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Myths and Misconceptions 101: Global Consulting Project

Monday, September 25 2017 12:00am

What you think you know about OHIO’s Global Consulting Program

By: Amanda Byrd

Each year Ohio University’s Global Consulting Program (GCP) sends students to countries around the world. The students are paired with peers from international universities and work with companies to complete a consulting project. Colin Gabler, director of GCP, emphasized that this program is, “not your average study abroad program. It focuses less on teaching and more on doing.”

There are several myths and misconceptions about studying abroad, so we sat down with several GCP students, who recently returned from around the globe, to put these rumors to rest.

Myth 1: “Study abroad costs too much.”

Students often think they can’t afford to study abroad. Colleen Allen, OHIO junior who traveled to Greece, said, “Financial assistance is out there for students who want to be a part of this experience. You just need to put in the work to find scholarships and other financial resources.”

Don’t let money be the only thing standing in your way of a once in a lifetime opportunity! There are numerous  resources available for students who put in the time and effort. Contact Denver Miller, associate executive director of the Center for International Business at dmiller@ohio.edu to learn about these opportunities.

Myth 2: “Study abroad is just a paid vacation.”

FALSE. Nicole Mauder, College of Business junior who traveled to Italy, stated, “My GCP experience was far from a paid vacation. I spent many hours in the library working with my team to complete our consulting project for an Italian chocolate company.”

Each GCP alumni noted that while you do have ample time to immerse yourself in a foreign culture, you must put in many hours of work to ensure you’re providing the best business solutions for your client. Gabler noted: “The students who optimize the experience are those who maintain a healthy balance. We want the trip to be fun—and it will be—but you have to put in the work. Students are ambassadors of Ohio University and it’s their chance to show the world what kind of place this is.”

Myth 3: “I don’t speak the language, so I can’t go.”

Many students fear that the language barrier will be an issue when they travel abroad. The GCP program prepares students with a mandatory spring prep-course, which focuses on learning ‘travel language’, which includes common phrases to help with things like ordering at a restaurant, buying a train ticket, and making professional introductions with a client.

“I ended up learning around 25 Greek phrases and the course definitely made me more comfortable with tackling the language barrier,” said Colleen Allen.

Megan Katchmer, a China GCP alumni, added that, “The language barrier can be intense, and not speaking Chinese made it hard to get around the city at times. However, I learned to communicate nonverbally and by pointing to objects.”

You might not be an expert in a language, but the program will prepare you for a cultural experience that takes you outside of your comfort zone.

Myth 4: “The GCP is just another class, it won’t impact my future or career.”

International experience is a huge asset and one that GCP students can leverage on resumes, in interviews, and when talking with professionals. Emily Davis, a junior sport management and international business student who traveled to Germany, explained the impact that the trip had on her future.

“I’m hoping to work with an international sports company one day. On my GCP trip I had the opportunity to help come up with a business solution for Adidas, and was able to get a firsthand experience of what my future may look like soon,” she said.

Very few college graduates have international consulting experience. Gabler and other faculty will make sure that this trip is a highlight on your resume and helps you showcase the experience to get the job that you really want.

Myth 5: “GCP is just for College of Business students.” 

GCP is not just for College of Business students. It’s open to ALL undergraduate students! It’s great practical experience that can be applied to any industry. Students are engaged in cross-cultural teams and will undoubtedly come back with a better understanding of international business and relationships. In fact, Gabler recommends students from across the university apply to the program: “The more diverse the students backgrounds, the more each team brings to the table. That leads to more creative client solutions and a more enriching experience for everyone involved.”

If interested, students can apply for GCP at business.ohio.edu/gcp.