This article has been republished with permission from UDaily and was written by Nikki Laws.
Thirty University of Delaware students had the opportunity to meet with representatives from 17 global corporations during visits to Thailand and Australia in January.
The business administration and finance study abroad program is led by husband and wife duo Sandy and Andy Fields, both of whom work in the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics. The group travels between Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Sydney, where students spend time immersed in the local and corporate cultures of their host destinations.
“Our main focus is, of course, to schedule visits with companies in each of our locations. With the help of our local partner, Global Academic Ventures, we are typically able to meet with high-ranking members of the organizations we visit,” said Andy Fields, an associate professor of finance.
“We want our students to grasp what the companies are all about,” said Sandy Fields, who is an instructor in marketing and an undergraduate program advisor. “More importantly, we hope our students come to understand how corporations will operate differently in varying locations. We see a drastic difference in corporate culture between Thailand, Australia and the U.S.”
Program participants come prepared to hold up their end of the conversation, too.
“Throughout the program, student teams research the companies we will visit so that we are prepared to put our best collective foot forward,” Andy Fields said. “I’m very proud of this group. They have asked amazing questions at every corporation we have visited.”
The group gained access to multinational corporations ranging from Bloomberg to Salesforce.com, but one, DuPont, hit particularly close to home. DuPont was founded in Wilmington, Delaware in 1802. Students met with the managing director and four division leaders in the company’s Bangkok location, where each shared information about their roles and professional journeys.
“We recently had the pleasure of hosting over 30 students and faculty from the University of Delaware at our Thailand offices to meet with our scientists and business leaders about the work we do at DuPont,” said Alexa Dembek, chief technology and sustainability officer for DuPont.
“These in-person sessions are invaluable for both the students and our company. For students, being able to ask our professionals about their work helps them map out their educational path forward to achieve their own career ambitions. And for us, we get to meet some of the top talent coming out of our hometown school and demonstrate how we are bringing essential innovation to societies around the world. Our goal is to inspire future candidates to come join our team, and so we look forward to keeping the conversation going with UD.”
Emily Williamson, a junior honors student majoring in marketing and operations management, said the greatest things she gained from the program are the connections she made with people in companies like DuPont and the real-world lessons she learned as a result.
“We’ve learned that networking is the best way to get started in a career search, and so many of us have been eager to immediately add our new contacts on LinkedIn, reach out and really foster a relationship,” Williamson said. “Hearing these individuals advise us on how to get our foot in the door, learn to navigate company culture and grow has been really encouraging.”
Williamson added that study abroad has given her tools that she’ll employ as a young professional, beginning with a Pepsi internship during the summer of 2019.
“One of the things we find is that when students return and begin their job search, their study abroad really becomes a focal point in interviews,” Andy Fields said. “Employers appreciate the experience and knowledge they have gained overseas.”
For the faculty directors, the program gives them a wider range of experiences to bring to the classroom and provides lifelong links to a growing group of students and alumni.
“It is a really wonderful experience, I think, for all of us,” said Sandy Fields.
For Future Explorers
Students interested in studying abroad are encouraged to explore the Institute for Global Studies websiteand blog, schedule a “Financing Your Study Abroad” appointment with Student Financial Services and drop by during open Study Abroad Advising Hours, held every Wednesday from 1 to 3 p.m. in Clayton Hall. Representatives from some of UD’s 100-plus study abroad programs will also be available at the Study Abroad and Global Studies Fair on Tuesday, Feb. 19, from 2-4 p.m. in Trabant Multipurpose room.
About the Institute for Global Studies
The Institute for Global Studies (IGS) was created in 2009 to enhance the international dimensions of teaching, research and outreach at the University of Delaware. IGS provides leadership and support for programs and experiences that contribute to the education of informed, skilled, open-minded citizens of the world.
Best known for coordinating the University’s study abroad program, IGS also awards scholarships and grants to faculty and students for a number of global opportunities, and administers internationally-recognized State Department-sponsored programs such as the UD Fulbright Initiative, Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) Student Leaders Institute, Mandela Washington Fellowship Program for Young African Leaders, and most recently the Study of the U.S. Institutes for Student Leaders on Women’s Leadership (SUSI-WL) program.
IGS sponsors such signature events as Global Month each fall and the Fulbright Lecture Series each spring.
IGS collaborates with other global partners on campus, including the Office for International Students and Scholars, the Confucius Institute and the Center for Global and Area Studies. In addition, IGS partners with Enrollment Management to coordinate the UD World Scholars Program.