These days, it seems that every company that recruits at Ohio State is looking for some sort of international experience. Through the Fisher Student Exchange Program I have not only gained that point on my resume, but have been inspired by both the company presence on-campus and the diverse group of business students.
Though before I go into my topic for today, I wanted to give a quick update on my travels and life here. The latter part of the first quarter was extremely fun for me, partly due to the fact that I began to meet and spend time with the German students here at WHU.
For me this made a huge difference, as I now feel much more integrated here. There have even been situations, from figuring out my mail to needing to call Deutsche Bahn (German train company) using German, where I was able to recruit some of my kind German friends to help me. And besides some of my technical difficulties, I have also had some fun opportunities for cultural exchange through food. A month ago I was able to share my love of Cincinnati Skyline Chili by making a batch for some friends (it was the consequence of losing a bet in kicker, aka Football, but definitely a fun one at that!), and later I was invited to make crepes with a few other students.
I have had so many more wonderful adventures since when I last posted! I have been fortunate enough to experience Euromasters (a huge sporting event with business schools across Europe) here at WHU and travel to Prague, Munich for Oktoberfest, Amsterdam, and London with my fellow tauschies. A few weeks ago, my parents came and visited me at WHU, and at the end of the week I met them in Bacharach to accompany them during the rest of their trip. We have several friends here in Germany so we were able to visit them in Stuttgart, Dresden, and Berlin. Along the way we also stopped by Rothenburg and Nürnberg. The timing of my parents’ visit worked out perfectly, due to the fact that in their second week here I actually had a break in classes.
Alright, now that you’re all caught up I can move to the main point of my entry for today. Thus far, you have heard a lot about the awesome friends and travels here in Germany. But WHU is a highly esteemed business school as well, so I have also had some awesome class experiences and opportunities for professional development!
A unique aspect of WHU that I have been able to take part in here at WHU are company presentations. Just about every week a different company comes and offers a presentation and networking dinner. Many of these presentations are in German, but I was able to attend the Oliver Wyman (a consulting firm) company presentation which was in English. During the networking dinner I had conversations with representatives from the company (many of them being graduates of WHU) and I enjoyed how casual and honest the conversations seemed. Often times I find these sort of networking encounters to be quite scripted, but when it comes to events at WHU it’s not at all the case.
To be honest, consulting was not something I seriously considered before coming to WHU. I didn’t completely understand what that profession even looked like. But due to the fact that a large percentage of WHU students enter that sector after graduation, there is a huge consulting firm presence on campus and I have been able to learn so much more about the field. Through talking to firms at both company presentations and the career fair I started to realize that it might be a great fit for me. I enjoy fast-paced environments, finding solutions for others, networking, and am an extremely curious person when it comes to both people and industries. I’m now quite excited about the idea, and it’s amazing to think that had I not gone abroad for a semester at WHU, I may not have explored this option. It may be due to the fact that I’ve stepped back a bit from my normal life in the US allowing more space to think about what I actually want after graduation, or simply because there’s a huge push towards consulting here, but either way I’m very pleased about this! Even though I’m away from Ohio State, I still interviewed and was accepted to the Fisher Emerging Consultants class next semester, and am excited to continue exploring this option.
Beyond the university-sanctioned events, attending an exclusively business institution also has its benefits. I thoroughly enjoy the fact that Ohio State has a plethora of majors available, with that comes such a diverse student population in terms of talents and perspectives. But there’s also something to be said for WHU, where you can talk about business internships, aspirations, and issues with everyone you meet. There’s certainly a unique drive and ambitious character to WHU students when it comes to business. Never before had I been in a room with 4 other young college students, speculating over dinner about the future of the labor market as digitization improves. To be around these students is truly inspiring! Additionally, the tauschie population is comprised of business students from top-notched schools around the globe, so there’s such a diverse set of backgrounds and business perspectives represented. It’s safe to say that my network has become much larger and more international while abroad!
I’ve definitely been able to travel and have a ton of fun while abroad. That’s to be expected, but my time here is becoming much more valuable than simply bragging rights due to places I’ve traveled and something to stick on my resume, hoping that companies will see that I have an “international perspective”. I’ve become a better leader, much more flexible, open-minded, yet confident in expressing my own opinions. I truly have learned so much so far, both personally and professionally!