Category Archives: Undergrad
After four incredible months in Argentina, I am now down to the final three-week home stretch. As I look back on the time that I’ve spent in this country, my thoughts wander to the many diverse cities that I’ve traveled to. Way back when, in August, I took the overnight bus to Mendoza where I participated in a vineyard tour and got to indulge in Argentina’s delicious Malbec and Torrontes wines. Sipping from my glass and listening to the passionate winery owners rave about their product while overlooking the impressive Andes Mountains is a memory that will not soon fade. The memories continued the following day while trotting on horseback through the foothills of the Andes and arriving to an asado (Argentine barbeque) where gauchos were playing ancient folklore under the setting sun.
Speaking of sun, that brings me to my next destination where I enjoyed plenty of it: Iguazú. Iguazú Falls, the seventh natural wonder of the world, was unlike anything I had ever seen before. Standing in awe next to enormous cascading waterfalls in the midst of a tropical forest filled with toucans, monkeys, and exotic butterflies was truly a breathtaking experience. And it got even better.
Not only did I get to view the waterfalls from afar, but I also got to take a clothed shower under the intimidating surge of water crashing down over the cliffs during a boat navigation tour. This exhilarating experience was followed by a visit to the local Guaraní tribes who live in the stunning forests. It was truly amazing to watch these people in their element and speak their native language of Quechua. I walked away from their settlements in admiration; it’s comforting to know that some people can still be satisfied with the simplest pleasures in life without needing any input from the developed world.
And then there was Patagonia. The ten days I spent in the south of Argentina were not only out of this world, but also served as a period of personal reflection about how extremely lucky I have been to study abroad here. Whether I was chilling with the penguins at the end of the world in Ushuaia, ice-trekking on the Viedma Glacier in El Calafate, or white-water rafting to the border of Chile in Bariloche, I could not stop thinking about the incredibly valuable international experience I have gained from living in a developing country.
The tremendous amount of improvement I’ve made in the Spanish language is remarkable; I can now have nearly fluent conversations with Argentines in their native dialect instead of choppily forming sentences using Spain’s inborn tongue. Moreover, I have become well up to date with Argentine politics and the economy from both classes taught by local professors and discussions with my host mother, Argentine friends, and travelers I met on the road. Finally, and most importantly, I’ve gained a deeper understanding of the Argentine culture. The main aspects that have stood out to me are the heavy emphasis on family values, the benefits of living a balanced life, and the intense amount of pride that Argentines take in their country. These three characteristics, along with the astonishing amount of geographic diversity that exists in this one country, have made Argentina an ideal to place to study abroad. For those people willing to step out of their comfort zone and experience something truly unique, I would highly recommend participating in the International Business study abroad program in Buenos Aires.
Joanne is a GWSB Junior, attaining her BBA with a dual concentration in International Business and Finance, and a minor in Spanish, Latin American Languages, Literatures, and Cultures. This is her second blog post from Buenos Aires. Be sure to read her first!
To learn more about GWSB’s Signature IBUS in Argentina program click here.
Undergraduate Consulting Club
Case Prep 101 is open to UCG members only, but we are accepting members at this time! This is the pre-event for our second case prep workshop with David Ohrvall on 10/2.
Want to become a member?
In order to become a UCG member, you will need to:
•Fill out the Membership Application Form
•Email your updated resume to firstname.lastname@example.org
Hello GWSB Colonials!
We are excited to formally introduce ourselves as your 2014-15 Student Association Senator representatives.
We are: Christina Giordano, a sophomore from High Bridge, New Jersey majoring in Business Administration concentrating in International Business and Marketing and Carlo Wood, also a sophomore from Newnan, Georgia majoring in Business Administration concentrating in Event Management and Finance, and minoring in Communication. We are extremely excited to serve each and every one of you to our greatest capabilities over the next year.
As your senators, we are here to advocate for you in terms of questions or concerns you have about student life or academics at GW. We are always available to grab a coffee and chat about classes, how to get involved, and most importantly, any concerns that you may as a GWSB student.
If you see us on the street or in between classes at Duques, please feel free to say hello and introduce yourselves. One of our main goals is to emphasize OUR GWSB community! Be sure to do so by attending any of the many great events put on by our GWSB student organizations, programming by the David F. Fowler Career Center, or simply seeing you sport the GWSB buff and blue!
Have a great fall semester!
Carlo & Christina | GWSB ‘17
Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns here.
Here is a list of resources you should take advantage of.
