Student Spotlight


IBC features students who have participated in international programs through Kellogg (GIM, Global Exchange, Kellogg corps, etc.) or have had experience working abroad.

Sam Boebel

GIM China, Winter quarter 2017

  • V

  • Trip duration: Ten days mandatory in-country, but we were able to arrive a day early and stay a few days after the official trip ended with classmates
  • What type of research did you do before applying to the program: I knew I wanted to do a trip when I started at Kellogg. I always had an interest in China and wanted to visit, so the GIM Greater China trip worked out perfectly.
  • How did you plan for the trip in terms of course planning and with your job: School-wise, it made the most sense for my to participate in my second year (6th quarter) in the program. At work, I coordinated with my manager and my manager's manager so that my team could support me while I was out for two weeks. We agreed the time difference between China and the US was too great for me to be accessible, so my manager was supportive of me being completely out-of-pocket for the entire two weeks while I was on the trip. Since it was a long trip, I had to plan around me vacation days at work, but it was the right fit for me at that time.
  • What was the pre-trip work like: We had a normal class schedule, although only eight classes total instead of ten, leading up to the trip in which we prepared for the in-country portion of GIM. Classes were Monday nights in Evanston and they were a mix of cultural/historical lessons on China, business and economic insights with focus on US-China relations, and guest lecturers. The main component of the class was a final paper and presentation with a group. As part of the project we had to secure company visits for our project while we were in-country. We secured these by cold calling contacts through LinkedIn and the Kellogg network and we did these ahead of the trip.
  • What was the actual trip like: The trip was great. It was really well planned thanks to our in-country adviser, Shelia. The program planned almost everything for us. Our hotels were nice and had western touches, like a continental breakfast and hotel staff that spoke English. This was helpful for us to make the most of our experience. We visited companies that were pre-planned and ones that our groups planned to complete our projects. The program planned visits with Boeing, Disney, Tencent WeChat, Alibaba, and the US Embassy in Beijing. My group's project focused on the movie industry, so we visited with a movie agent in production and actor representation, a PWC consultant that worked in the movie/studio and production areas of the business, the Dreamworks animation joint venture in Shanghai, and a conference call with an American author who teaches at Peking University. The program also planned some tourist sites for us to visit. We visited a lot of great sites including the Great Wall, Tienanmen Square, and the Forbidden City. We also had a good amount of free time, mostly in the evening. We could go out to eat, explore the city, visit local markets and experience the culture and different cities in China. We were under a high pollution warning while we were there, and while that wasn't great it gave me a different understanding of what happens when these densely populated countries enter into a period of mass commercialiation and how the challenges are real.
  • What was the final GIM deliverable: Final deliverable was a paper and group project, both due after the trip. My group's paper focused on what the best business mdoel is within the movie industry in China. One of the companies we visited, Dreamworks, was the first real Chinese-American equal interest, joint venture business model for movie production. We initially thought that, to be successful in China as an international company you have to partner with Chinese companies to make it. While we were in-country the Dreamworks venture fell apart, so we shifted our focus to the cultural differences between American and Chinese movie industries and the short and long-term ways the industry will evolve, as well as how the sie of the Chinese population is impacting the international movie industry.
  • Who was on the trip with you: 37 students total. Most were full-time students, but there were three of us from the evening program. While eight slots are initially held for registration (four evening and four weekend), our class was on Mondays which made it difficult for weekend students to join.
  • Favorite part: Hong Kong. We hiked one day and got to see and understand truly the density of culture and population. Generally, it was great to interact and build relationships with some many full-time students throughout the trip. We likely wouldn't have met otherwise.
  • Biggest challenge: Everything was pretty smooth in the course and on the trip. One challenge was getting taxis when we were by ourselves, but Hong Kong had Uber which helped.
  • Would you recommend this program to other Kellogg students, and if so, why: 100% recommend. GIM China was a great, well-organied trip that gave us great exposure to living and working in China while also seeing some of the great tourist attractions the country has to offer. Our professor, Damien Ma, was great too. If you're able to go on the trip, it's a great use of one course credit.

Ryan Eckhart

International work experience with Siemens

Company: Siemens

International business experience: I have worked abroad with Siemens twice. The first was within the first year of working at Siemens and was part of an operational excellence program in which I lived in Nuremberg Germany, Siemen’s headquarters, for six months. The second was roughly four years later when an opportunity came up to return to Nuremberg to stay for an extended period of time on a project as the Regional Manager for the Americas.

