Spring 2016 Black School of Business International Business Newsletter

Spring 2016 Black School of Business International Business Newsletter

Spring 2016 International Business Newsletter
Penn State Behrend, Black School of Business


In this Issue...

Student Spotlight

Faculty Spotlight

The Impact of Involvement


Welcome to the International Business Spring 2016 Newsletter!

In this edition of the newsletter, our senior spotlight is LaTisha Perry. She has been an IB major since her first year and has had several international study experiences beginning with a high school Rotary exchange experience in Italy. She not only has returned to Italy but added Brazil and many other countries in Europe and South America to the list of places she's visited.

Alexa Haverly, a sophomore majoring in IB and Management Information Systems, is also featured. She has spent time in Argentina, Uruguay, and Cuba. She also visited one of my favorite spots, Iguazu Falls, at the intersection of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay.

Aruna Venkataraman wrote about her study abroad experience in England. She traveled and truly enjoyed the experience. Project and Supply Chain Management is Venkataraman's second major.

In the alumni spotlight is Amyelia Payne ’15 who spent the fall semester in Spain. She is a dual major in IB and Interdisciplinary Business with Engineering Studies. Payne has been a great advocate and role model for the program.

Dr. Jessica Zhao, associate professor of finance, is the disciplinary leader for International Business and the point of contact for all IB advising. All IB students should meet with Dr. Zhao in her office at some time during their academic career. Other articles of interest in this newsletter include the addition of Heather Yahn to the Black School of Business, hired to develop a professional development program; a recap of Dr. Jessica Piney's Cuba embedded trip; notes from Ruth Pflueger, director of the Learning Resource Center; and a streamlined advising sheet. Also, the International Business Club reports on their activities in this academic year, and highlights its officers.

Watch for information on the program review recently conducted!Diane Parente

—Dr. Diane Parente
Samuel A. and Elizabeth B. Breene professor of management and program chair for International Business


Message from the Department Chair – Dr. Diane Parente

Penn State Behrend is the only location to offer the International Business major. We are currently streamlining the advising process and communicating that to students and faculty. Since IB requires a second major, we have introduced a process whereby once the student determines their second major, they are assigned to an adviser who is skilled in advising both majors.


Student Spotlight

LaTisha PerryLaTisha Perry

I will graduate in May with dual majors in International Business and Marketing. I chose to major in International Business because it was the major that best related to the direction of my future career path. I wanted a career that involved business abroad due to the fact that the world is rapidly becoming more connected. Along with International Business, I chose Marketing because this particular segment of business better defines the specific interests that I have.

When dealing with marketing, I find market research, product marketing, and the strategies involved in the marketing process to be interesting. Having the knowledge of effective marketing strategies is very useful in all businesses because every company deals with some type of marketing. By having a background in both international business and marketing, I have a competitive edge that could be a useful asset for a wide variety of industries.

I have been asked if working abroad and being in an environment I am not familiar is something that I would be OK with. For me, working abroad or working for an organization that works directly with companies abroad would be exciting. I am very keen on different cultures, language, and experiencing places outside of my comfort zone. Some people have no interest in leaving their home country and would be miserable if they had to relocate. Others would see it as an adventure. In my opinion, it’s a learning experience. No matter where you are, there will be things that you like and things that you don’t. It is just something you have to adjust to and work your way through in order to find success and happiness.

In addition, working abroad would not be a problem for me due to my past experiences that I have been able to have overseas. I have been very fortunate with my travels in the last few years. For the duration of my senior year of high school, I was a foreign exchange student in Bergamo, Italy, through Rotary International Youth Exchange. This experience shaped me. It was from that point on that I have not stopped traveling.

At college, I was eager to spend time abroad again. I applied for a study abroad program in Florence, Italy, and spent a semester there. When I came home, the process started over again. I applied for a study abroad program in Brazil, then South America. Upon my return, I felt the need to go abroad once again.

However, I couldn’t quite fit a whole semester abroad into my schedule, so I participated in an embedded study abroad in Cuba over the duration of spring break. In between my study abroad programs, I have traveled to Spain, France, Greece, Morocco, Belgium, Ireland, England, the Netherlands, Colombia, Canada, Mexico, and the Bahamas. My experiences have been more than interesting and educational; they have also been life changing. I can’t thank Penn State Behrend enough for working with universities abroad and allowing me to have these opportunities and experiences.

