College of Arts and Humanities

Cultivating Connections: Annual conference spotlights German investment in Mexico, provides students with potential job opportunities


It was yet another successful German and Spanish in International Business and Engineering Conference this February, with 150 Clemson University students funneling through the Hendrix Student Center ballrooms for networking opportunities, panel discussions and a job fair.

BMW Principal Lecturer of German Lee Ferrell is the lead organizer and founder of the event, which has been going on for 13 years. This year’s conference on February 14 focused on German companies investing in Mexico. Ferrell added that the guest speaker list might have been the most impressive to date.

Lee Ferrell speaks from a podium inside the Hendrix Student Center.
BMW Principal Lecturer of German Lee Ferrell has been the lead organizer and founder of the German and Spanish in International Business and Engineering Conference for more than 13 years.

It included an opening address from Deputy Consul General of Mexico Miguel Antonio Cuesta Zarco and the Department for Economic Affairs of the Mexican Embassy Francisco Sandoval Saqui. Francisco Quiroga, the Mexican Ambassador to Germany, participated in a panel discussion with the heads of German companies Röchling Automotive and Dräxlmaier Automotive Group.

The conference featured other esteemed companies, including Baier and Michels, BMW Manufacturing Company, Häring Precision, Kautex Textron, I.K. Hofmann, Rolls Royce, SEW Eurodrive and SWJ Technology.

“I was impressed,” Ferrell said of the visitors. “The general reaction I’ve picked up from students is they didn’t realize the relationship of Germany not just to our region, but what’s going on in Mexico. For many of them, this is the first time they’ve heard of this. It’s an opportunity for them to connect with companies.”

The conference was organized by the German and Spanish programs and co-sponsored by the Department of Languages in the College of Arts and Humanities and the Department of Management in the Wilbur O. and Ann Powers College of Business.

Senior language and international business major Isabella Flanders was a student co-organizer this year. Ferrell said students are heavily involved in hosting the conference, designing the day’s program and moderating discussion panels among other responsibilities.

“This event serves as a catalyst for forging invaluable connections, exploring trending industries, and creating collaborative opportunities across borders. While this was my first year attending, this experience enriched my understanding of global business practices and also provided a platform to cultivate lasting professional relationships with world-renowned corporations and fellow Clemson students.”

Sophomore finance major Jonathan Steiger helped as a graphic designer and was grateful for the networking opportunities.

“The conference opened doors to various career opportunities and facilitated invaluable networking interactions with many companies,” he said. “Exploring the theme of German investments in Mexico proved to be an enriching learning experience, offering insights into an unfamiliar area.”

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