Spring 2015 Black School of Business International Business Newsletter

Spring 2015 Black School of Business International Business Newsletter

Spring 2015 International Business Newsletter 
Black School of Business, Penn State Behrend  


In this Issue

International Experiences

Faculty Spotlight

The Impact of Involvement

Mark Your Calendars


International Business as a MajorDiane Parente, International Business department chair

The International Business (IB) major is designed to provide students with a sound understanding of international business principles and the languages and cultures of other regions that are essential for success in today's global economy. Students in this major are challenged to think globally and to develop an awareness of the cultural, political, and economic aspects of business.

Jessica Zhao, International Business disciplinary leader

In addition to studying the core business courses, students in this major will receive a broad exposure to the complexity of international business through required course work in international business, international culture, foreign language, and a study abroad experience.

Students who major in IB must declare another major as their concurrent major. The choices of concurrent major include Accounting, Business Economics, Finance, Marketing, Management Information System, Project and Supply Chain Management, and Interdisciplinary Business with Engineering Studies. These functional business skills are important for initial career placement and emphasized more in the early stages of business careers. Career opportunities for IB graduates are numerous and wide-ranging. IB professionals are in demand by firms in any industry that has world-wide business dealings. Job duties typically involve the concurrent major in function with international opportunities in manufacturing, sales, multinational corporations, financial analysts for foreign exchange, government, and international agencies.

There is one key point in becoming an IB major: Plan early so you don’t miss any opportunities to experience an "international" Experience. If you consider majoring in International Business, schedule a meeting with your advisor and a study abroad session (see Mrs. Pflueger’s description on page 8). First-year students benefit from an early decision to pursue the major.




Kayla FranklinKayla Franklin

My original educational aspiration was to double major in Business and Psychology, but after taking a psychology course in high school, I realized that combination was not right for me. Still very interested in business, the following semester, I took a dual enrollment course at a local college in international business and instantly fell in love with the subject matter. I'm not sure if it was the passion of my professor or the course content, but my decision was soon solidified. The more classes that I took in the subject area, the more I began to realize how passionate I was about international business. I've always enjoyed interacting with different people and cultures, but I never knew how exciting it would be to experience that in a business context. With the International Business major, you are given the opportunity to learn about different cultures and business practices that can help you grow professionally within a company, or even as an individual.

At Penn State Behrend, it is a requirement to select a second major with International Business. I chose Marketing because I was still able to learn and enjoy certain aspects of psychology that I loved, while applying it in a business context. Marketing also allows me to learn and understand consumers and buying trends. The combination of International Business and Marketing allows me to satisfy my never-ending desire for learning, because change is always occurring in both areas and research is required to understand the trends and changes that take place.

Another requirement for the International Business program is that you take a non-business study abroad course. This was one of the best aspects of the program. I have always wanted to travel internationally and this major guaranteed that I would be able to fulfill that desire. I considered many factors as I explored the type of study abroad experience would best fit my desires. One of the biggest factors was cost. I knew that scholarships were available for semester and summer courses, but it still would have been extremely difficult for me to come up with the required funds.

Another factor was time. It wasn't until the end of my sophomore year that I realized that studying abroad was a requirement. This gave me less time to plan financially and academically. Lastly, I also had to consider location in my study abroad plans. I have a relatively strong background in Spanish, so my goal was to travel to a Spanish-speaking country where I could enhance my language skills. I also have a love and passion for the Spanish and Latin American culture, which was another reason why I wanted to go to a Spanish country. With these three considerations in mind, I decided that an embedded course would be the best fit for me. There was an inexpensive option at Penn State Behrend to go to Spain over spring break. Doing the embedded course was one of the best decisions I could have ever made in my academic career.

Going to Spain was absolutely amazing!. I was able to experience the rich and diverse culture of the Spanish culture. Spain is so unique, because it has very modern areas, such as Madrid, the Spanish version of New York. Other cities, such as Toledo, look ancient with castles and forts built within and around the city. Though the study abroad trip was fun and very exciting, it did not come without any challenges. The biggest challenge was getting used to people speaking in another language with which you are only somewhat familiar. It made me a little uncomfortable at times, because even though my understanding of the Spanish language is solid, responding can take a long time for me. I was also embarrassed when I had to take a minute to think about a response. However, this challenge also gave me an insightful takeaway; it reminded me of the importance of communication within different cultures. Though language and culture barriers can be difficult in the world of international business, the barriers can be seen as learning opportunities. Purposefully trying to understand someone who is very different from you can allow you to learn something to help you and/or your business grow. You just have to be willing to learn and be patient in the communication process. This goes back to the reasons why I love International Business: learning, growth, and opportunity.