With only one week left until I graduate, I'm nervous about completing my undergraduate degree. I am currently debating between graduate schools or pursuing a career.

For other students majoring in International Business, my advice would be to put yourself out there from the earliest point possible in your undergraduate academic career. It is crucial to stay on top of your GPA from an early stage and to differentiate yourself in terms of your education and your experiences. Differentiation could involve internships, organizations, or study abroad experiences. I would recommend that students get as involved as possible to stand out among the competition. This advice is easy to overlook but don’t let yourself fall short to the best of your ability.

As Marva Collins, education activist, once said, “Success doesn’t come to you, you go to it.”


Alexa Haverly

Alexa HaverlyI am currently a sophomore studying International Business and Management Information Systems with a minor in Spanish. I am also in the process of becoming certified in Oracle and SAP.

Last summer, I participated in IES Abroad, an organization that connects students to premier student aboard programs, through Penn State Behrend and spent six weeks in Buenos Aires, Argentina. While there, I took classes in international Business and Spanish. I lived with a host family and had great opportunities to learn and practice my Spanish. I also was able to travel to Iguazu Falls, Mendoza, and Uruguay. This was an amazing experience and I highly encourage students to take advantage of the study abroad opportunities offered. Also, this spring, I took Intro to International Studies, which focused on Cuban art and culture. The entire class traveled to Havana, Cuba, over spring break. This was an educational trip in which we learned about different aspects of Cuban culture, art, film, and music. We had the opportunity to speak with Cuban scholars about the future of Cuba and U.S. and Cuban relations. It was an eye-opening experience, which makes me more appreciative of our democracy in the United States.

I strongly believe that education does not just occur in the classroom. I have learned so much from my trips abroad. I plan to do another study abroad in Spain next year and I hope to find a job that will allow me to travel extensively. I hope to use my skills in management information systems and business to find work abroad. Ideally, I would love to find a job that would allow me to live in a foreign country for a few years after graduation. After gaining a few years' work experience, I would like to go to graduate school.

My advice for students who want to major in International Business is to take advantage of the study abroad programs offered by Penn State Behrend, particularly the programs that put you with host families, so you can truly be immersed in a different culture. I also recommend getting involved in various clubs and programs on campus, such as Delta Sigma Pi, and the International Business Club.


Aruna Venkataraman

Aruna VenkataramanI studied abroad in Brighton, England, during the summer of 2015. I took courses at University of Sussex. I chose the program by getting information from the Learning Resource Center and selecting multiple programs that I was interested in. The summer program in England was for two months. I took an international business course and also did an independent research project. The experience was very interesting and hands-on. England had fantastic sights within the country, which you can get to within one to four hours by car or train. The places I visited included London, Bath, Stonehenge, Oxford, Windsor, and Cambridge. My personal favorite was Bath, because of the historical sights and the windy weather. Studying abroad is a wonderful experience to have before graduating. Students can have the opportunity to live in a new country and adapt to a different education system. They also can have the benefit of developing personal skills both culturally and socially. When majoring in International Business, a foreign exchange program is very important. 


Amyelia Payne ‘15

Amyelia PayneAs a graduate of the class of 2015, it is crazy to think that my college years are already over. Looking back, however, I wouldn't have changed a thing. I graduated with Bachelor of Science degrees in International Business and Interdisciplinary Business with Engineering Studies. While I was at Penn State Behrend, I narrowed my interdisciplinary focus to operations and supply chain management while also becoming certified in SAP, which is a type of enterprise resource planning system commonly used across many industries. Though my time at Behrend undoubtedly prepared me for the road ahead, it was actually my study abroad experience in Barcelona, Spain, that taught me many things about international business that I could never have learned in a classroom. One of the many notable aspects of the IB program at Behrend is that you must study abroad in order to complete this major, which is an experience that prepares you for much more than a career after college.

Having a degree in International Business has helped me stand out among my peers in my job search. An understanding of global business trends in addition to cultural awareness is an invaluable skill that will follow me through my entire career. I will be starting a new job in May with Thermo Fisher Scientific in the Operations Leadership Development Program. Though I chose to begin my career in a technical role, I know that my IB degree will be crucial as I progress with an international company that is recognized across the globe.

