Category Archives: Undergrad
By Kathleen McCarthy
This summer, I had the amazing opportunity to work at USA Today in the Travel Media Group. I was able to see first-hand how business and editorial departments work together as well as learn about the diverse jobs that they each perform. This was my first experience working in media, and it was definitely a learning experience. There were so many aspects to working in media that I had no idea existed before interning at USA Today!
First and foremost I learned that content isn’t really king—online is. The majority of the activities that go on in the Travel Media Group at USA Today revolve around our online products. One of the things that I learned early on in my internship is that the bottom line of any project in online media is going to come down to page views. The goal of all of our online products is to get people’s eyes on them and keep them on our page as opposed to someone else’s. That means that the first question following any idea proposal is “How much will it increase page views by?” If there is no guarantee of generating more page views, an idea will have a hard time getting off the ground. This is why it is helpful to know not just if something will generate more page views but to know how it will generate them and where they will come from.
Another important lesson that I learned about working in media is the importance of user interface and user experience. A media outlet can have great content, but if they don’t have the kind of user interface that makes their site appealing enough for people to stay on, that content is wasted. Likewise, without the kind of user experience that allows visitors to navigate through the site for a considerable period of time, a site won’t reach its potential in terms of page views. This makes it important for business people working in media to have basic knowledge of web design so that they can effectively communicate business necessities with designers and developers.
In addition to being exposed to the online side, I also learned about some of the challenges that the media business faces. Part of the allure of working in the media industry is being surrounded by creative people. While working in a creative environment is a lot of fun, there are also some challenges to doing business in this type of organization. It is always difficult to reconcile the interests of a media company’s creative branch with the side tasked with generating revenue. Many decisions, such as introducing sponsored content on editorial pages or SEO activities, demonstrated the internal push and pull inherent to the media industry. As I watched these decisions unfold, I learned not only about how the media industry operates, but also about the controversies that arise when editors are asked to take part in these activities. This taught me about the need to approach issues diplomatically in order to make sure that all parties are comfortable with a decision.
Working at USA Today was definitely an eye-opening experience that taught me a lot about working in the media industry. Even though there are a number of unique challenges that this industry presents, it is also incredibly exciting and fast-paced. Now that I have a more in-depth understanding of what working in media is like, I can’t wait to take the things that I have learned at my internship back into the classroom for my final year at GW.
I want to begin with a wide angle to understand Hong Kong. This is not China, despite what many friends have called my “Adventure in China”, Hong Kong has a separate administration, culture, and language. At the same time though, China would prefer to have control over Hong Kong’s decisions and ultimately keep them on track to be a stable entity. For this reason, protests have begun to populate the usually busy streets of Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, the two main islands. The Chinese government is planning to choose the potential candidates for the upcoming election rather than allowing a fully operational democracy.
Sunday, September 28th, I was having dinner with friends a few blocks north of the center of Hong Kong. The restaurant was full of families, young and old, enjoying their last meal together before the always-busy workweek. The room slowly became quiet and conversations were drowned out by the sound of hushes and gasps. We were witnessing on TV the initial round of riot shields, tear gas, and pepper spray being used on the “peaceful” student protesters. Up until this point, the streets were calm, the only sight of a non-peaceful protest was the outlying perimeter of police officers to contain the students, but even they did not holster their guns. That Sunday was a turning point for our time here and for Hong Kong’s global image. By Tuesday the Chinese government in Beijing denounced Hong Kong’s police for the actions used and with such news settled the vibrant (more negative word?) emotions of the student activists, still holding their ground in the streets. Even though the violence was temporary, it became the focus of worldwide media and effectively became the talking point for every conversation I had with non-local people. The pictures you see here are from the main protest area in Causeway Bay consisting of over 100,000 people. As you are reading this today, there are still people eating and sleeping in the streets but it has become a part of the ever-changing culture of Hong Kong and we have adjusted around it.