Aruna VenkataramanAruna Venkataraman

I am currently double majoring in Project and Supply Chain Management and International Business. I chose to major in International Business, because I always had an interest in traveling and seeing the world. I then realized that international business would be a great combination with any business major, since many of the largest companies are now global.

When planning my study abroad in Britain, I chose to do the upcoming summer program rather than doing it for an entire semester or taking an embedded course. One of the major factors that I considered was how the study abroad program would affect my schedule of courses at Behrend. Since I have to take my major level courses during my junior and senior years, it would have been difficult to schedule a study abroad program during those years.

Some other factors I considered were the costs and length of the program. The summer study abroad program was significantly less expensive compared to a full semester. My budget for a study abroad was around $4,000. At the same time, I could also have two full months of experience living in a different country unlike the embedded courses.

My biggest fear in studying abroad this summer is flying alone to a different country, adjusting to a new culture, and experiencing a different education system. Despite these fears, I am very excited about the experience.

This will be my first trip to Britain, and I hope to make the best out of it and enjoy my stay.


Amyelia Payne

Amyelia Payne

As a student studying both International Business and Interdisciplinary Business with Engineering Studies, my career goals are not that of a typical business student.

My future endeavors will include a career utilizing my technical skills in addition to the cultural and business skills developed during my undergraduate studies, specifically during my study abroad experience. As the business world continues to expand, so does the integration of globalization within the industry. I decided to pursue an International Business degree because of my passion for traveling, global business, and culture. I paired this degree with Interdisciplinary Business with Engineering Studies to complement my technical skill set.

I chose to study abroad for a whole semester as opposed to an embedded program to gain as much global exposure as possible. I felt as though an embedded program would not allow me to experience everything I want to in such a short period of time. While traveling abroad to Barcelona, Spain, I hope to gain an understanding of the country’s history and culture.

This semester-long program offers guided trips to Costa Brava, Garrotxa, Granada, Mallorca, Montserrat, Tarragona, and Valencia. Through these trips, I will be given the opportunity to learn about Greek and Roman ruins, explore volcanic terrain, or even spend a day hiking. These trips specifically will introduce me to the deep history, amazing architecture, and ethnic cuisine of the areas visited. These are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that can only be experienced with ample amount of time overseas.

In addition to the guided trips and tours, the location of the center is ideal. The IES Abroad Barcelona Center is located in the center of Barcelona near the Plaza Catalina, which is a perfect the location for exposure to many diverse cultures and the city life of Barcelona.

This semester-long program will also allow me to choose from a variety of area study courses, which will be beneficial to my degree in International Business. The hands-on experience that this program provides paired with the cultural exposure will fulfill my dream to understand and embrace other cultures across the world. Not only does this program align with my personal goals, but also makes me a competitive candidate for many positions within the corporate business world. Throughout my career path, I hope to educate others about the importance of diversity, culture, and global integration both on a personal and corporate level.

The tuition and housing fees total $16,800, but there are also additional costs to be considered, such as flight, textbooks, health insurance, additional travel, etc. With that being said, I am anticipating the overall cost to be around $22,000.

My biggest fear for studying abroad is being away from home for an extended period of time. While I love stepping outside of my comfort zone and trying new things, I know that this will be a very new and challenging experience for me. Like many, I rely heavily on my family for support and advice and I know that not having the constant communication with them during my trip abroad will be quite an adjustment for me.


NicholasNicholas Carbo  Carbo

During the second semester of my first year in college, I realized I wanted to study abroad. The location, however, had yet to be decided. During my third semester, I spoke with Ruth Pflueger, director of the learning resource center at Penn State Behrend. I planned on studying abroad in my sixth semester. That way, I could extend my experience into the summer if I so desired.

I wanted to go to Spain since I had never been there and I already knew Spanish. Mrs. Pflueger told me that I needed to apply to a university in Spain and determine which classes to schedule. This task was a bit of a struggle since I had already taken most of my general education courses and most professors don’t want students to take their major course requirements abroad.

During my fifth semester, I investigated internships in Spain because I still wanted to go abroad, especially after doing so much research into Spain. I specifically wanted to go to Sevilla because it seemed like a beautiful city and one of the only remaining cities where bullfighting is still allowed. I then conducted research about Spain internships. I came across a company called Spain Internships, a third party internship locator for students looking to intern abroad. I sent them my resume and they emailed me with a couple internship opportunities that would suite me. I was interviewed and chose an internship that caught my attention.