My advice to any student wishing to major in International Business is to study abroad for a semester. Though there are several different options to complete the study abroad requirement, such as an embedded class or a shortened trip, nothing compares to four months of traveling, studying, eating, and learning in a foreign country. Whether you want to learn a new language, complete an internship, or gain a new perspective on business and politics, there is nothing more valuable or life-changing than an entire semester outside of your comfort zone.


Faculty Spotlight


Dr. Jessica Zhao, Associate Professor of Finance

Jessica Zhao

I completed my undergraduate studies in English for Science and Technology from Tian Jin University in China, and then worked for Sino-Petrochemical Company for two years before I decided to go to graduate school. From my work experience, I became interested in international business and then decided to earn my master's degree at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics. I worked for a CPA firm for one year after I graduated. I earned my Ph.D. in Finance at the University at Buffalo.

I have been working at Penn State Behrend for almost twelve years now. I teach international finance courses, both residential and through World Campus, and financial management courses for the iMBA program. For the past five years, I return to China for a month or two in the summer. Every time that I go back, I learn something new and exciting. Every year there seems to be a new theme or trend in China. For example, e-commerce, or internet shopping, greatly increased in popularity in 2014. China became the largest iPhone market for Apple in 2015. In that same year, Uber become highly popular. From these experiences, it is important to note that the world is changing very quickly and it is a global market today.

It is exciting to share these experiences with the students in my international finance class.

As an International Business major, you learn how to think globally about the business world. You also learn how to manage multinational businesses and turn local and national companies into international success stories. As a disciplinary leader for the International Business major, here is my advice to the students who are interested in majoring in International Business:

  • You need to have a foreign language to the third level or competency as attested by a designated examiner.
  • You need to have an international experience either via an embedded course or a study abroad experience for a semester or summer.
  • You need to have a concurrent major. Choices include Accounting, Business Economics, Finance, IBE, MIS, Marketing, and PSCM.
  • You must declare your second major by early in your fifth semester. You need to have a variable number of International (IL) Cultures courses.
  • Regarding your international experience, contact Ruth Pflueger at rcpl@psu.edu as early as possible. She has sessions twice a week, which you must attend before setting up a trip abroad.



Heather Yahn

The Black School of Business Increases Global Awareness with New Staff Member: Heather Yahn​

FastCompany.com recently highlighted the top skills it takes to get hired in Eight Career Skills You Need to be Competitive in 2016. The top three may surprise you.

  1. Ability to manage a diverse environment.
  2. Knowledge of other cultures.
  3. A global mindset.

As we prepare students for the future workplace, cultural agility is a skill we must develop. This is not just for students interested in majoring in International Business. Larger companies have a multi-cultural workforce.

Cultural competence is a skill that requires us to work outside our comfort zone, to take risks, to make mistakes, to challenge our own perspective.

We are fortunate here in the Black of School Business to have developed relationships with international universities to provide study abroad and international internships for our students. We have more than seventy students representing seventeen countries, plus a diverse faculty. We have the opportunity to create culturally agile professionals ready for the future. We do not necessarily have to travel to other countries to gain cultural awareness, we can do so by engaging with students and faculty right here at the Black School of Business.

Real cultural engagement does not happen by osmosis. There must to an effort to bridge the gap. We know how to teach about the global economic trends, financial markets, and marketing tools. We need to develop a deep curiosity about the world around us while understanding cultural differences and an acceptance of those who are different than us.

Heather Yahn has joined the Black School of Business to create a professional development program for students in global awareness and cultural competency. Heather has an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering from the United States Military Academy at West Point, and an M.B.A. from the Black School of Business. She is a certified project manager and has worked on international projects in the energy sector and on local architectural projects including the UPMC Hamot Women’s Hospital, the Erie Insurance parking deck, and the Erie Insurance Technical Learning Center.


Students Travel to Cuba for Embedded Study Abroad Program

Students in Cuba

Jessica Piney, lecturer in Spanish, led a study abroad program to Cuba over spring break. It was an amazing experience. We left from Toronto since flights from the United States to Cuba are limited. We stayed in the Hotel Bella Habana, which was a culture shock to everyone. During our class discussions prior to the trip, we learned that the country had a 1960’s feel based on their older cars, non-materialistic society, and the architecture of their buildings. Although we had prepared ourselves for this cultural difference, we were still surprised when we arrived.

