Spring 2018 International Business Newsletter

In this issue:


The International Business major is going places. We are working on many activities including programs at Trippe Hall for both residents and non-residents.

The major will undergo revision during the next academic year.

We have formed an international faculty group including:

  • Dr. Chris Harben, assistant teaching professor of management
  • Dr. William Johnson, associate professor of management
  • Dr. Hyunwoo Lim, assistant professor of marketing
  • Dr. Ken Louie, associate professor of economics
  • Dr. Diane Parente, Samuel A. and Elizabeth B. Breen Professor of Business
  • Dr. Val Vlad, assistant professor of economics
  • Dr. Jessica Zhao, professor of finance

In this edition of the newsletter, we highlight Annalie Fitzgibbon, Aloise Kunschert, Craig Miranda, Ethan Moody, Aimee Ozarchuk, and Dr. Mark Owens, assistant professor of economics.

There are several changes within the International Business major.

First, there have been numerous changes in course evaluations. Students who go abroad should remember the following: The University has issued new requirements for course substitution. If a course has not been adjudicated previously, it will take some time to process through the system. As an example, language courses that transfer as, say 399, must have the syllabus reviewed by the Global Language department chair. All such courses must be reviewed by the appropriate chair. So, have the course reviewed prior to traveling and keep all documentation – including your syllabus.

Dr. Severine Patanakul, global programs coordinator, is fully on board in the Black School of Business. She is available to assist with international internships. Please be sure to reach out to her at [email protected].

Ruth Pflueger, director of the Learning Resource Center, is the initial contact for study abroad. Contact her at [email protected].

We have added IB 303 Introduction to International Business. It provides a solid baseline to international business and includes management, marketing, economics, trade theory, and logistics. It is an IL course. Our new faculty member, Dr. Chris Harben, assistant teaching professor of management, is teaching the course from an experiential perspective. It is a good foundation no matter what your major is. He can be contacted at [email protected].

Dr. Mark Owens, assistant professor of economics, continues in the role of discipline lead. Feel free to contact him at [email protected].

Items to note:

A consultation with me before going abroad or transferring courses is highly recommended. While courses may transfer and give you credit, they may not count toward degree progress. You may contact me at [email protected].

—Dr. Parente

About the IB club

The International Business Club underwent a complete overhaul and effectively restarted this academic year. It recruited new members, elected officers, and held regular meetings. On March 28, the IB Club hosted Mike Ross, president of ACLA USA. He talked about his vast experience in international business and project supply chain management in his time working for Steris, Ferguson, and CMI. Now that the IB Club has reestablished itself, the club is making plans to host more events in the fall in conjunction with the Global Boarders program and the opening of Trippe Hall.

—Dr. Mark Owens, IB Club adviser

Student Spotlights

Alois Kunschert

Alois Kunschert

My name is Alois Kunschert. I am an MBA and Engineering (similar to IBE) graduate student at Rosenheim University of Applied Sciences in Germany. I was born and raised in South Africa but moved to Rosenheim when I was twelve. I like traveling, sports, and meeting new people.

What are your thoughts on Behrend? What do you like?

I love it. It’s a great campus, and I feel very fortunate to be here. The campus is modern, and the professors are very good. I also really like the plastics lab I get to do work in and am learning a lot. The students are also super friendly, and there are a lot of activities for people to do here.

What do you think about America?

America is a great country. The people are very friendly, and it is easy to have a little small talk chat with everyone. It was definitely my first choice for my exchange, and I am surprised that a lot of clichés from the movies on TV are true.

What do you miss about home?

I miss my friends and family, but I made many new friends here and am having a great time. I also miss the food a little and not being able to cook. But I wouldn’t trade being here for the world.

How do the programs/facilities here compare to those in Germany?

The programs are a lot more work intensive than in Germany, and I really had to get used to having homework and exams/quizzes every week. I am really impressed by students who work while in college and still find time to get involved in things. The cafeteria is also very different from Germany, where it is more common to have around four different meals to pick from.

What advice would you give to future exchange students?

I would suggest finding a local friend to show you around. It is always good having someone that is from the place because I see a lot of international students sticking together instead of truly experiencing the country and people. It’s also good to make a “to do” list and work to do everything on there. With that, one will never get bored.

What do Rosenheim and Behrend have in common?

