper” way of making tea (trust me, there is one, and we Americans always do it wrong) or listening to Radio One with lunch, or saying “lift” in place of “elevator” or common phrases like “to be fair” and other colloquialisms not so common in our homeland. I know you’re all wondering about this and yes, it could happen: your accent could slightly change. It’s not a lot, it’s only in certain occasions like when you’re talking really fast, but the accent could come out. Fashion, figures of speech, ways of life, all these things become a part of you during your time abroad.
It does seem a bit daunting then that we must go back to America, a land which initially has nothing in common with our homeland, spelling an imminent reverse culture shock upon our return. However, we are so fortunate living in DC. From all of my time abroad, I learned one thing: DC is the London of the United States. Why you may ask? There are several reasons. The sheer number of international people in its borders, the similarly structured public transport system, the being close to other major US cities like New York or Atlanta, the number of embassies, the number of famous people who have walked the streets, it’s all very similar. There were so many moments walking down London streets where I forgot if I was in DC or London; so many of the areas look the exact same as well!
Of course I was not out exploring every second of the day; classes were an integral part of study abroad life. Since lectures per module (oops I mean class) are once a week, it would be a bit silly to miss; you would learn nothing. Through my time in lectures, I recognized some similarities with our homegrown GWSB system of education. For example, in Consumer Psychology, a module for juniors, I learned about Hofstede’s Cultural Dimensions and psychographics, things we learned in Organizational Behavior freshman year. In Persuasive Strategies in Marketing we analyzed mostly American advertisements and advice about creating ad campaigns from American businessmen. In short, a lot of my education was based in American studies. Initially, it was a bit of an annoyance, but it showcases how important leaders in the business field we truly are.
Each lecture had a seminar attached, kind of like a discussion section, and those made each class more fun. It was great to interact with more British or international students and hear different perspectives on problems and see the different ways in which students in other countries learn the fundamentals of business. Naturally, GW’s education methods are more familiar to me, but it was cool to be indoctrinated into another education system.
Schools here condense a business education into three years and they have more electives; people can choose concentrations in their second year while having more business classes. Things like liberal arts, science and language are not classes they take here. Yet, from talking to many, they are jealous: they like the idea of being able to take a class that has nothing to directly do with your major, yet you are interested in. It makes me very grateful for the way our education is structured.
So maybe education is not the one thing I will miss the most about London. I will miss, however, the close proximity to other places. Over this trip, I visited Edinburgh (where I am now), Dublin, Paris, Oxford, Liverpool, Berlin, Venice, Amsterdam and Prague, and I will be visiting Cardiff, York and Canterbury in the next week (assuming you’re reading this before then). So exciting and so cheap to travel to all these places many only dream of ever seeing.
I’ll also miss the people, the lifelong friends I have made, the city, the food, the general amazingness of London. I mean it is home after all: the longest time I have ever spent away from home in my entire life and it is my world, my life as of now. It makes it a bit hard to comprehend going back to a “foreign” world of America and having to get reacquainted with the lifestyle.
Nevertheless, I am extremely proud I survived the months. I cannot begin to think how many times I thought I would want to buy the plane ticket home. One or two times I did, but I never went through with it and I am so grateful I did. London has been the most life-changing experience and one of the best experiences anyone could ever ask for. I made so many new friends, saw so many places, ate so many great foods, had so many great experiences, I would not even trade in a single day for them.
The sum total of this is that YOU SHOULD STUDY ABROAD. I know it sounds hardly believable but remember, I am just like you. I am a business student, a junior, someone who has never been that entirely far away from home in my 21 year existence. I survived. If I can do it, you sure can do it too. Study abroad is the most rewarding and unforgettable experience you will ever have. It broadens your horizons; it makes new places feel like home and gives you new horizons for the future. Hey, you could even end up settling in the city you study in for work. For some of us, that is always the goal Remember to push yourself and don’t miss out on, as cliché as it is, the opportunity that will change your life.
Best of luck picking and bon voyage!
Jonathan Rice is a GWSB Junior pursuing a BBA with a dual concentration in Marketing and International Business. To read more about Arcadia’s program at Queen Mary, click here.
The Hong Kong Syracuse abroad program is broken into three modules. The first being a two-week history based trip through South East Asia and the second being ten weeks of courses. The full abroad experience is topped off with a five-week internship to shed greater light on doing business abroad and the differences that are associated with it. Thanks to a GW Alumni event in Hong Kong I was able to secure my internship through David Williams (ESIA MA’02) at Big Ass Fans. This opportunity wouldn’t have been possible without the far-reaching network of the GW community as well as the countless networking incentives they provide.