1. Academic Advising - Advisors are wonderful resources for you! You have your own academic advisor for all four years of your undergraduate career. Build a solid relationship with him or her and talk about the different options you have for majors and concentrations. Stop by and help them match your name to your face! The advising center is open 9am-6pm M-F and there are express advising hours from 9:30-11am M-F as well. Learn how to take advantage of all your academic opportunities at GWSB by working with your advisor.
2. Career Center - As a GWSB student, you are offered a plethora of customized resources for you, such as the David F. Fowler Career Center! The career center can support you in resume building, cover letter making, and even networking events. Located in Suite 560 at 2201 G Street, you will find highly qualified faculty such as Kathleen Duffy, the director of Undergraduate Career Management. The David F. Fowler Career Center is also committed to connecting you to the 250,000 alumni that are willing to support you throughout your undergraduate career. Be sure to stop by the office for more information on all the essentials it takes to grow from being just a business student to a GWSB business student!
3. Tutoring- Have you ever felt like you needed a little extra academic help in that one class? Be sure to take advantage of all the academic support resources such as the GW Tutoring Initiative that GW has to offer. Your first 10 hours per academic year are free! If you still feel that that is not enough, GWSB departments also offer departmental tutoring. There are also resources such as the Writing Center, Language Center, and Disability Support Services. Remember, being the best business student you can be sometimes means asking for help!
Need some help formulating ideas for a paper? Want some conversation practice for learning a second language? There are numerous resources available to GW students:
The EAP Writing Support Program
This program offers a free, one-on-one, service for GWU students with non-English backgrounds at the Language Center, Phillips Hall 210B during regular semesters. Our tutors are available during any stage of the writing process to work on audience, brainstorming, citation, drafting, evidence, grammar, organization and flow, outlining, paragraphing, revision, thesis, and tone. In addition they are trained to provide focused support for non-native speakers. Visit our appointment website to make an appointment.
In high school, I competitively competed in policy debate. This meant spending my summers at debate camps and traveling across the country to compete against other high school teams. Then, two years ago, I chose to go to GW because of its location and have spent some time interning on Capitol Hill and at the Federal Reserve. Based on these experiences and from what I read in numerous guidebooks, I was very confident and sure that I would be able to quickly acclimate to studying abroad. However, after getting off the plane four weeks ago to begin my journey here in Amsterdam, I was shocked, surprised, and frightened in realizing that it would only minimally help me.
First, navigating the city was a challenge! Without internet, I had to resort to writing down directions, reading maps, and constantly asking strangers for help. With over 1200 bridges in Amsterdam, it was no easy feat since all the canals, buildings, and bridges looked the same. However, this challenge made getting used to the city a lot more enjoyable and rewarding. Instead of being in a rush to get from Point A to Point B, I took my time getting to know the different routes to school and ventured down side streets and over canals, in search for hidden cafes and restaurants. I have learned the Dutch take their time while doing things and I tried to do the same. Overtime the frustration of getting lost subsided after the appreciation of this great city quickly kicked in.
Second, one of the biggest differences emphasized during orientation was the difference between the American and Dutch education system. Instead of using an alphabetical scale, the Dutch use a numerical scale of 1-10. We were told that Dutch professors are tougher while grading and that a grade of 5.5 was passing, 6 was average, 8 was excellent, 9 was reserved for the professor, and 10 was reserved for God. While speaking with the Dutch students about this during the ten-fifteen minute break all professors give in the middle of the class session, they quickly gave me helpful advice on how to approach it.
Lastly, many people associate Amsterdam with its liberal policies, and I am guilty myself of that stereotype. However, after spending the last month here, I have learned that there is so much more to this city. Over the last few weeks, I have met people from Finland, Denmark, Germany, Canada, China, Poland, Italy, Greece, Australia, Spain and the UK, to name a few countries. I have shared stories about what America is really like, learned what other cultures are like, debunked common stereotypes, and debated foreign policy and philosophical beliefs. Additionally, I have learned that a rain jacket and bike are necessities here, bread, butter, and cheese appear to be the staple food, and if you do not look both ways before crossing the street, a local could hit you with his bike…for fun. Furthermore, I have taken a boat cruise on the canals, rowed on the Amstel River, experienced the food and nightlife, and visited historic sites like the location of a World War II battle, the Battle of the Bulge in Bastogne, Belgium. These cultural learning experiences would not have been possible if I did not come here.
I now understand why so many students are hesitant to go abroad and why so many adults are impressed to hear that I am, since acclimating is hard and it took me nearly a month to do so. But because I took this opportunity, I not only get to explore the Netherlands, but I plan on visiting Brussels, Munich, Paris, Milan, Florence, London, and Zurich in the next few months so I can gain an even deeper understanding of what Europeans are like. I know the next three months are going to fly by and it is time to experience as much as I can before I head back home. I strongly encourage students interested in studying abroad to do so, it may seem scary at first, but the memories and the little more heightened sense and understanding of the world make it all worth it.
