Monday, November 5, 2012

Looking Back on Global Learning Experiences

When I entered college, I knew that I wanted to study business but did not know what I wanted to do.  I remember sitting in the old auditorium of the Taggart Student Center during the first few weeks of college listening to a study abroad presentation from a student who had participated in three study abroad programs.  I thought to myself, wow that is impressive!  I did not realize at the time the impact it would have on me.
Over the course of my freshman year, I decided to study business and I knew that I needed to do something during my time at Utah State to distinguish myself from the thousands of students that would be graduating with business degrees.   Having always had an interest in the global economy, I thought that some kind of international degree would be the differentiator I was looking for.  When the Huntsman School of Business introduced the international business major, I knew it was for me and jumped at the chance to be among the first students with the degree. 
I recognized that if I wanted to work internationally, I needed some international experience.  When the Global Learning Experience program was introduced, I signed right up.  Looking back, this was one of the best choices I made during college. 

The South America program was the gateway into a new way of thinking and seeing the world.  Not only did I get to travel to South America and visit some of the biggest companies in Latin America where I was exposed to a different business culture, but I had fun doing it.  The South America Program was the beginning of a deep love for international business that was nurtured by great faculty and exceptional opportunities.
After the bird’s eye view of many international companies in Latin America, I wanted more.  During fall semester I sought out an internship with BOSCH in Germany for the next summer so I could get more hands on experience in the international business world.  While in Germany, I worked with divisions of BOSCH all over the world.  I loved it.  I came back from that internship with a sharpened business sense, many new skills, an understanding of how to work with people from all over the world, and an increased interest in international business. 
Looking back I can see how those Global Learning Experiences helped prepare me for the global workforce.  I feel that I learned more from the Global Learning Experiences and internships than almost all of my classes combined. Not to say that I didn't learn a lot in my classes, but the knowledge, experience, skills and understanding I gained while participating in these programs provided context for my classwork and prepared me to be effective and successful in the global economy. The Global Learning Experiences truly gave me the competitive advantage I was looking for.
- Josh Kerkmann
Class of 2009

Editor's Note: Josh Kerkmann is an alumnus of the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business who was one of the first to participate in the Global Learning Experience program. He is now a consultant at BSM USA Inc.