The Big Ass Fans Hong Kong office was recently launched by David one year ago and has expanded into a five man staff that covers sales and service throughout East Asia. As an international business intern I’ve been working to find and follow up on new leads while finding unique sites for future installation. Beyond the basic differences in language and location, our office is most unique with the culture trends of Hong Kong, the melting pot of the world. As new customers enter our showroom our style of sales, marketing, and communication must differ to ensure a seamless transaction. I believe the culture surrounding local business as influenced me most during my internship and inevitably my time abroad.
Hong Kong is not all business. When not working, the locals are the most inviting group of people. The Hong Kong locals pride themselves on respect and Guanxi. Guanxi can be described as a more-loose version of Western reciprocity. Through such beliefs I’ve been able to become close friends with people of all ages and have had the chance to have a more localized abroad experience than some students. The most rewarding part for me is knowing that someday if I end up in Hong Kong, these relationships will still be strong. I do look forward to being home with family and friends in a week but I will miss Hong Kong.
Reid Breck is a GWSB Junior pursuing a BBA with a dual concentration in Marketing and International Business. To read more about this semester abroad program in Hong Kong through Syracuse University, click here.
In the third and final chapter of classes with GWSB Paris, we took Financial Management and Markets. While I was nervous in the beginning, as this was my first (maybe last) finance class, the course was very interesting for someone who is not math and number minded like me.
While I can’t speak for finance courses at GW, in Paris having the course 3 hours each morning was very conducive to learning and I was able devote all my attention to the material. Finance was composed of 3 exams on smaller segments of the course (3 chapters each). My roommates and I would spend lazy Sunday’s sitting around the apartment studying and listening to all of our favorite holiday music. (Frozen is shockingly great to study to.)
GWSB Paris also takes students on site visits to further enrich us into the course we are in. First, we were taken to AXA a global insurance company where two representatives offered us a holistic overview (and croissants and coffee) of their company and AXA’s role throughout the world.
The second site visit took us to Brussels, Belgium to visit the European Exchange Commission. After an early morning trek via train from Paris, we arrived in Brussels after only 1.5 hours. A speaker for the European Exchange Commission came to speak to us for a few hours on the economy in the EU and many of the different factors which play into the overall global economy. Once we finished a question and answer period we walked to the small cozy restaurant where all the GW Paris students enjoyed great food before a walking tour of the city.
The walking tour gave us all the ins and outs of the city and the tour guide answered our burning questions such as, “Where can we get the best waffles and fries?” So after the tour we made it our mission to find those very things. Shamelessly, we were successful. It goes without saying that you can’t leave Brussels without at least a waffle, with enough options to choose from, you could have a different waffle every meal for the week.
And just like that, finance ended as fast as it came. And now we’re nearing the end of our stay in Paris. For our third and final long weekend I traveled to the south of France to Nice and Monaco. It was a solo adventure for me, and ended up being some of the best 3 days I’ve had. (Traveling alone can be a scary but such a rewarding experience). The south of France is filled with color, life and great food and I highly recommend it to anyone thinking of going.
After Nice, I traded French for English and hopped across the pond to London for 3 more days of excursions. Here, I got to tour the city and all the sites and enjoy the beginning of the holiday season, as London is really festive with lights on all the streets and a huge festival in Hyde Park.
The last month has flown by faster then I could have imagined, same as the entire semester! All that’s left now between me and heading back to the states is a few classes, some GW excursions in Paris and an extra week to travel! Overall Paris has been a thrilling and amazing time, and is an experience I won’t soon forget!
Justin Pollock is a Junior in GWSB pursuing a BBA with a dual concentration in Marketing & Sport, Event, and Hospitality Management. To read more about GWSB’s Signature Study Abroad Program, Fall Business in Paris, click here.
Since my first blog post at the beginning of studying abroad in Amsterdam, I have completed half of my course load, traveled around Western Europe, and have formed a love-hate relationship with my bike. The past few months have flown by and I know the last few weeks will be no different. With one last trip scheduled for this Thanksgiving weekend to Geneva, Switzerland, it will be the eighteenth city in the seventh country I have visited. This has been a unique experience of a lifetime. I know that even if I return back to Europe one day, that experience will not be the same as the one I have had this past semester.