I worked at a five-star boutique hotel as the community manager for the hotel, as well as their clubs and restaurants. I went to visit the company over my spring break during my junior year. I met with their small HR department and they seemed very nice. During my summer internship, they provided me with room and board for the entire summer.

Directly below is a view from the top of the hotel at bar/club La Terraza de EME. The best view of the Cathedral in Seville can be seen here.

The top right picture shows my view leaving work every day. The bottom picture shows the office I worked in and the people I worked with. I worked with people from Spain, France, Italy, Romania, England, and Tunisia.

It was a great experience for me and a part of my life that I would never trade.


Madelynn MonteMadelynn Monte

was very lucky to have the opportunity to do an international internship. I lived on the campus of the University of Applied Sciences in Rosenheim, which is located in southern Germany about thirty minutes from Munich.

I started communicating with a professor from the University, who sent my resume to some local companies to see if I would be able to intern with a company in Rosenheim. I got my internship with Krones, a packing and bottling machine manufacturer. I was in their Packaging Technology Department. I spent most of my time working with one packaging machine called the Variopac. This machine packaged finished bottles into cardboard boxes or plastic wrap. I communicated with customers that had existing machines, and worked with them to determine changes or upgrades for the machine. I determined what changes would be necessary, as well as the price.

My time in Germany was truly amazing. I learned so much from being completely immersed in their culture, both business and casual! I also did a lot of traveling around Germany and other European countries while I was there. I traveled to Berlin, Frankfurt, and Munich, Salzburg and Innsbruck in Austria, as well as Amsterdam and The Hague in The Netherlands. I was also lucky enough to be there when Germany won the World Cup! Even though I was only there for seven weeks, I made some great friends and had some unforgettable experiences.



Dr. Bernd Hacker Bernd Hacker

My name is Bernd Hacker and I am currently teaching Accounting at the Black School of Business. I am a visiting professor from the University of Applied Sciences in Rosenheim.

In February 2014, Penn State Behrend, and Rosenheim University of Applied Sciences signed a memorandum of under-standing. In this document the two Universities agreed to collaborate in various areas, including:

  • Student exchange programs
  • Faculty exchange programs
  • Joint research projects and educational programs

Since then, many people on both sides have worked hard to make this agreement mutually beneficial. Right from the start, we were able to arrange internships for Behrend students in Germany. The first intern went to Germany in May 2014. This summer, three more will follow, interning in Munich, Berlin, and Rosenheim. This is a great opportunity for Behrend students to gain international experience in multinational companies.

I was the first to enroll in the faculty exchange program. I started teaching at Behrend in January and will be here until August.

There is not much of a difference between the reasons for a student or a professor to go abroad: It is all about the experience. What is it like in another country? How are the students (I cannot tell much of a difference)? What is the approach to teaching (quite different)?

I am excited to be here and I have learned a lot from the students, from my fellow faculty members and from all the other people that I met at Behrend.

Currently we are working together on making the student exchange program viable. There are several departments in Rosenheim that match Behrend’s schools. We also have a School of Business and a School of Engineering and we also have a School of Business and Engineering. So I see a lot of opportunities for Behrend students to go to Rosenheim. Furthermore, we are exploring more possibilities for internships.

I am confident that this partnership will benefit both schools, and I am looking forward to greeting the first Behrend student at the University of Applied Sciences in Rosenheim.





TOEFL IBT is an acronym that stands for Internet based "test of English as a foreign language." I would suggest including TOEFL IBT type course for international business program students as a required course during their final term of foreign language preparation because I believe students should have some knowledge of that language before starting specific courses.

This is one of the best language courses able to familiarize students with the language in a very effective way. I would like to share my personal experience of perfecting my English skills with the help of TOEFL, which I think is a striking example demonstrating the successfulness of this course. Prior to coming to the United States, I did not have nearly enough skills to effectively communicate in English on an academic setting. Doing general English preparation for some time, and having obtained less than an intermediate level of knowledge, I would feel hopeless at times, thinking I would never reach the level to be able to communicate in English speaking environment with native professors, my peers and others. That’s not to say it’s not important to possess general knowledge of English, i.e. basic vocabulary, tenses, phrasal verbs and what not, but also continuously memorizing grammar rules and learning new words isn’t even nearly enough to carry out a daring initiative of studying in an English speaking country.