There are a few things they have in common. They are both about the same size and located in a great area (Rosenheim being near the mountains and Erie near the lake). The weather is similar, though I think the winters here are worse. They are both close to nice places one can visit (Cleveland, Toronto, Pittsburgh, New York, Philadelphia or Munich, Salzburg, Prague, Berlin, Vienna, etc.). The cost of living (outside university) is similar as well.

Annalie Fitzgibbon

Annalie Fitzgibbon

I studied for one semester abroad at Rosenheim University of Applied Sciences in Germany. They have their semesters at different times of the year than we do. Instead of the typical spring semester, I will be attending their summer semester that takes place March 15 - July 31.

How did you get involved?

Dr. Ihab Ragai, assistant professor of engineering, started the program for engineering students and is also my professor for Machine Design. He approached me a few weeks into the semester about the option and worked with my adviser, Jonathan Meckley, to fit this into my academic plan.

What are your biggest concerns?

Because I am a senior, it’s hard to schedule courses that will count toward degree progress since I already took so many courses. All that is right for me to take are core classes. I would have to go to school one extra semester because of certain classes are only offered in the spring. Deciding to study abroad is something you should try to do before your senior year if you can!

What motivated you to get involved in the program?

Even with the realization that I would have to go to school a semester longer than originally anticipated, this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance. I will never have an opportunity like this again. The biggest motivation for me was knowing that if I didn't try to do everything I could to make this work, I would regret it.

What are you most excited for?

I am most excited about the small proximity of countries in Europe. I can get on a train and in a few hours, be in a different country. I can't wait to travel! I want to be able to go to as many different countries as I can while studying abroad.

What are you most nervous about?

I am definitely most nervous about traveling alone. I think I will grow a lot from it, but I am also anticipating some anxiety.

Briefly explain your knowledge of the culture prior to going over.

I was fortunate enough to travel to Germany, and even to Rosenheim, in October. Plastics Engineering Technology majors get this opportunity in their senior year. I think I will experience less of a culture shock because of it. There are also other students at Behrend who have gone to Rosenheim and have answered any question I've thrown their way. This definitely helps!

Aimee Ozarchuk

Aimee Ozarchuk

What internship did you have?

I interned at the packaging technology department at Krones AG, which is headquartered in Neutraubling, Germany.

How did you get your internship?

I utilized Behrend’s previous connections with Krones AG in Rosenheim. From there, I interviewed and accepted my job.

What was your typical workday like?

The workday was similar to a traditional 9-5 work day in America. The biggest difference was the flexibility. I was able to tailor my start and end time based on outside-of-work activities. This made the work day more relaxing and comfortable. I was able to travel more and explore the area without being bound to a tight forty-hour work week. Also, lunch and breaks throughout the day were much more relaxing. Very few workers ate at their desk, most took a long lunch break, which included walking around the area surrounding the facility. Coworkers seemed a lot less stressed and more relaxed compared to traditional American work environments.

How was the culture different?

Aside from the work culture being more relaxed, the community was more traditional and family-oriented. For example, there were a lot of holidays, stores closed mostly around 8:00 p.m., and all businesses aside from restaurants were closed on Sundays. This made time for families and friends to spend time together.

Alumni Spotlights

Craig Miranda ’17

Craig Miranda

What was your major?

Management Information Systems.

Where was your internship?

Dubai, U.A.E.

How did you get this internship?

Submitting my resume, and through networking.

What tasks did you do at the company?

Worked with the security operations center, the managed security services department, as well as the analytical team. I learned about the multiple cybersecurity products the organization offered as well as achieving thirteen certificates while I was with the organization. I also played a part in a couple coding projects and worked on designing a framework.

What advice do you have for students looking to intern abroad?

The corporate environment is key to personal success. Find an organization that does not promote political wrangling and you will find in it an organization that will nurture and positively unleash your talents. Ask yourself if you want to be a big fish in a small pond or a small fish in a big pond. Thus, with smaller organizations your talent can be spotted early and your growth and opportunity can be unparalleled and unabated.

What motivated you to get this internship?

My passion for cybersecurity. The passion for the domain I am pursuing, as well as the need to understand how one can transition their academics into productivity through an organization.

What were the positives and negatives about your experience?

A positive side is having a willing receptive mind that can align very well into corporate life. The negative side is to start all over again in terms of networking and creating relationships while navigating through the political organization.

