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Ohio University Global Consulting Program allows students to create business solutions in more than eight countries

Tuesday, August 7 2018 12:00pm

The Global Consulting Program teaches students soft skills such as research, creativity and team work.

By Meghan Morris

The Global Consulting Program (GCP) is a specialized study abroad program for Business Bobcats that provides opportunities to put business skills to the test in cross-cultural environments.

Through GCP, students work on consulting teams to solve complex business problems for foreign companies. The experience has given alumni an extra boost when transitioning into the workforce.

There are eight international locations to choose from for GCP, one during the winter and seven during the summer, with each experience lasting several weeks. However, not all places are offered every year. The program satisfies the global perspectives and internship requirements at the College of Business.

Alumnus Daniel Hemming (‘16), a financial analyst at Dell, participated in GCP in Greece. He worked for Leroy Merlin, which he characterizes as the “Home Depot of Europe,” where his team was tasked with improving customer experience by surveying customers and analyzing the results.

“Distributing the surveys was really difficult because of the language barrier,” Hemming said. “If you’ve ever shopped in Walmart and someone asks you to take a quick survey, it’s a little difficult. Imagine doing that when you don’t even speak the same language.”

Hemming said GCP made him more comfortable working with people from different cultural backgrounds and in unfamiliar environments.

“During my internship, I was on conference calls with people in Singapore or Ireland,” he said. “I’m just a kid from southern Ohio. If I just stayed in my own bubble, I wouldn’t have had those different experiences. GCP really helped me broaden my horizons.”

Alumna Amanda Browning (‘13), staff auditor at Ernst & Young, worked for a private security start-up company while in Nicaragua for GCP in 2013. Universities and housing complexes would often hire external security firms because of concerns about police integrity.

The co-owners wanted a solid marketing strategy that helped them tell more people about the service at low cost. Social media platforms, including Facebook, were crucial in the students’ proposed solution.

“I was one of the youngest students on the trip,” Browning said. “I had not gone through the business cluster at that point. This was my first experience on a real group project.”

In working with Nicaraguan students, she found that they had a more relaxed work style than U.S. students. Browning appreciated getting exposure to a different pace of work when collaborating with others.

In her current position at Ernst & Young, she now collaborates with sub auditors in foreign countries. Time differences pose special challenges when everyone’s working on her firm’s deadline.

“Within the culture of E&Y, the expectation is that you ultimately perform your task and get the job done,” Browning said. “It just takes a lot of collaboration and communication.”

John Finizio, head of project management at TruSight, went to Spain for GCP in 2000. He worked for a governmental agency that wanted to utilize the online strategies to create better hiring strategies. He learned interpersonal skills and how to make recommendations connect with client needs.

Since participating in GCP, Finizio has traveled to Canada, India and the Philippines for work purposes. However, he said the U.S. houses many different cultures as well.

“Even within the U.S., I had to take cues from different cultures,” Finizio said. “You should accommodate your client based on what they care about, what they’re used to, what their customs and norms are. Getting cultural exposure at that young age, was eye-opener. It truly helped me in my career."

Colin Gabler, an assistant professor of marketing, said GCP gives graduates plenty of ammunition during job interviews that makes them stick out among other candidates. GCP participants can tell stories that demonstrate leadership, creativity, adaptability, and professionalism.

"I am proud that we equip our GCP alumni with skills and experiences that they can leverage to obtain better jobs because, at the end of the day, my goal is to help my students not just while they're here at OHIO but through graduation and beyond," he said.

Learn more about the Global Consulting Program.