So, that’s when I decided to take up TOEFL. This prep course was a perfect tool as it armed me with upgraded knowledge in English in an academic context, prepared me for life on campus, and overall taught everything that an international student needs to know about the climate of American academic institutions. The test consists of four parts, aimed at developing all skills one needs to have to be able to freely communicate in the language: reading, listening, speaking and writing.

Reading passages gave a wide range of complex vocabulary as well as develop logical reasoning and quick orientation skills. Being pressed with time limits, test takers need to answer a range of diverse multiple choice questions about very complex passages taken from academic texts taught in universities in the United States. The listening section consists of conversations, lectures, and discussions that students are required to listen to and then answer multiple choice questions about each passage they hear. Conversations are campus-based situations, usually including a student and a university employee, an academic adviser, librarian, administrative assistant, or a professor. Here, students are introduced to campus life, from dormitories and life with roommates to office hours, professors’ attendance policies, service encounters with university employees and so forth. Students coming from developing countries like mine often do not have any idea about office hours, university shuttle buses, different sport clubs, tutoring sessions through the library or online course catalogues, simply because our national universities’ educational systems significantly differ from what we encounter in the United States.

Almost all of the aforementioned things I learned came from TOEFL listening and speaking exercises. The lectures and discussions in the listening section give another privilege by preparing students to be ready to hear academic lectures in classroom setting and have no problems understanding the topics professors talk about. They prepare students to hear and understand fast academic lectures, get used to pronunciation and so on. Meanwhile, the speaking section of the test trains students to convey meaningful ideas in a very limited amount of time. It consists of six different tasks, the first two being independent tasks asking to talk about personal experience, and the rest integrated tasks ranging from campus-based situations to deep academic topics. Students are mainly asked to synthesize the information they read and heard within 45-60 seconds speaking time. This helps to develop the ability to think in English, as the time pressure is so pressing leaving no place to hesitate, instead of thinking in your language and then trying to translate and convey the answer; TOEFL has no time for this, it is "ruthless," impatient and requires a great amount of focus.

The final writing section is an excellent tool to develop effective writing skills in this language. Test takers are required to write two essays: one in academic context, connecting information in the given reading passage and the lecture by the professor, and the other is an independent essay, where students need to demonstrate vast vocabulary, the ability to make logically connected and comprehensive sentence structures, and usage of grammar and creativity. I can say that practicing these sections over and over greatly developed my skills in this language, allowing me to study and communicate among natives with almost no problem, and most importantly, feel confident.

I should also share the fact that along with TOEFL preparation, I was watching movies in English on a daily basis, which had a considerable contribution to the improvement of my language skills. It was the indispensable part of my learning process, as without movies it would be more difficult to get used to all the complex TOEFL listening passages and other tasks. I learned many daily, commonly used expressions while watching movies, which I could not find in textbooks, but which are frequently used by native speakers. So, I think it would be quite effectual to incorporate movie sessions in language courses as well, as it can have a significant effect on students’ learning. I think it can be very interesting and new for them and thereby increase their motivation to learn and be more proficient in this language. They can watch short sitcom episodes or movie parts, take notes while watching, then do a discussion, exchange their notes, phrases they managed to write down and so on. It’s what I did while preparing for TOEFL; among sessions of learning, I would put on Friends, watch with my sister, and then discuss what I understood and what didn’t. Through our discussions, I learned a great deal of daily English which is crucial in understanding simple conversations with people in this language.

I hope that my story of learning the English language can somehow help other students and have its contribution to the course development for international business program students, because such a course not only is very useful for learning a language but also to great for getting acquainted with the culture of that nation.



Hank Graygo, parent of two daughters at Penn State Behrend

You've been informed that your college student(s) is(are) going to spend some time studying abroad. Your first question is "What do I, as a parent, do?"

Having had both of our daughters overseas at both different times and also at the same time, I can offer you some advice.

First, take a deep breath. Second, get your own passport.

Although it is something you don't want to think about, you may be called to assist your child, and you don't want to go through the emergency application process.

OK, the first two things have been taken care of, so what is next? College students are going to travel. I can speak to both of our girls going to Spain at different times. A Eurorail travel pass is great. It is usually good for 30 days once activated, and allows travel on just about any train in any country and travel to any other country in Western Europe.

Our girls spent a semester at the University of Salamanca in Spain, but traveled through Switzerland, Italy, Germany, Poland, and Great Britain. Those destinations are the travels which they shared with us! You'll probably hear about all the travels, but at later dates.

Traveling today allows for an ease of communication that is much better than back in the ’90's. Emails, Blogs, and phone calls are really quite simple.