The city may be dense with over 7 million residents and thousands of tourists but there is always an opportunity to escape. Most frequently we visit the New Territories, the outer islands of Hong Kong, to go hiking and camping. In just under an hour in a taxi, far cheaper than any DC cab, we are let off at a trail sign with one arrow. After 10km we arrive at the most surreal view, not just because of the uninhabited beach or 5-mile view, but because of how close a tireless city is from us. Despite being a protected natural forest the wildlife is limited to giant spiders and cattle strewn over paths and trails. Another trip we were fortunate enough to take this past month was to Ko Phi Phi, Thailand. A great experience of local Thai culture but too vast to explain within this blog. The picture included shows you the cliffs on the water and the original Long-Tail boats. Hopefully the next time I write I will bring greater detail into our traveling and non-city experiences throughout my abroad experience.
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 Reid is on in Hong Kong through Syracuse University, click here.
Workshop designed for international students in the School of Business to introduce them to citation styles/ guidelines and academic expectations at GW. Will supply student with the tools they need to be successful in the classroom.
Friday, November 21, 2014
Gelman, Room 301/302
Visit here to reserve your spot today! Snacks will be provided!
Sponsored by Gelman Library and GWSB Undergraduate Advising and Programs
Your International Services Office welcomes you to an International Student Coffee Hour. Please join us at Gelman Library’s Global Resources Center this Thursday, October 30th from 9:30am to 11:30am and enjoy a snack with our Specialists.
I have been in Italy for nearly two months now, and the experiences I have had are unlike anything I have done at home. In addition to my journeys across Europe, I thought I would share a little on my academics for this blog post.
One of my most interesting classes at Bocconi University is called Management of Fashion Companies. Milan is well known for being one of the centers of Fashion, and this class focuses in depth on the management of different styles of fashion. Our primary focus for the first half of the semester, however, is on luxury companies in France and Italy. We have learned about the strategic marketing tactics and organizational structure for luxury companies such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Giorgio Armani, Gucci, and more. This class has definitely opened my eyes to the intricacies of the world of fashion. Hopefully it also helps me with some wardrobe tips by the time the course is over!
Just like in GWSB, Bocconi loves to assign group projects. For my fashion class, we are given a brand and are required to create a marketing strategy for the company. The company my group is assigned is called Bershka, a fast fashion store similar to H&M. For our project, we are required to do field analysis. In other words, we get to visit the actual store in the fashion district and observe customer behavior, the store atmosphere, and the layout of the store. Through this project, I will learn how to apply the management and strategic marketing tools we talk about in class to help Bershka generate more customer traffic in their stores. I am especially excited about this project because Bershka is a brand that I do not know much about. It also gives me a great excuse to go shopping afterwards.
Although academics are very important, study abroad is also an opportunity to learn about different cultures. Use whatever free time you are not spending studying to get out into the world and just explore. I have had the opportunity to travel around Italy, France and Germany so far. Now that it is our mid-semester break, I get to take a break from some of my intense classes and explore more Europe. I will be traveling to five different European cities in ten days, where I plan on trying lots of different foods, shopping until I drop, visiting beautiful landmarks and museums, and soaking in the European life-style. Arrivederci, for now!
Meghana (Meg) Murthy is a Junior in GWSB pursuing a BBA with a dual concentration in Marketing and International Business. She is currently studying abroad in Milan, Italy through a GW Exchange with Bocconi University. Bocconi University is considered the leading university in Business and Economics in Italy. Read more about the program here.
I’ve been in Australia for almost 3 months now. Time has flown by. As I have continued my study abroad experience, it’s not only the things that I have gotten to do here in Australia that has made this trip worthwhile, but also the perspective that studying abroad has given me. In this blog post, I want to give some insight into what I’ve been up to in the past 3 months, including traveling, living in Sydney, and studying at University of Sydney, and I want to relay some of the most important things I’ve learned while abroad.
My most recent Australian escapade was mid-semester break. A group of friends and I traveled to Queensland for some quintessential Australian experiences. We started our trip in Cairns, where we got to snorkel the Great Barrier Reef, hike the oldest continuously living rainforest – The Daintree – and went white water river rafting. Snorkeling was amazing. We saw tons of beautiful fish and coral formations as well as having a few encounters with some reef sharks. I was also lucky enough to get to swim alongside a green sea turtle!
