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Just Do It, say International Business Dual Degree Program Students

Vidisha Purandare, a freshman in NC State’s Poole College of Management, is among the 14 Poole College students in the International Business Dual Degree (IBDD) program this semester, completing their first two years at their home university.

Purandare and several other IBDD students responded to an email interview with Poole College communications for this story about their experiences in the program.

Purandare, who is majoring in business administration with plans to concentrate in marketing, will complete the last two years of her undergraduate studies in the IBDD Spanish track at the Universidad Pontifica Comillas’ ICADE Business School, where she will take her classes in Spanish and have a six-month internship. She will graduate with two degrees: one from NC State Poole College and one from the Universidad Pontifica Comillas.

Antonia (Toni) Kalusche is one of 16 fourth-year IBDD students, attending the NC State Poole College of Management for the last half of their undergraduate studies. Now a senior, she completed her first two years at her home university – EBS in Germany, Poole College’s partner university in the German track of the IBDD program.

At Poole College, she is majoring in business administration with a concentration in finance – and is also enrolled in Poole College’s Business Analytics Honors Program. She is on track to graduate in May 2020 with two bachelor’s degrees: one from NC State University Poole College and one from her home university.

Kalusche said she selected the IBBD option “because I thought it was a very interesting program that would provide me with unique experiences and opportunities. I always knew that I wanted to live and work internationally at some point, so I knew this program would be perfect for me.”

She has been taking business courses, especially finance and analytics, in both countries. “I selected the program because it is unique in providing extreme exposure to international experiences through the two countries and professional work experience through two internships.”

Her first internship was at Porsche in Stuttgart, Germany. “I did my internship there in event management, which encompassed planning, preparing and executing events that Porsche carries out as marketing activities,” she said.

“My second internship, in the U.S., was in New York City at a boutique consulting firm called Vivaldi. My tasks there included hands-on support on consulting projects, including data analysis, preparing client documentations and research. I have gained very valuable insights into all kinds of different industries and fields through my internships,” she said, as well as an understanding “of what direction I want my career to go,” she said.

Kalusche also participated in extracurricular activities at both universities. At EBS in Germany, that included “being part of the cheerleading team and participating in sports and student events,” she said. At Poole College, she joined the NC State chapter of Consult Your Community, a non-profit student consultancy. “Last fall, I also participated in a volunteer project as part of an Alternative Service Break organized by NC State’s Leadership and Civic Engagement office.

“During the semester, I always try to travel a lot and experience new things, specifically now in the U.S.,” she said. “Last fall, for example, I was able to visit places like Washington, D.C.; Boston; New York City; Orlando, Florida; and Philadelphia, and to experience the unique flair each city individually has,” she said. These experiences have enabled her to meet new people and “to be inspired. It is really great to get out of your comfort zone and expand your horizon,” she said.

Harrison Fleming, a Poole College student with a finance concentration, is completing his senior year at the Universidad Pontificia Comillas (ICADE) in Madrid, Spain, in the Spanish track.

“I chose to participate in this IBDD because I have always wanted to become fluent in the Spanish language, and I wanted to develop a more worldly view. I knew that I could achieve both goals with this program,” he said.

“This experience is like no other: I have had the opportunity to perfect my Spanish through complete immersion in classes at the university, with my Spanish roommates, and, currently, in my internship.

“Also, I have traveled to many great places, such as Morocco, Ibiza, and various cities throughout Spain,” Fleming said, noting that he also plans to travel to Scotland, Italy, Ireland, and Germany. “This program has improved my Spanish-speaking skills more than I ever would have imagined and, more importantly, it has placed me in a fantastic position for future success.

Like all the IBDD students, Fleming is participating in an internship. “I am currently working at a financial consulting firm called Omega IGF, located in Madrid, Spain,” he said. In his six-month internship – from June to December – he is working as a strategy consultant, analyzing quantitative data from Bloomberg and Reuters software, and inputting the data into spreadsheets for the firm’s customers.

“For anyone who is considering this program, I will tell you it is the opportunity of a lifetime and you will achieve more than you have ever thought possible … the opportunities are endless,” Fleming said.

Bastien Bequet, who is majoring in business administration with a probable concentration in finance, completed his first two years in France at the NEOMA Business School, as well as a six-month internship as assistant to the financial director of Trianon Palace Versailles, a hotel in France that is part of Hilton.

“It was very interesting and I can’t wait to do my internship in the USA,” he said.

Bequet is now completing his final two years at Poole College, and expects to graduate in 2021. He chose the IBDD program because, he said, “I wanted to have an international experience, to spend a lot of time abroad, and the opportunity to get a double degree is awesome.”

The classroom experience was one of his key takeaways thus far. “The academic experience is very special because you go to two different countries, you will find two different ways of learning and working, and this is going to strengthen you,” he said.

Also, meeting and traveling with people in your host country “is great, since they know the country better than you,” he said. “The internship is a very good way to conclude your chapter abroad,” he said. “After studying, you learn to work in a different country and this is very interesting.”

Maria Torre Nunez completed the first two years of her business administration bachelor’s degree program in her home country, through the IBBD Program at the Universidad Pontificia Comillas in Madrid, Spain, and expects to graduate in 2021, after completing her two years at Poole College.

“I have always wanted to study abroad, specifically in the U.S., so when I found out about this opportunity, I knew that I had to give it a chance. I always thought that it would be an amazing experience but once that I got to live it, I realized it is even better than what I could have ever imagined,” she said.

“We get to study in two countries, in two languages. We get two degrees and realize two internships (one in each country). We get involved in a new culture, which allows us to open our minds and know more about the world. And, we get to meet awesome people from all around the world, that may or may not have the same tastes as we do, but that also want to explore the world, get out of their comfort zone and are willing to make the world a better place,” she said.

Asked about differences between her home university and her time at NC State Poole College, she said, “One of the things that really caught my attention was the huge amount of people that are in a class at the U.S.,” she said, noting her surprise to find about 350 students when entering the Nelson Hall Auditorium for the first time, for one of her classes there.

“I was not used to that, as in Spain we had 60 maximum per class. It is a different way of learning and we have to pay attention due to the fact that we can miss a lot of information if we are not focused because of the size of it. However, the teachers have microphones and are always available to help us and repeat whatever we have missed,” she said.

She also noted the range of opportunities available at NC State, including “thousands of clubs, work on campus, programs that develop your skills, such as the Leadership Development Certificate Program,” and opportunities to take music lessons, be part of a musical or choir, join a fraternity or a sports team.

“All of this helps us to grow professionally, meet people with the same tastes as ours, have fun, keep learning in a fun environment and feeling a little bit more like home,” she said.

Nunez had completed a two-month internship in her hometown of Madrid before coming to NC State, working with Blue in its programmatic advertising department. “It was a really amazing experience and I learned a lot about online marketing and how all the display advertisements work,” she said.

“To anyone considering this program. I would just say GO AHEAD AND DO IT! I am 100 percent sure you will not regret making this choice because you will meet people that will make you feel like you are at home, you will learn more than you could have ever imagined and you will have the time of your life.

“Just remember that not everybody gets to get two degrees in two countries with two internships. I am sure you agree with me in that professionally, this is a really good launch of your career,” Nunez said.

This post was originally published in Poole College of Management News.