While in Cuba, we had lectures from Cuban scholars on topics such as Jose Marti, Cuban musical rhythms, and the U.S. and Cuban relations. We also went to the Quisiquaba Community Service Project, Proyecto Fuster, University of Havana, the Film School in San Antonio de los Banos, Varadero Beach, and other cultural highlights. We visited a local Cuban market, where we purchased Cuban cigars, paintings, and other products. We talked with native Cubans and learned about their lifestyles. We were most astonished with their limited freedom. For instance, there is very limited Internet access, they have not been allowed to send or receive mail to and from the U.S., food is rationed, and everyone receives equal pay. These differences create a unique culture. Though it was shocking to us, the people seem happy. They have learned to be very thrifty and often rely on ingenuity to fix their older cars and other possessions. It was an honor to be among the first U.S. citizens who have been allowed to visit Cuba and we will all be interested in the changes that occur in Cuba now that the U.S. embargo on Cuba is being lifted.

By Alexa Haverly


The Importance of Studying AbroadStudy Abroad

Since even small companies are doing business globally these days, having studied abroad is a big plus in the job market. So, faculty within the college and university have developed partnerships with universities overseas to provide quality, affordable study-abroad programs. Students from every undergraduate major in the Black School of Business have studied abroad. Penn State Behrend business students have taken business courses taught in English in twenty-five different countries from Europe to Asia to Latin America.

But a résumé is only part of the story. As one International Business major who studied in Marburg, Germany, put it, “My semester abroad allowed me to live and explore on my own and with many new lifelong friends from all over the world and helped me shape my future professional career after college.”

Information about study abroad programs, scholarships, and costs is available through the Learning Resource Center.


International Business Student Checklist

Interested in International Business?

  • Designate International Business as your first freshman major preference.
  • Make an appointment to see an International Business adviser listed below. You should do this early in your college career.

Decided on International Business

  • Designate International Business as your Freshman Major Preference 1
    • Make an appointment to see Dr. Jessica Zhao by emailing her at xuz12@psu.edu or visiting Burke 256.
  • Declare your second major after being admitted to the International Business major.
    • A concurrent major form needs to be completed. This should be done as soon as you are in major, but no later than early sixth semester.
    • One of the following advisers will be assigned to you based on your second major:

Unique Requirements

  • Foreign Language – Third level proficiency or competency attested to by a designated examiner
    • Option 1 – successfully complete twelve units in a language
    • Option 2 – participate in a competency exam
      • Upon successful completion of the exam, the exemption form must be filed at the Black School of Business office and added to your academic file.
      • The form will be forwarded to Andy Herrera, Dr. Sarah Whitney, and Dr. Soledad Traverso for verification.
      • Periodically review your transcript for notation of exemption.
      • Note: An exemption will fulfill the requirement of a language. However, you are still responsible for fifteen units of study within the language and non-business IL Cultures designated courses.

International Experience

  • See Ruth Pflueger, director of the Learning Resource Center, about your plans for any international experience(s)

    • You are required to attend her informational sessions (held twice weekly) before you make arrangements for your trip.
    • What type of experience are you scheduling?
    • Semester? Example: fall semester in Germany
    • Class with an embedded trip? Example: Italian 130 (Italian culture and civilization) with a week-long trip over spring break or INST 100 (Introduction to International Studies) with a weeklong trip over spring break
    • Is your program approved through University Park?
    • What courses are you scheduling?
      • What degree requirements will those courses satisfy?
      • Are they a direct equivalent to Penn State units?
        • If yes, no further action is necessary. Please note that having a course such as IB 399count as “credits” does not mean that it will fill a degree requirement.
      • If no, the program chair will need to review the syllabus to decide potential course substitutions.
    • Please do not do any foreign study without a written statement from the program chair regarding substitutions. Otherwise, you are risking the possibility that the courses taken, even if they are Penn State equivalent, may not provide progress toward your degree.

Variable number of International (IL) Cultures units

  • This is dependent on the Language Requirement:
    • If a student has eight units of a language, then seven units of non-business IL Cultures units are required.
    • If a student has competency for a language, or zero units, fifteen units of non-business IL Cultures units are required.