After our adventurous trip to Cairns, we decided to take the rest of break to actually relax and settled down on Hamilton Island in the Whitsunday Islands. We were able to relax on the beach, swing around the islands on jet skis, and watched the most incredible sunsets I have ever seen from the top of the island.
But, as with all study abroad trips, it is now back to school. With only 3 weeks left in my semester and then 2 weeks of finals, the school year is really coming to a close quickly. The Australian system, very unlike GW’s, also loads the majority of the coursework into the last few weeks. I definitely still have a lot to do… Luckily, living in Sydney gives me access to amazing ways to relax like running to the opera house or experiencing Sydney’s thriving arts and theatre culture. Plus the restaurants and nightlife are pretty great as well. But, with the stress of school setting in, I really have started to miss home.
Studying abroad has been a fantastic experience. I’ve gotten to do so many things that I really never thought I would get to do in my life at all. And while yes, I have learned some things in my classes; the most important lesson that I have taken away from study abroad is perspective. I know that I will be coming back to GW with so much more appreciation for my friends, my family, and even GW itself. I am so thankful for the education I’m receiving, the opportunities that I have been given, and the people that are in my live at GW. I would recommend studying abroad to anyone who can do it and the best advice I could give is to drink it all in, but remember how great everything you have at home is.
Jon Hering is a GWSB Junior pursuing a BBA with a concentration in Marketing and a minor in Theatre. He is spending his Fall semester abroad at the University of Sydney in Australia. Read more about GW’s exchange program with University of Sydney here.
As we began our first business course for the semester, Marketing Management, I had to mentally prepare myself. After a pleasant summer in DC and having already spent a week getting to know Paris, I wasn’t entirely prepared to get back to classes. Thankfully the first day of classes with Professor Maddox eased my worries. Professor Maddox welcomed us to class and helped us quickly adapt to the four day per week schedule of marketing. The class was organized in a way to always keep us busy with group projects and checkpoints along the way to make sure we were making progress. The ongoing project for the course was a marketing plan for a French product that we wanted to bring to the US. My team, “Avant Garde Associates” worked on a plan to bring Brioche Pasquier packaged croissants to the US. This hands-on project gave us a new perspective on marketing that we may not have gotten from a traditional class setting.
In addition to the course itself, we had three very interesting site visits. First, we visited the Comité Champagne which is a trade association that represents both the growers of Champagne grapes as well as the Champagne houses that produce the famous sparkling wine. Besides promoting their region and industry, the Comité Champagne is tasked with protecting the “Champagne” name from use on any other product besides the sparkling wine produced in the official Champagne region. We learned about the power a name can carry, as well as how strategic they had to be.
Our next site visit was to TBWA where we met with Nicolas Bordas, Vice President of TBWA\Europe. Nicolas shared with us some of the work TBWA has done for large clients such as Apple, McDonald’s and Gatorade. It was really eye opening to see how TBWA operates through its multiple branches. In addition to a tour of the facilities, Nicolas provided us with a long Q&A session to learn more about the industry.
The final site visit was a discussion with an executive from Kinder, a brand within the Ferrero Rocher company. We discussed global branding and how companies such as Kinder and Ferrero adapt their products for international markets. For example, Kinder cannot sell their Kinder Surprise, a chocolate, egg shaped product in the US due to our current legislation. Despite this, Kinder continues to expand internationally, taking varied approaches in each market.
Having such an international community in Paris has provided some great perspective to this course, and my overall experience in Paris. In addition to its international side, Paris, and the surrounding areas have their own interesting history. From our tour of Versailles to a trip to Monet’s property, I have enjoyed getting to know this country and experienced some unique parts of history. Seeing Monet’s personal gardens that were the subject of some of his most famous paintings was a surreal experience. I may never have had the opportunity to visit such a place if I was not on this program.