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.
The Power of Story Telling
By Chris Cavalea
In terms of my internship experience, I consider myself extremely lucky. Over the past couple of years, I have had the opportunity to work for institutions and professionals that have shaped my knowledge, habits, and outlook. However, gaining access to these valuable insights and experiences was challenging, mostly because of the strict hiring and interviewing procedures involved. After two years in college, and a handful of interviews ranging from casual to professional, I have come to a simple realization about college students and internship interviews. This realization, I believe, will help students conquer the most terrifying part of the hiring process, and help them more clearly express themselves to potential managers.
Often, students perform poorly in interviews because they spend too much time talking about what they can do for the company, and not enough time expressing who they are to the interviewer. The best way to tell a person who you are is to tell them a story. This reasoning applies to interviews just as well as it does to blind dates. Stories allow you to demonstrate your skills by illustrating them through contextual experiences. They help others gain insights into who you are, what you do, and how you feel about it. Rather than telling an interviewer about your critical thinking skills, you should be demonstrating that you have these skills and have used them to better yourself in the past. Rather than talking about the last company you worked for, you should be telling a story about the struggles involved in adapting to the workplace, the risks you took to prove yourself to your coworkers, and the patience you demonstrated while in conflict with your manager.
I encourage you to think for a moment about your last interview, but from the perspective of the interviewer. Try to walk in their shoes for a moment, and take a good look around. What would you want a 20-year-old college student to say? What would impress you, and what would you connect with?
• Does this potential employee have the skills necessary for the job, and have they proven that they can access/use them successfully?
• Would this employee fit in with the company culture? Does he/she have the same mentality as those he/she will be working with?
• Does this potential employee know what failure feels like? Are they the kind of person who can handle setbacks? Do they give up easily, or are they resilient and focused on learning
• Can this person accurately identify their strengths and weaknesses? What do they do with that knowledge? How has their awareness influenced their mentality over time?
As you start to think about these underlying questions, you might begin to wonder how successfully you answered them in your last interview. When you think about it, these aren’t questions about what you can do; they’re questions about who you are as an independent student/professional/thinker.
No matter what job we have, we are not machines searching for the next accomplishment. We are business thinkers with rich history, experiences, and attitudes that add value and dimensions to the workplace. Telling stories establishes this separation in the eyes of an interviewer and will greatly expand your opportunities moving forward in your career.
It’s been an entire week since I’ve arrived in Paris, France! That is incredibly hard to believe, as I feel like I’ve done so much already, both as part of my program and on my own. I’m participating in GW’s Paris Fall Business Program, designed exclusively for GWSB students. That means you!
Settling in over the past week has been a very interesting process, and it applies to a myriad of things – meeting my classmates, figuring out my neighborhood, and integrating myself into the French culture. In total, there are nineteen students from GW participating in the program, all taking three GW Business courses (Marketing, Finance, and Human Resources) and two electives. Five French students from SciencesPo (the university hosting us) are in our classes as well. Just like at GW, everyone is really diverse and brings a lot to the table in terms of their own experiences and backgrounds. We have people from all regions of the US, as well as Puerto Rico and Switzerland!
The majority of us American students have apartments within close proximity to one another, which makes it easy to study together or hang out. I’m living in the 13th arrondisement (Paris is divided into 20 arrondisements, or districts), which is south of the Seine River and only about twenty or thirty minutes from school. I’m sharing a cozy apartment with three other GW girls – it has a living room, kitchen, bathroom, two bedrooms, and lots of IKEA furniture! No complaints here. Living in our location means that there are multiple ways to get to school, such as taking the metro, streetcar, bus, or a bike. My roommates and I have discovered that catching the streetcar (or tram, we call it) and then getting onto the metro is the most efficient way. Thankfully, living in DC definitely prepared us for frequent use of public transportation!
Whether on the metro, in a shop, or at a restaurant, each place that I find myself in gives me an opportunity to use my French. Though I’ve been studying the language since high school, my grasp on it is nowhere near perfect and sometimes creates issues. The other day when we were shopping for French cell phone plans as a group, the phone store’s employees didn’t speak English, so we had to be very careful to make sure we knew all the details of what we were purchasing. Other times, though, the language difference has enhanced my experiences in a good way, such through creating cultural exchange with the SciencesPo students. We’ve taught them American-isms like adding “ish” onto the end of a word, or describing something as “salty,” and they’ve taught us things like the word “coloc” (which means roomie). They’re all really welcoming and eager to learn more about us, just like we are about them.
