Ellora Majumder and Kyle Madura may not have felt like pioneers, but when COVID-19 turned their sure-fire summer global internships upside down, the Fisher students were certainly in unfamiliar territory. 

Majumder was slated to travel to Singapore and Madura was looking forward to experiencing business, politics and life in London when Ohio State suspended international travel for students. Not wanting to miss out on an opportunity for a global experience, the students were among eight who pivoted to virtual summer internships, a new program launched in April 2020 through Fisher’s Office of Global Business. 

Ellora Majumder
Ellora Majumder

Working from her home in Columbus, Majumder spent the summer as a market research and analysis intern for Pink Mask, an Argentinian-based nail product company. As the company’s only U.S.-based team member, Majumder’s role and responsibilities during the two-month internship grew to include far more than researching markets and competitors. She was eventually tasked with laying the groundwork for Pink Mask’s entry into the U.S. market.  

“They weren’t familiar with the popular nail brands in the U.S., how American customers shopped and how to reach them,” said Majumder, a fourth-year logistics student. “My work eventually shifted to social media where I built the company’s entire Instagram presence. I ran Facebook advertising, helped adapt the website content to appeal to a U.S. market and worked with influencers to build more brand awareness.” 

In just two months, Majumder increased the number of Pink Mask’s Instagram followers from 45 to more than 1,000. She also created a Pinterest board for the company’s products, an idea that hadn’t been raised by its Argentina-based team. 

Madura, meanwhile, was busy blending his passion for consulting and politics as a statistics consultant for Tonal Media, a digital advertising group in Argentina. From his home outside of Chicago, he compiled, analyzed and interpreted data from social media platforms to better understand and gauge popular sentiment for public officials in the country.  

“I have an interest in comparative politics and discovering how parts of different political systems from around the world work,” he said. “This was a great experience with social listening and data analysis. The greatest part of it was that I was still able to do a global internship and get experience working in a country that’s in the same time zone as me. Argentina’s always been a country that has fascinated me.” 

Kyle Madura
Kyle Madura

The third-year finance and political science student gained valuable insights during his brief time as a political consultant — insights that he plans to use as a professional. 

“In consulting, communication with the client is extremely important and needs to be navigated with a lot of skill. Through this internship, I've seen that firsthand,” Madura said. “I've learned how to build proper relationships with clients and how to go above and beyond as a consultant by creating things the client may not have asked for but that they might need. In my case, it's been a few extra tools that further illustrate the data we're presenting.” 

Joyce Steffan, senior director of Fisher’s Office of Global Business, said the feedback about virtual internships from students and company partners has been overwhelmingly positive. 

“We’ve heard directly from our partners in Argentina who couldn’t be happier with the outcomes delivered by their interns,” Steffan said. “The companies tracked the impact that these virtual interns had during the summer and, in many cases, were able to show direct and applicable benefits — whether it was cost savings, new ideas or new markets — because of the virtual program.” 

“But more importantly, we’re elated to hear our students found real value in their virtual experience as an alternative to an in-country experience. Offering virtual internships in the future will most likely enable more students to participate who may not have had the funding or opportunity to actually travel.” 

Majumder was one such student. Although she wasn’t able to walk the streets and hear the language being spoken every day, there were virtual opportunities to learn the Argentinian culture from her colleagues. Among them:  

  • the casual dynamics between employees and their supervisors 

  • Argentinian punctuality (“If you are late to a meeting in the U.S., it’s rude,” Majumder said. “If you’re late in Argentina it’s not rude. In fact, most are late. I was always the first to log on to our Zoom calls!”) 

  • national holidays  

  • and the significance of an Argentinian tea called maté. 

“At the beginning of the internship I had my doubts that I was not really going to get global experience because I'd be working remotely,” she said. “But I can say that I definitely was able to get a global aspect from this internship. Every internship is what you make of it, regardless if it's in person or virtual.”  

“Through this internship, it’s been fulfilling to be trusted to come up with my own ideas, implement them and see them at work. The fact that an experience like this has also helped me become better at time and project management, communication and flexibility is only going to help in an increasingly virtual world.” 

At the beginning of the internship I had my doubts that I was not really going to get global experience because I'd be working remotely. But I can say that I definitely was able to get a global aspect from this internship.

Ellora MajumderLogistics student