One of my best memories so far, was attending Vogue Fashion Night Out. This event was a precursor to the famous Paris Fashion Week hosted by Vogue Magazine. On Rue St. Honoré, many designers hosted parties and expositions in their stores. There were live DJ’s, champagne, and of course the best dressed people in Paris. While I initially felt a little bit out of place, I became more comfortable as the night went on, and took full advantage of the events. Later on during fashion week, I had the opportunity to attend Capsule which is a small designer trade show. I was fortunate enough to get a glimpse of teh Spring/Summer ‘15 lines along with press and other professionals in the industry.
After these five weeks in Paris, I feel that I have truly adapted to life here and I am really enjoying my time. I’m looking forward to more interesting site visits and travel opportunities as the semester goes on. Looking back, I have no regrets about joining this program, and pursuing my dream of studying abroad in Paris.
Andrew Dewey is a Junior in GWSB pursuing a BBA in International Business with a minor in Sustainability. To learn more about GWSB’s Signature Study Abroad Program, Fall Business in Paris (GW Paris), read here.
While our GWSB Abroad Fall 2012 Bloggers are getting settled into their new homes in foreign lands, Todd Morrill, GWSB Senior and this year’s President of the UBA, is going to kick off our blog with a post reflecting on his time abroad in China last year. Read on!
Host Country: Shanghai, China
Program: Alliance for Global Education: International Business Program hosted at the Shanghai University of Finance
What was the most valuable lesson you learned while abroad? The most valuable lesson that I learned abroad was what it really meant to look after myself or be on my own, which included everything from my personal health and finances to my professional life and living situation. Add a foreign language into the mix and it’s sure to be a good time!
The last week before you move is always frantic. Finish working and teaching, get your host family a teaching plan for the next 2 months, have dinner and/or lunch with 4 people and tell 12 others that you’re going to do your best to meet them, even though you know it is physically impossible. Get a suit from Yaxiu clothing market, where I paid about $200 for a three piece, which might have been a little high but in my defense I didn’t have much time to bargain, “I chose a good material,” and the suit surprisingly came out great. Get one more $3 haircut. Don’t forget gifts for everyone you have encountered in your time in China. Don’t forget gifts for everyone back home. Exchange your currency to that lovely green American paper that we all love, but beware, I found out the day before I left that China only lets foreigners exchange $500 worth of RMB per day. How 麻烦 (inconvenient) is that? Pack your stuff, lose that bloody VPN, cancel your phone, and finally don’t sleep the night before you get on the plane to accelerate your superhuman ability to adjust to new times zones in 48 hours.
So what have I learned in China? I have realized that what my boss told me on the first day at USCBC was absolutely correct. He said, before you come to China, you could write a 100 pages about it, after arriving you can only write a few dozen, after a few months only a page or two, and by the time you leave you can’t write anything. He says this because of how quickly China is churning and also due to the complicated nature of its development. There are regional and cultural differences within China, different laws and exceptions to rules all over the place, things that would impress you and things that would make you shake your head. But regardless of what new things you discover in China, it is all changing at the speed of sound. And as much as I appreciate the openness and transparency of Western news media, it does not do a particularly good job of capturing the essence of China’s development and new trends. It tends to focus more on hot button issues such as currency manipulation, which really is only one small piece to the puzzle here.
It has become tradition in the Bejing Office of the USCBC to ask their interns what they have learned while working there. So over lunch, my manager asked me and told me that I could respond in Chinese or English. She gave me a moment to collect my thoughts and I was surprisingly able to respond in Chinese by saying that working with the USCBC has given me a firsthand look at the structure of the Chinese government and how it influences all American business interests. I have gotten a glimpse of the business culture here in China, what challenges American firms face, and what best practices are for conducting business. I have had the chance to continue using my Chinese both orally and through my research projects. I have gained so many other noteworthy experiences while here at the USCBC, but it will likely be years before I fully realize all that I have learned or how it will all help me.