One challenge about settling in that I’m facing right now is inherent in studying abroad: studying. Our group’s welcome program lasted this entire week, and it included a guided tour of the Musée d’Orsay, a boat ride on the Seine, and meals at various places around the city. With class starting tomorrow though, I had to remind myself how to take notes! It’ll be interesting to find out where the best places to study are, whether it’s in SciencePo’s ultra modern library, a cafe down the street, or right here at home with my roommates.
Ultimately, each day brings new opportunities to learn more about the French culture and how Parisians live. Although Paris is a big city environment like DC, the French seem to take their time a little bit more, whether it’s over their morning espresso or dinner with a friend late at night. I hope this semester won’t go by too quickly, either – though I’ve only been here for a week and still have a lot to explore, so far it’s been, undoubtedly, fantastique!
Mary Catherine Bitter is a GWSB Junior pursuing a BBA with a concentration in Information Systems Management. She is also a member of the University Honors Program. To learn more about GWSB’s Fall Business in Paris program, read here.
Finding your Perfect Job in Unexpected Places
By Megan Krishnamurthy
Last year, I went to a wedding and was asked by another attendee what my “career aspirations” were. Without even thinking, I responded that I had none. The jaw of the woman I was speaking to dropped, and for a few moments I was slightly embarrassed by my response. As evidenced by the anecdote above, I had no idea what direction I wanted my career path to take. My career goals changed from day to day, and I wanted to be everything from a lawyer to a restaurant owner to an entrepreneur. I envied my friends who were studying to be doctors or lawyers because there was a natural career progression associated with those professions. I have come across so many people my age who say they know exactly what they want to be doing for the rest of their lives. However, I feel like there are a lot of people out there who are afraid to admit that they have no idea what they want out of a job.
My advice to these people is to go out and experience as much as you can. I’ve spent my last three years of college in various internships in an attempt to find that “dream job.” My biggest takeaway from these years of exploration is that your perfect job may be something you have never even heard of. In my case, I found an unexpectedly great fit in a newly created division of JP Morgan called Investor Services. I applied for a summer internship at JP Morgan in New York City on a whim and accepted an offer after my super day interviews. Next, my fellow interns and I were put through a placement process that assigned us to a specific line of business and group within Investor Services. I had the fortune of getting my first choice during the placement process and ended up in a group known as Prime Brokerage Capital Introduction. Essentially, the team works with hedge funds in order to help them find investors and puts out research on the hedge fund industry. My internship combined finance with more qualitative elements of business such as marketing and event management.
As someone enjoys working on a multitude of different projects, I was fortunate to have worked on a variety of different projects. I created presentations, built models, edited research pieces, and helped plan events for JP Morgan’s hedge fund clients. Before this summer, I had never heard of Investor Services, Prime Brokerage, or Capital Introduction. However, I am so happy that I gave this internship a chance, because it ended up being a great fit for my personality and skill set. I am proud to say that I will be returning to JP Morgan full-time next summer. While I still don’t know how my career will progress, I do know that I am much more open to the unexpected and unheard of opportunities that I hope will come my way again.
One of the most obvious benefits about studying abroad is meeting new people and attempting to understand the way that the people live in the country in which you are spending several months. As my time in Santiago, Chile is coming to an end, I have been reflecting on what I have learned, the people I have met, and the experiences I have had. I have come to the conclusion that the most rewarding part of my semester is the relationships I have built with Chileans, as well as those I have built with the other GW students studying on my program. I have realized making such good Chilean friends not only improved my classes and expanded my understanding of the culture, but helped with classes and led to further exploration of the city.
Living with a host family has truly showed me how Chileans live on a day-to-day basis. I have been able to see how adults and family celebrate holidays such as birthdays or Children’s Day, as opposed to just knowing how students my age live. I have bonded with my host family in a unique way because we live under the same roof, which has resulted in us having extremely rewarding conversations. Also, it is comforting to have a family who I can talk to when I am feeing down and a mother to take care of me when I am sick. Living with a host family at a time when you are so far away from your real family really does make a difference. My host mom and host sister are truly part family to me now and I am going to miss them terribly when I leave.