While abroad I have learned a lot about Europeans. But I think one of the common threads that cross all of the cultures I have seen here is that Europeans love to just enjoy life. A few months ago when I was in Paris, one of the most amazing things I had ever seen was the number of people hanging out, drinking wine, and just people watching on the grassy area around the Eiffel Tower. Then a few weeks ago while in Florence, I tried to see every basilica, climb every tower, and visit every museum in the day I was there. But when I visited Rome a few days later, I realized how that was such a big mistake as I deprived myself of just slowing down and appreciating the beauty of the city and the people. While visiting a friend from GW studying in Milan, one evening we enjoyed aperitivo for a few hours, without feeling rushed or needing to be somewhere. And while here in Amsterdam, having the ability to just sit and enjoy a cup of coffee at a café or ride my bike down a new street or along a canal has allowed me to just think about and appreciate where I am in the world right now.
As the spring semester quickly approaches and I begin to think about the 18 credits I will be taking, an internship I hope to have, and the daily college routine that I will get back into, it is going to be really interesting to notice the differences in lifestyles. I do not think back at GW I have ever just sat at a café for an hour people watching, enjoyed a meal at a restaurant without being in a rush or on my phone, or have gone out without having a final destination in mind. I hope that by taking what I have seen and experienced here back with me, it will deepen my appreciation of what GW and Washington D.C. has to offer.
In my last three weeks here as I reflect on my study abroad experience, I know that the last few months have been difficult, but yet so worthwhile. When I think about my time abroad, I think about the time I hiked for four and a half miles along the mountainside of Cinque Terre in Italy last month. I never hike, I was alone, I did not know what I was getting myself into, and I was not really prepared. It was one of the toughest afternoons I have had here, but when it was over, I felt a great sense of accomplishment and pride I do not think I have felt in a while. The hike was hard and at points I wanted to turn around and just use the train to get from village to village. However, I persisted and I am glad I went outside of my comfort zone because otherwise, I would never have experienced and seen one of the most beautiful places in the world.
I am very thankful that I had this opportunity to go abroad, as well as the opportunity to share my adventures with my family, friends, and the GWSB community. You have all helped me greatly in acclimating to being away from home and I hope you have all enjoyed the stories.
Shawn Mok is a junior in GWSB pursuing a BBA with a dual concentration in International Business and Business, Economics, and Public Policy. He is currently studying abroad in Amsterdam. To read more about the CIEE Business & Culture program in the Netherlands, click here.
Five Apps Every Intern Needs:
By Maurissa Walls
Often as an intern you will be forced to find solutions to office problems while also juggling your personal life. Luckily in today’s world there’s an app to help solve nearly any problem or reach any personal goal. Here is a list of five intern-friendly phone applications, that will help make great impressions in the workplace and help manage your personal life.
Like many interns, you are probably running through the day adding items to a to-do list in your head. This interactive app puts a spin on your classic pen and paper to-do list by holding you accountable for what is not getting done. Users are able to add task onto a calendar by the day. If a task goes without getting crossed off it is carried over into the next day’s task list. Your TeuxDeux list can be seen by logging onto the website or app on any connected devices. There’s also space to add “look-ahead” items to your TeuxDeux for things that you want to try to do in the future, like trying out that new restaurant near the office.
Flipboard offers a creative way to compile and discover top news stories within your industry of interest. Not only can you browse through other users’ magazines of industry weekly news, but you can create your own by putting together news from your favorite publications to share with other professionals. This is a great resource for interns to keep current with topics that come up in the workplace and impress your boss elevator small talk.
This is a must have app for interns juggling a lot of paperwork on the go. The CamScanner app converts physical documents to PDFs through taking photos. The app makes it simple to pass along documents that need to be signed or quickly send a contract across town. You can also use it to send yourself PDF versions of your own handwritten notes or keep track of your receipts digitally.
It’s probably a good idea to try to do some saving while you are making money at your internship. Mint is a great app to help you start building good spending habits and tracking your personal expenses. This app allows you to see all of your bank transactions in one place and provides a breakdown of where you are spending your money. This app can help you finally can start saving up for that iPad or trip you’ve always wanted to take.
LinkedIn Connected App is an extension of the social media site that focuses on the building professional relationships. This app is great for interns looking to sustain relationships made in the office and through networking. The app acts as a pocket office guide sending you background info about your co-workers before meetings, reminding you of office birthdays, and tracking your network growth over the period of your internship. Using the LinkedIn Connected app could make you one of the most thoughtful interns in your department.
A record-setting participant list in Duquès Hall set the stage for this year’s Deloitte Battle of the Beltway Case Competition on this past Monday, November 10th. Fifteen teams representing schools from all over the east coast competed in the annual event. The winner of this year’s Case Competition went to the team representing American University’s Kogod School of Business, pictured below.
