International Tour Gives Students an Inside Look at Corporations and Careers

July 24, 2012

An intensive two-week tour held in May 2012 gave 10 MSU College of Engineering and Eli Broad College of Business students a firsthand look at international corporations and the global marketplace. Stops on the International Corporate Tour (ICT) included BP (Sunbury, UK), Alcoa (Birmingham, UK), Whirlpool (Comerio, Italy), Alpine Convention (Bolzano-Bozen, Italy), Bosch Corporation (Stuttgart, Germany), Eaton Corporation (Rastatt, Germany), and Rampa (Hamburg, Germany).

Along with unique perspectives into their organizations, host employers engaged students in project simulations. Examples included “The Trading Game,” presented by BP in Sunbury, England; lunch on the factory floor at Rampa—an MSU alumni-owned engineering firm that manufactures screws, inserts, and other fasteners; and problem solving with representatives of the Alpine Convention, which is an agreement between various countries for the protection and sustainable development of the Alpine Region.

“The students embraced the opportunity to understand other cultures from both a social perspective and a corporate perspective,” says Bernadette Friedrich, director of student engagement for the MSU College of Engineering’s Center for Spartan Engineering. “They saw companies that they are familiar with in an unfamiliar environment and learned that even large corporations have to prepare for and react to local culture while having a global presence.”

Not only did the students benefit from the tour, which is in its first year, but several companies on the tour expressed an interest in working with the College of Engineering and Eli Broad College of Business to provide internship opportunities for MSU students, both domestically and internationally.

Participants were selected based on not having been abroad before; having a solid GPA (at least a 3.0); being involved in extracurricular activities; and balancing a work/school schedule. Five College of Engineering students participated in the tour, including Brittany Heatherington, mechanical engineering; Erin Hoffman, computer science; Alexa Jones, biosystems engineering; Angelica Minisalli, electrical engineering; and Sara Mozdrzech, civil engineering.

The ICT was coordinated and led by the Center for Spartan Engineering and the Lear Career Center.