Although GW Chile offers 2 GW classes that are only for GW students, based on credits, we are required to take at least 2 other classes at the local universities. Some of my classes are with other GW students, but in some I am the only foreigner. Upon reflecting about my experience, I realized that the times when I meet the most people and make the most Chilean friends are when I am alone. All of my best friends in Santiago came from my Marketing class where I am the only foreigner. Putting myself out there made a huge difference because I established bonds with Chileans. Some of my fondest memories this semester include watching Chilean qualifier games for the World Cup, grilling for dinner, or just relaxing at the university, all with Chilean friends.
If you think about it, the people you surround yourself with really make or break your experiences and in this case it definitely made mine. I am extremely sad about leaving these new friends after only knowing them for a few months because they are the reason I love Chile so much. While I am excited to get back to DC and GWSB, I know I will miss my host family and friends, but thank goodness for Skype and Whatsapp!
Although I have talked a lot about Chileans, I do have to give a shout-out to GW Chile. The 12 other GW students on my program were my second family this semester. Almost everything I went through this semester, they experienced as well. They are the friends I mostly traveled with and are adventurous like me. I know they were always there for me, and I am so glad I do not have to say goodbye to them, since I will see most of them at GW next semester.
The relationships I built with new friends were definitely the best part about study abroad. These friendships will last me for years to come, and are a large part of the reason I want to return to Chile as soon as possible!
This is Abigail’s second post from Chile. Read her first here. Abigail is a GWSB junior seeking her BBA with a dual concentration in International Business and Sport, Event, and Hospitality Management.
To find out more information on GW’s Study Program in Chile, click here.
Don’t cry for me Argentina. I will be back. | Steven Dyer Shares How IBUS in Argentina Changed His Life
The question I get on a daily basis is: “Where are you from?” Upon arriving in late July, I admired that Porteños acknowledged so quickly and were interested in where I had come from. I did not even have to open my mouth to attempt a word in Spanish before they knew I was not from here. Now, after four and a half months, when I am asked that same question I am almost offended. I don’t feel different, but the question brings me back to the reality that no matter how good my accent is, how many kisses I give, or how many empañadas I eat, I am actually not a Porteño and in a matter of days I’m going to be leaving.
Looking back, I vividly remember entering the Ezeiza airport and noticing the unorganized and chaotic Argentine culture. It feels like last week I was going through orientation, being taught the culture norms and how to do operate in the city, like using the bus system or the Argentine Peso. Today, after living in Buenos Aires and traveling to four cities around the country I have truly experienced it all. From the glaciers of Patagonia to the Iguazu falls, to Mendoza wine country by the Andes Mountains, I have seen the natural and pristine beauty that this amazing country has to offer. Couple that with a unique and cultural city, known as the “Paris of South America”, and you have a pretty spectacular semester.
This program is unlike any other study abroad program. As a transfer student, I had limited options because I still had many credit requirements and wouldn’t be able to take a lot of electives; I needed a semester that would be academically equivalent to a normal GW semester. Additionally, I didn’t have any advanced language education. This program allowed me to take GW classes taught by a mix of GW and Argentine professors at a local university. Our classes were basically the same as they would be at GW and all of our core grades transferred. Being able to take Spanish was not only extremely useful, but also an additional perk to the program – I can now speak Spanish well! The program consisted of thirteen GWSB students, and after four months I can honestly say I have twelve new friends that I have shared new findings, cultural struggles, and overall crazy experiences. They were a huge part of my experience and I would not trade sharing my experience with them for anything.
Two people I am really going to miss are my host parents, Enrique and Rosa. I was so incredibly blessed to be placed with two of the most amazing people I have ever met and now consider them my real family. Without them, this experience would not have been the same. They cooked me amazing meals, taught me Spanish, helped me understand the city, and took care of me when I was sick. I also learned life lessons from them like, “Money isn’t happiness.” “Money can buy you a trip to Cancun, but then the trip is over.” “In order to be happy you need faith and a set of values to guide you through life.”
This being my first time outside of the U.S., I had no idea what I was going to expect. I had no idea how I would react to the cultural differences, being away from home for so long, or how I was going to communicate in Spanish. While there were definitely bumps in the road, I really surprised myself on how well I handled this huge change. Not only did I learn about international business and how to do business in Argentina, but I also learned about myself and what I am capable of doing. Lauren Beilin, the GW Resident Director in Buenos Aires, told us before we left that study abroad was not going to change our lives but that we needed to change our lives while studying abroad. After my semester here in Buenos Aires, I am confident I changed my life studying abroad and I thank GWSB, the Office of Study Abroad, and my supportive parents for making this possible.
Don’t cry for me Argentina. I will be back.
Steven Dyer is a Junior in GWSB pursuing a BBA with a dual concentration in International Business and Business Economics & Public Policy. To read more about the IBUS in Argentina program, click here.