SELINSGROVE — Before beginning his senior year at Susquehanna University Owen Madden has been able to complete work internships on three continents.
The Sigmund Weis School of Business student will graduate in May and intends to send his resume around the globe. “I don’t have any boundaries” after working for financial firms in Hong Kong, London and Connecticut, Madden said.
Susquehanna University has been requiring students to study away from campus for at least two weeks through its Global Opportunities (GO) program for several years. The program was expanded last fall to guarantee all business majors an international internship experience, said Dean Matthew Rousu.
Nearly 40 percent of the seniors in the business school have taken advantage of the opportunity to gain work experience in London or Chester, England; Hamburg, Germany; Waikato, New Zealand; or Barcelona, Spain or Singapore.
“It’s life-changing” for the students and unique to the university, Rousu said. “Out of 16,000 business programs worldwide I believe we are the only one that offers it.”
Susquehanna’s GO office coordinates the international internships.
“We know that intercultural competence in and of itself is a skill that many employers seek in their new hires and one that our GO program instills through its unique curriculum,” said Scott Manning, dean of global programs. “Further bolstering our business students with an international internship in their field of study will help them stand out even more as they are entering the workforce.”
The business school has for several years offered students opportunities to intern around the world with the aid of scholarships, including the Eric N. Stein Fund for International Experience. By guaranteeing internships to all, the university is helping students gain valuable global knowledge at a time when it is increasingly important to employers, Rousu said.
“Students must understand other cultures, other environments and other economies,” he said. “For business students, an international internship provides them with a tremendous experience and a major talking point when they’re meeting with prospective employers, setting them up for professional success, whether they accept a job offer overseas or work for a U.S.-based company.”
Stein scholarship recipient Sherri Hufstedler will graduate from SU in May and has already lined up a job as a marketing director at a London technology company where she interned last summer.
“I had a really unique experience,” she said. “I made my interest in becoming an entrepreneur known, and my boss started giving me more work that related to the business end of the company,”
Like Hufstedler, Madden has taken full advantage of the university’s study and work abroad opportunities through internships in Greenwich, Conn., in the summer of 2018, in London for a semester in fall 2018, and at a Hong Kong company last summer.
The experience has helped him hone his communication skills, understanding of the business work environment and his own potential.
“I definitely want to work on a global aspect. It’s pretty hard to gain that perspective in a classroom,” said Madden.