The team representing the George Washington School of Business came in second place with a convincing presentation on improving the affordability of college by increasing the number and types of science, technology, engineering, and technology (STEM) programs, thus improving the marketability of students on a global level. Pictured below from left to right are Hassan Haider, Shahzeb Mirza, Cory Shaffer, and Hannah Sassi, accompanied by Dean Linda Livingstone.
Third place went to Princeton University and fourth place went to the team of students from Wake Forest University.
The students that participated in the event, the representatives from Deloitte, and the staff that supported and produced the event demonstrated an outstanding level of professionalism and enthusiasm. The case competition has become a mainstay at GWSB since its inception in 2009, and will surely remain part of the University’s landscape for years to come.
My name is Kaley and I am a junior concentrating in marketing. I am currently spending my semester at Royal Holloway University of London! Royal Holloway is located about 40 minutes outside of London, in a small town called Egham. The campus is green, spacious, and self-contained, which has been a big change from our beautiful urban Foggy Bottom campus. I’m also just a short train ride from London, which has been really fun to explore.
One of the reasons I chose to study at Royal Holloway was because I wanted to immerse myself in British culture by living the life of a British “uni” student. I literally live in a castle with first-year Royal Holloway students, better known as “freshers.” I eat in a dining hall and chat with my new British friends about current events and other random topics. I learn most about British culture from these conversations because out of no where, we’ll just start talking about the difference in our political systems, our healthcare, our education, and other interesting topics. I’ve become much more aware of my American perspective, which is something I never thought about before.
Since I’m an international exchange student, I take classes right along with other Royal Holloway students. The normal course load is four classes, and I am taking Marketing Strategy in Context, Marketing Research, International Human Resource Management, and The Individual at Work. I really like all of my classes, but I think my favorite class is The Individual at Work, which focuses on identity in the workplace and how to create a productive environment for people to work in.
The British university system has been a major change from what I’m used to at GW. For each class, I attend a 50 minute lecture and a 50-minute discussion section (called a workshop) just once a week. The rest of the week, it is up to me to keep up with reading, work on my papers, and teach myself a lot of the material. Also, my entire grade in each class depends on only two papers! I have a lot more free time, but also less structure, which can make things a bit stressful if I don’t plan my time out well.
Another great thing about studying outside of London is that it is relatively easy to travel to other parts of Europe. I made trips to northern Spain, Budapest, and Edinburgh, all of which gave me interesting insights on other cultures. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned while abroad came from my trip to Spain. I was visiting a friend of mine who is studying in a small city called Santander, which is typically only a tourist destination in the summertime for people in Spain. Therefore, there aren’t really any English speakers. I had never been in a situation before where I could not communicate with the people around me. It was honestly very intimidating, and I had to rely completely on body language and translations from my friend. At the same time, it was an eye-opening experience. Even though I was only there for a short time, it gave me a new perspective on language barriers. As someone who is interested in HR, I thought about the role they might play in companies and multi-national corporations. I have an even greater respect for people who work or study full time in countries where they don’t speak the language.
A couple of weeks ago, Royal Holloway had a Study Abroad fair and asked the exchange students to represent their schools. It was strange to be on the other side of the table, encouraging British students to come study at GW because it still feels like just yesterday that I was contemplating studying abroad. It was great to be back in my buff and blue mindset, telling them everything I love about my school and my city.
Studying abroad has been one of the best decisions of my life. It sounds cliché, but it really is an eye-opening experience! I’ve learned so much about myself, and about other cultures. My perspective has expanded in ways I never expected. I’ve had the opportunity to travel and see some of the most incredible sites, while stepping outside of my comfort zone. I ate a plate of sardines in Santander, bathed in the thermal pools in Budapest, got up close to a hairy cow in the Highlands of Scotland, visited more castles than I can count, and more. Every morning when I wake up and realize where I am and what I’m doing, I feel like the luckiest person in the world.
I have a little over a month left here in England, and while I’m in no rush to leave, I am also really looking forward to getting back to my GW community. Until then, I’ve got plans for a trip to Paris, a tour of the Harry Potter Studios, and of course, about six more papers to write! Enjoy the rest of your semester, and don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions about Royal Holloway, England, or studying abroad in general. Raise High!
Kaley Pomerantz is a Junior in GWSB pursuing a BBA with a concentration in Marketing. To learn more about GW’s exchange program with Royal Holloway, click here.