Ethan Moody '17

Ethan Moody

My internship was with Siemens in Munich, Germany. Dr. Filbeck, professor of finance, assisted me with my internship search and helped get my resume to his contacts in Germany. As part of the Global Services Information Technology Business Administration division at Siemens, my team was responsible for the global view of all Siemens IT costs. We performed analytical reviews of functional costs and were in close contact with the IT, finance, and business management departments. We were also in charge of management reporting and defining and designing controlling and governance processes.

My advice to those that are interested in interning abroad is make personal connections with your professors. Make yourself stand out in class, go above and beyond on assignments and exams, and be ambitious. Professors will take notice of this and be more willing to invest in you and help you out with finding opportunities. It can often be difficult to find international internships, so having a professor as a resource is very beneficial. Make yourself noticed!

I was motivated to get this internship because I was late getting into the finance program at Behrend and knew I needed to complete an internship in order to be competitive when searching for a full-time job upon graduation. As soon as I got an offer from Siemens, I never looked back.

The only negative issue I had while abroad was missing my family and friends. But I knew I would grow tremendously from my experience, and I was right. My time away from my comfort zone allowed me to learn how to depend on myself entirely, which really helped me grow as an individual. Interning in a foreign country really allowed me to develop my problem-solving skills and I think I could adapt to far more situations now than before I went to Germany.

Faculty Spotlight

Dr. Mark Owens, associate professor of economics

Mark Owens

Dr. Owens obtained both his Ph.D. and master’s in economics at Ohio State University and completed his undergraduate degree in economics with minors in mathematics and psychology at Saint Vincent College. Prior to joining the Penn State Behrend faculty, he worked at Middle Tennessee State University for ten years. At MTSU he taught Ph.D. courses and served in many supervisory roles including as the director of graduate programs in economics, faculty adviser to the undergraduate economics club, and as a dissertation and honors thesis committee chair for student research projects.

Dr. Owens’s primary research interests are in experimental and behavioral economics. He has published research on a wide range of topics including racial discrimination in markets, competition between churches for members, and behavioral impacts from changes in the minimum wage. He is currently investigating consumers’ price sensitivity toward charitable contributions of Girl Scout cookies, the impact of tax incentives for movie filming locations, the behavioral influences of college football coaches fourth-down decisions, and other topics.

What is your favorite part about being a professor?

I like having the freedom to be able to think about questions that are interesting to me and to share my thoughts with students with the hope that they find something interesting to pursue. I have a strongly held belief in the value of an interdisciplinary approach to answering important questions that I hope to transfer to my students.

What advice would you offer students just starting their college career at Behrend?

Get involved on campus. Talk to your professors about things that may not be related to class. Follow your interests, even if they do not seem to be related to your major field of study. Do something academically that makes your experience different from everyone else, like pursuing an international business degree!

Trippe Hall

Welcome the newest addition to Penn State Behrend, Trippe Hall. The $28.4 million residence hall will open in the fall of 2018 and hold 251 beds. The hall will feature modern double-occupancy rooms, a large community hall on each floor and study lounges in each wing. Amenities aside, the most exciting feature for students is the integrated Global Boarders community. Kelly Shrout, associate director of student affairs, said, “The Global Boarders program was created by the Black School of Business, the Office of Educational Equity and Diversity, and the Office of Residence Life to create a community open to experiencing cultural differences. This program offers opportunities to reflect and grow to appreciate those differences. This is a great opportunity for students who want to immerse themselves in various opportunities to prepare for a vocation in our global community.”

The community is focused on international students, International Business majors, and prospective study-abroad students. Inside the hall will be an international faculty member office, to assist and encourage students to study abroad. International Business faculty and advisers will have office hours at Trippe. There will also be space for international clubs to hold meetings and programs throughout the year geared towards encouraging students to be more involved in international community on campus. The facilities like the community room, kitchen, and study lounges give residents an area to come together. Mike Linder, director of Housing and Food Services, said, “Trippe Hall will have an open kitchen accessible to all of the residents and group gathering spaces that will allow for student interaction and cultural understanding through the preparation of food.” These programs will help incoming international students adjust to the environment on campus. It will also strengthen the relationship between current international students and interested domestic students. The combination of the programs and living space will better prepare students to become global leaders. Perhaps the greatest benefit of the space is the effect it will have on Behrend. The communal environment created in Trippe Hall will improve international awareness and make students more prepared for living in a diverse world. Those students interested in becoming a part of the Global Boarders community can apply online through the Black School of Business at behrend.psu.edu/globalboarders.