The subject of the phone calls focus primarily on requests for more monies in their credit card accounts.

You'll be able to see almost instantly pictures of the sites to which they have traveled.

It may also inspire you to use that passport later, to see some of these sites for yourself

Lindsay, our youngest daughter, did make a collect phone call to us from Switzerland. After all the pleasantries, she said she needed to tell us that "everything was alright." A statement such as this one will result in a surge of adrenaline. "WHAT DO YOU MEAN EVERYTHING IS ALRIGHT?"

She went on to say that there was a package being mailed to the house, and she wanted to call us before it arrived. She said there was nothing wrong, but wouldn't tell us much more. So, we waited for the package.

So much for pumping adrenaline.

You have given your child wings. You have instilled a group of values. Trust your child, trust yourself.

Parents, you’ve done a very good job. Your children are taking you on your next adventure.



Studying abroad is an unforgettable experience that will change the way you think about the world and increase your career opportunities. To find out about programs, scholarships and costs, attend a Study Abroad Information Session. The sessions are held twice a week in Library 201. Check the Learning Resource Center web page for dates and times.

Once you have found a program or programs that interest you, meet with Ruth Pflueger, director of the learning resource center, to review the courses they offer. Next, meet with your academic advisor to choose the best semester to study abroad and courses that will fulfill degree requirements and enhance your major. Take a description of the program, course offerings, and your degree audit to the meeting with your advisor. Once you have chosen your program, Pflueger will guide you through the program and scholarship application processes. After acceptance, have a follow-up meeting with your advisor before scheduling your over-seas courses



International Business is a major that has some unique requirements. These include:

  • A foreign language to the third level or competency as attested by designated examiner
  • An international experience
  • A second major
  • A variable number of IL courses
  • Specific timetables that must be met to insure progress toward the degree

As a result of these unique aspects, we offer the following strong suggestions!

  • You are interested in International Business as a major - See Dr. Zhao (xuz12) or Dr. Parente (dhp3)
  • You have decided on International Business as a major - See Dr. Zhao (xuz12)
  • You have not declared your second major - See Dr. Zhao (xuz12)
  • You have declared your second major - See  Dr. Zhao (xuz12)
  • Your second major is ACCTG - See Dr. Deshmukh (avd1)
  • Your second major is BECON - See Dr. Louie (obr)
  • Your second major is FINANCE - See Dr. Zhao (xuz12)
  • Your second major is MIS - See Dr. Noce (kxn9)
  • Your second major is MKTG - See Mr. Causgrove (djc11)
  • Your second major is PSCM - See Dr. Caliskan-Demirag (ozc1)

Remember that if you are an IB major, there are things you MUST do:

  • You must declare your second major by early in your fifth semester or your registration will be blocked.
  • See Mrs. Ruth Pflueger as early as possible. She has sessions twice per week which must be attended before setting up a trip abroad.
  • You should also see your advisor early and often.
  • You must go through Dr. Xin (Jessica) Zhao, associate professor of finance, first.
  • Do not go abroad or to another institution without prior approval of the Program Chair for courses that may (or may not) count toward your degree.

If you do not obtain prior course and program approval, there is no guarantee that the courses will transfer OR that they will count in your degree audit toward degree completion.



New Plans for International Business ClubAriana Gloeckner

After reorganizing this academic year, the International Business (IB) club is going to be officially reactivated for Fall 2015. The IB club will be led by president, Ariana Gloeckner; vice president, Brandyn Shank; treasurer Joe Calabro; and secretary Aruna Venkataraman. The officers are very excited to gain new members to expand the club. They are eager to make a name for themselves and become established within the business department by working with other business clubs. Gloeckner and the other officers are currently working on ideas for club events and activities, including speakers and special outings. For anyone interested in joining IB club, or would like to see any special events occur, please contact Gloeckner at azg5486@psu.edu. Stay tuned for upcoming fall events!


Get Involved

Students: Attending just one (or 10) club event(s) per semester can change your course and perceptions for a lifetime. Previous event attendees have used the knowledge they gained from one conversation to earn their first interview, get their first job, change their concept of a specific job, or open their eyes to a world of possibilities. Take a deep breath, and walk through the door. You are welcome here.


Alumni and Friends: Your time, experiences, insights, and perspectives are valuable—perhaps more valuable that you know. We want to know what impacted your career, your perspectives, and your life. Tell us through the Black School of Business Facebook page, the newly-created (and growing) Black School of Business LinkedIn group, or by emailing Ariana Gloeckner, newsletter coordinator, at azg5486@psu.edu