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How We Spent The Summer

September  2018

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Huntsman students have been all over the world this summer through internship and study programs, from New York City to Peru to the Philippines. Here are some of the incredible stories from our students.

Benton Smith – Management Information Systems, ‘20

Benton Smith in philippines

This summer I was selected to be a SEED intern in the Philippines. We worked in a city named Pasig, which is in Metro Manila. There were a total of eight interns in my cohort. Six interns were from USU, with the other two coming from BYU. Our group had a diverse range of skill sets. We had students studying typical business majors - Accounting, Finance, Marketing, and MIS - and others studying outside of the business school with majors in Communications and Human Development. 

Most of my experience involved traveling around Pasig to meet with clients and help them develop their businesses. These meetings were unique in every way. A typical meeting with a client would start by getting on a Jeepney to get to the client’s area. A Jeepney is a WWII transport Jeep that has been rebuilt into a public transit vehicle. After a quick Jeepney ride, we would typically jump on a tricycle to get to our client’s business. These tricycles were small motorcycles retrofitted with a sidecar, fitting anywhere from 6-8 passengers. Finally, after these two trips on Manila public transit, we would arrive at our client’s business and start our meeting. My favorite client was a pet shop owner named Gerald. Gerald purchased his pet shop from his mother-in-law after the business had some financial troubles. He rebranded the business and was able to turn it into a profitable business. We helped him start tracking his sales and inventory in Excel and build an employee handbook. I enjoyed my experience with Gerald so much that I still keep in contact with him over Facebook Messenger. 

The two biggest things I learned from SEED were first how to live and work in a different culture and second how to take initiative at work in difficult situations. I had to learn to communicate with nonnative English speakers, how to use a completely foreign transportation system, and how to work in a unique office culture. Almost nothing I did or saw was familiar to me before my internship. Despite all of the things I had to adjust to, I had to get things done at work to help clients. That all took a new kind of initiative that I hadn’t had to use before doing SEED. As I continue to pursue other career opportunities, what I learned in the Philippines will be a great asset to me. Every job will be difficult, every experience will be unique, and every company will have a different culture. SEED helped me be more prepared, and excited, for my next adventure. 

Luke Flynn with an elephant

Luke Flynn – Marketing and International Business, ‘19

This summer, I participated in the Asia Summer Program through the Huntsman School Global Learning Experience Program and had a remarkable experience that supplemented my international business degree. From the program, I was able to learn from top business leaders in Asia, develop new perspectives from diverse cultures, and grow my professional network in Asia. The trip was a great success for my current education and future career.

The program took us to Hanoi, Vietnam; Chang Mai and Bangkok, Thailand; Shenzhen, China; and Hong Kong. In each country we met with large companies and universities where we learned key business insights from CEOs, Deans, and managers. My favorite visits were to the Foreign Trade University (FTU) in Hanoi, and Lumi in Shenzhen. At FTU, I made valuable connections with Vietnamese students and learned more about the cultural differences in education between our two countries. At Lumi, I gained insight in how to operate a startup company and quickly deploy its products worldwide. Both visits have shaped how I see my future in international business.

The program was led by Dr. Quyen Nguyen and Dr. Vijay Kannan, two well-informed professors on the region’s culture, economy, and politics. Both professors taught us valuable business skills throughout the duration of the program. One skill I learned from them that I appreciate the most is how to understand world events and their effect on a business’s region – like Asia. The professors played a big role in making the experience unique and beneficial to all 30 students.

Overall, the experience was life changing and the people we met were incredible teachers of key international business skills. If given the chance to participate in the program again, I would sign up in a heartbeat given the direction and knowledge it has given me for a career in international business.

Rachel Allred in New York

Rachel Allred – Marketing, ‘19

This summer I had the most incredible summer experience at Chubb Insurance in New York City. I was able to work with some amazing people and learn not only about the insurance industry, but also about working in a professional setting. There were many projects that I was involved in that provided me with opportunities to work with people around the world. Working in the international division was incredible, but it also provided me with some learning experiences like having to go into work early or stay late so I could call people who were working around the world.

Being in the New York office was fantastic not only for the location in the city, but also for the access I had to executives in the company. I was able to meet with VPs and other heads-of-divisions that helped give me advice on my future.

Chubb Insurance was a great company to intern with because they truly value what everyone has to offer. I was able to work on market research projects and dive deep into a country’s economic environment and assess the success we would have if we entered that market. It was great to see my hard work then used in presentations to others where I could explain my findings and help my bosses have a better idea of what to do next. I learned that hard work is rewarded and it is always good to keep in contact with your boss or manager and set up meetings with them to check in even if they say they are busy. It helps build a relationship with that person and gives them more opportunities to help you grow.

Brian Adams with worker team

Brian Adams – Finance, ‘19

Ben Haacke and I spent the summer in Lima, Peru, as students in the SEED program. The purpose of the internship during our three months was to aid clients of Mentors International, a non-profit micro-finance organization, to make steps toward self-sufficiency. We worked with an amazing team of workers in the Lima office to find and teach our clients lessons on basic financial literacy and business management, which in turn helped them progress and complete all of the challenges that we extended to them. These people were all owners of their own small business that they used as a form of income for their family. By learning how to keep track of sales, purchases, and expenses they could then understand their profits each month and how to set goals for the future. The most impressive moments came after teaching our clients how to calculate their monthly profits and seeing how it excited them, like when Edith, a small grocery store owner, learned that she was bringing in $250 each month, which was much more than she had imagined. With this information and our help our clients could set goals on how to grow their businesses.

We could see that a huge factor that impedes people in the developing world from escaping poverty is quality education. Our clients were not taught how to think like an organized business owner or even how to be financially disciplined with their personal funds. People took out loans to escape previous debt, which is a suffocating habit that we found to be very common. They would come to live solely off of debt and often could not find a way to get away from it. Consequently, everything we taught them was based on learning how to save money to not only settle debt, but to also make smart purchases for their businesses with savings instead of loans. 

This experience was absolutely incredible for us. Working with business professionals in Peru to help others become financially stable was extremely gratifying and fulfilling. We learned how to work in a professional setting in a different culture and made unforgettable relationships. We were also able to get involved in our local community and made several friends through a variety of fun activities with them. We were even given time to travel and experience amazing places in Peru like Lake Titicaca, Cajamarca, and several historic sites in the Sacred Valley, including Machu Picchu. This experience teaches each student very unique things that help him or her truly progress to the next step in his/her education or career. The impact that we bring to people in impoverished places changes lives for generations to come!