Students in the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business wanting a global experience didn’t miss a beat in fulfilling that ambition this spring.
Eighteen students – 12 in business — received a lesson in international business during the spring semester through Clemson University’s Global Business Virtual+, a program that exposed students to real-world internships remotely with multinational companies in Europe and South America.
Marketing major Kaylin LeCroy got a taste of international business during the spring semester interning for an Argentinian company while working from campus and her home in Clemson.
Located in Mendoza, Argentina, The Vines of Mendoza is a luxury resort and spa that also offers its customers a private vineyard ownership program. Members can buy space in the vineyards and be involved in every aspect of creating their own wines, from harvesting to fermenting and bottling their product.
“I’ve worked as an in-person intern with PRISMA Health for two summers and without question the differences are evident between the in-person and online experience,” Kaylin said. “Because there were no set work hours, I’d often work into the evening, and building relationships was very different as our team meetings were only held weekly. Regardless, our team was fantastic, and I feel as though the work I’ve completed online is extremely valuable to the company and it was also a fulfilling experience for me.”
Programs like Global Business Virtual + are something the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business would like to grow, according to Gaby Peschiera, the College’s assistant director of global engagement and recent recipient of the Sales Innovation Program’s Innovator of the Month Award.
“For financial reasons, commitments at home or timing during their academic careers, we recognize that not every student can study abroad,” she said. “Opportunities like the Global Business Virtual+ program offers students a chance to gain intercultural competence from home while addressing their individual situations.”
The business students were joined by six studying language and international business in taking advantage of this unique remote internship opportunity spurred by the pandemic. Normally, more than 120 business students would have spent the spring semester studying abroad. But due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, a pivot was necessary to provide students the global awareness needed to excel in 21st century business. While travel will resume eventually, Peschiera and the Global Engagement Team at the College are focusing on more opportunities for students to engage in intercultural opportunities that do not require travel.
As part of the Global Business Virtual+ program, students also took courses in international business management and international marketing through the IESEG School of Management in Paris. They also had a class in cross-cultural awareness for which they will receive a Global Competence Certificate from AFS Intercultural Programs.
“The class allows students to contextualize their experience,” said Peschiera, who taught the course. “It enhances their global experience by offering self-reflection on their understanding of how other cultures operate. They also learn how to manage emotional responses in times of culture clashes, which enables them to bridge those differences effectively.”
Though Kaylin prefers the in-person internship experience, she did benefit from the international business aspect of her marketing role.
“Online, or not, I did gain a global awareness in my work with Mendoza. I learned so much about the company’s culture through conversations and activities,” she said. “The Vines is special because it has a global client base and are able to connect their culture to anyone around the world. I definitely benefited from being a part of the team that helped accomplish that.”
Likewise, marketing major Layne Bartol found her remote internship with the Irish Academy of Public Relations in Dublin a rewarding global experience.
“As a marketing and P.R. intern, I worked directly with the founder and director of the business,” Layne said. “Because the on-site internship wasn’t an option this semester, I was excited to get my global experience remotely and be able to interact with my international peers. It was one of the best experiences and I’m extremely happy I was able to participate in the program.”
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