I have grown personally. Navigating another country using a foreign language is no easy task, and doing that while living on your own makes it even more challenging. This summer, for the first time in my life, I only spent the money that I had earned from working and truly began to understand what it means to “be on your own.” It’s a critical experience for many of us and I’m glad that I was able to discover it before I graduated college. I feel like I have strengthened my survival skills and become a more responsible young adult. In fact, when you finally come to the realization that you have to face fierce competition from every country in the world and that you and only you are responsible for your success within that scope, it is very stimulating. Before coming to China, I was aware of this notion in theory, but in reality, I had not felt the effects of globalization or the real-life challenges of supporting yourself.
Sitting here at gate E08 of Beijing International Airport, looking at the plane I am about to board stirs up a lot of emotion. It has been a fantastic time in China, and I owe a lot of that to being surrounded by good people, namely a great roommate and his family in Shanghai, great classmates, a generous host family in Beijing, and the diligent staff at the USCBC. I miss China already and while I don’t know how it will play into my long-term personal and professional goals, I do know that it already holds a very, very special place in my heart. Until next time, China, farewell.
Greetings from Paris!
Packing for Paris was a tad of a challenge. It is quite difficult packing a semester of your life into just a few bags! Yet, after all preparations were complete, I said goodbye to my family, once again hoped I wasn’t making a huge mistake leaving GW for a semester, and departed from JFK International Airport in New York.
After 7 hours, I arrived in Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris! We were picked up by our Residential Director, Florence Claassen, at the airport along with a cadre of Sciences-Po students decked out in GW gear! Already, I was feeling at home. After taking us to our apartments and giving us a few hours to get acclimated, we were treated to a lovely welcome dinner.
The next day we were given a run down of the basics: a tour of the area, how to do laundry, how to get to school, buy groceries, phones, etc. Besides the language barrier, I was surprised at how similar a lot of it was to the United States (although there are a few crucial cultural differences).Then we had our first French class. All students are required to take a one-week, 20 hour, french survival class, followed by a guided tour of the Musée d’Orsay, an Impressionist art museum.
Day three included more class, as well as several special guest lectures from Sciences-Po faculty. We also attended a wine and cheese tasting in the evening.
On the weekend, there was a scavenger hunt around the city, which really tested our knowledge of the roads, bus and metro systems, as well as a bus tour of the city.
Finally, we started Marketing, our introductory french classes were over, and we got down to business. The capstone event in our orientation was a cruise along the Seine River.
So far Paris has its ups and downs. The city is quaint and European, but also an international metropolitan hub of art and commerce. Sciences-Po is a fantastic school in a great area. While I miss my friends and organizations back in DC, this city is lovely, and I am learning so much. My outlook remains positive, and so far, so good!
It’s hard to believe that I have been abroad traveling Europe for over two months already. I began my journey in late July using my last few weeks of summer vacation to visit my extended family in Prague, Czech Republic. From there, I made some side trips to Greece and the Czech mountains before ending up in my final destination: Vienna. So far this city has been nothing short of awesome.
An unfrequented travel destination for American students, Vienna has a unique culture in that it is the perfect blend of punctuality, easygoing people, and rich history. In my first few weeks here, I have tried my best to experience the most authentic parts of the culture. This included having a mid morning cappuccino and sachertorte (special chocolate cake with apricot frosting) at a Viennese coffeehouse, drinking wine with soda water at a Heurige (local Viennese vineyard), going for a run in the Vienna forest and watching an opera outside in the plaza of the Vienna courthouse. Although it seems like I’ve done a lot, there is still so much for me to see.
My classes here so far have been great. After orientation in the Austrian Alps I began a three-week intensive German class followed by a weeklong break. After a quick trip to Florence, Sorrento, Capri and Positano, it was time to start a regular load of classes. The best thing about the IES program I am on is that, like GWSB, my professors here have relevant business experience. My finance professor comes from his daytime job at UniCredit Bank Austria to teach our class about monetary integration among the Euro members and my economics professor comes from Budapest where he is a scholar at a university doing research on transitions from central planned economies to market economies.
I am so fortunate to be able to study abroad because it is giving me the opportunity to study business from a different perspective. Plus, I feel like I am really heading towards my goal at achieving a working knowledge of German. I hope that a lot of other students decide to take the opportunity of studying abroad, because it has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. Until next time! Bis Bald! Rob.