Second Major Requirements:

  • Accounting–25 units
  • Business Economics–21 units or Economics–36 units
  • Finance–22 units
  • Interdisciplinary Business with Engineering Studies–unit requirements for major are met
  • Management Information Systems–27 to 28 units
  • Marketing–21 units
  • Project and Supply Chain Management–24 units

Words of Advice

  • Schedule time to see your adviser at least twice a semester, especially prior to course registration for the following semester to make sure that you are making academic progress. There are specific timetables that must be met.
  • Run degree audits frequently to confirm academic progress, especially at the beginning of the fifth semester and the end of the seventh semester, in order to find and fix any errors due to transfer or miscategorized units.


News from the Penn State Behrend International Business Club

The Penn State Behrend International Business Club was rekindled this year. The club has welcomed several speakers to talk to the club and have started to collaborate with other business clubs and the Multicultural Council (MCC). At their first meeting, Dr. William Johnson, associate professor of management, talked about his international experience in China. Their second meeting featured a student panel talking about their study abroad experiences. The panel included Alexa Haverly, Aruna Venkataraman, LaTisha Perry, and Brandyn Shank. President of the club, Ariana Gloeckner, moderated the panel by asking questions about their experiences abroad. At the last meeting, they elected LaTisha Perry as the new secretary and welcomed first-year student Riya Anand to be the head of the newly created Fundraising and Special Events Committee.International Club 2

International Club Meeting With the new members, the International Business Club started strong in the spring semester. At their first meeting, they welcomed Dr. Diane Parente, Samuel A. and Elizabeth B. Black professor of management and program chair for International Business, and Dr. Shin Kwon, assistant professor of accounting.

On February 11, the International Business Club partnered with the MCC on a Valentine’s Day event which included club speed dating where members sat and talked with people from other clubs to learn about their organizations. The International Business Club and the MCC are planning to host more events in the future.



Meet the Officers of the International Business Club

Ariana GloecknerAriana Gloeckner, president

I am a junior with a dual major in International Business and Accounting, as well as a minor in Spanish. I did my study abroad last year in Spain and I fell in love with the country and their culture. My husband and I now have dreams of starting a business abroad. We are planning a trip to Germany next summer. We will use that opportunity to travel around Europe and learn more about the different cultures.


Aruna Venkataraman

Aruna Venkataraman, vice-president

I am a junior with a dual major in International Business and Project and Supply Chain Management. I chose International Business because I have a great interest in traveling and understanding different cultures. I am currently taking Spanish as one of my required languages for the International Business major and I enjoy learning about the culture of Spanish-speaking countries. I hope to visit more places around the world and gather an understanding of more cultures.


Joe Calabro

Joe Calabro, treasurer

I am a senior majoring in Accounting and International Business. I studied abroad in Spain in 2015 through Penn State Behrend. I spent spring break there and it was one of the best experiences of my life. I would recommend it to anyone. In addition to Spain, I have traveled to Germany, Italy, and Australia.


LaTisha Perry

LaTisha Perry, secretary

I am a senior with a dual major in International Business and Marketing. I love traveling and I have been able to participate in three study abroad programs through Penn State Behrend. I studied in Italy, Brazil, and Cuba. I really enjoy being a part of the International Business Club and hope to see it continue to grow in the future.


Aiya Anand

Riya Anand, chair of the Fundraising and Special Events Committee

I am a first-year student majoring in International Business and Project Supply Chain Management. I am the chair of the Fundraising and Special Events Committee for the International Business Club. I hope to study abroad and travel to countries all over the world, including Spain, Japan, and England. Aside from the International Business Club, I am also involved with The Behrend Beacon and the Lion Entertainment Board.



Over the summer, think about what you will be doing next summer or semester. Where do you want to go?

In the Black School of Business, we want to prepare our students to thrive in the global business environment, whether it is working for an international company or in a multi-cultural setting.

Cultural agility is ranked as a top ten skill required by managers in all areas of business.

There is no better way to gain this experience than to take advantage of the Study Abroad opportunities available at Penn State Behrend.

Why Study Abroad?

  • Prepare yourself for the global business environment
  • Expand your academic background
  • Accelerate your personal growth
  • Increase your career opportunities

Programs range from ten days to a whole year. Foreign language is not required.


What are you waiting for? Start Exploring NOW. It takes time to plan.

Visit the Study Abroad website and attend one of the Learning Resource Center’s Study Abroad Information Sessions.


Get Involved

Students: Attending just one (or ten) club event(s) per semester can change your path 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.