First experience working abroad: Operational Excellence Program in Nuremberg, Germany: I joined Siemens after undergrad. I was interested in gaining international experience and I knew these opportunities existed with Siemens before I accepted the position. Within my first year working, I went to Nuremberg, Siemens global headquarters, to participate in an operational excellence program working for Siemens U.S. My main role was to learn about Siemens from a global perspective, different capabilities and efficiencies by visiting the different factories, and to bring back learnings to Siemens U.S. The role was English speaking but this part of the company was rooted in German culture and that came to light in professional dealings and experiences.

Takeaways from first international working experience: I brought back a deeper understanding of how business was conducted internationally. The opportunity to work at headquarters gave me perspective to understand the “why” behind asks that we would receive from headquarters at Siemens U.S. From a cultural standpoint, it was interesting to see how the company operated and organized itself in a different office. The German work culture is very hierarchical, and that was something I had to learn how to work with. Understanding the work culture allowed me to sharpen my communication skills to find ways to better interact with upper management in Nuremberg.

Second experience working abroad: Regional manager for the Americas in Nuremberg, Germany: I continued to work at Siemens after returning to the U.S. and about four years later another international opportunity arose. I knew I wanted to go abroad again, so I had to proactively plan and manage to be considered and receive the offer. This role was working for Siemens Germany instead of Siemens U.S., and I was tasked with leveraging business knowledge and networks from the U.S. This role was more multicultural than the first, I worked with people from China, Colombia, Europe, etc. It was still an English speaking role, but had more global exposure. The first time I went I was by myself, but this time my wife came with me, which brought additional challenges but also was a great chance for us to experience this opportunity together.

How did you find the international opportunities: Siemens has a formal process for international opportunities, and like many companies, they are few and far between. I spoke openly with my manager about my desire to go back, but I also ensured performance in my current role was strong and I was in good-standing with the company to demonstrate that I could bring value back if given the opportunity to work abroad. I was also connected to the VP of our team, and through that connection I found my chance. There are roundtable meetings that upper management attends in which open roles are discussed, and my VP heard about the international opportunity in one of these meetings and volunteered my name as a candidate. My individual performance and leveraging the company’s network played key roles in getting selected for the second international opportunity.

Challenges of working abroad: It is a completely different experience to visit a country versus live and work in one. At first, there is a big culture shock. When my wife came with me, there were language barriers and we didn’t know anyone, so it was like starting over. You need to be ready for this, and to be willing to go outside your comfort zone and meet new people, work on your language skills, try new things, etc. The first two to three months were hard, especially for me wife since she was home during the day. However, she put herself out there and ended up creating a spousal group for English speakers that grew tremendously. Within six months, Nuremberg felt like home. I would also advise to not compare your life abroad to the life you know in the U.S. It’s going to be different; there will be some things that are better and some that aren’t, and some will be very similar.

Best things about living and working Germany: Nuremberg is great because it’s a transient city and there are a few other major corporations with headquarters there that pull in people from all areas of the world.

Tips/advice for someone considering an international opportunity: Be prepared to put yourself in uncomfortable situations. In Germany, we were in a great location to travel to lots of places within Europe, but we pushed ourselves to travel elsewhere and to areas we likely would not have visited otherwise. Being able to travel, especially abroad, is a great experience regardless, but we found the best trips were ones that pushed us outside our comfort zones in places like Morocco, the Sahara desert, Bosnia, the Balkans, Israel, etc. These areas were so different than the U.S. and even Europe and we learned so much about ourselves by traveling to these places.

Matt Kowalczyk

GIM India, Winter quarter 2016

  • Trip duration: 2 weeks
  • What type of research did you do before applying to the program: When I started in the Evening and Weekend program, I was very interested in an international trip and Kellogg had great offerings. I attended an information session and GIM was the right amount of time to be on a trip while balancing work and school. I liked this program’s focus on a mix of business aspects and cultural immersions while in-country.
  • What was the pre-trip course like: In the GIM program, students take a full quarter of class leading up to the trip. We met once a week, for ten weeks, in the evening in Evanston leading up to our trip to prepare us. The content focused on Indian history, business and industries, cultural norms that we would encounter in-country, etc. The professor was adjunct and he had great insights and experience in India. Professor Sampath Ramesh grew up in India, worked in the government which is highly prestigious, and was a CEO of a manufacturing company—so he is extremely well-connected and had great experience to share with us. Through Professor Ramesh’s connections, he brought in guest speakers to class to share business and cultural experiences in India. Prior to the trip, India had its presidential election in which a new president was elected. Professor Ramesh gave great insight into how this change was viewed in India and how we would see an optimistic sentiment while we were in-country. When we were in India, we truly saw the optimism Professor talked about in class, and it was great to have the background to understand what was driving the optimism and see it first-hand. GIM also has a class project component, so I started working with my group during the quarter to arrange business visits for our project while we were in-country.
  • What was the actual trip like: The trip was well-planned and very busy, which was great. Since GIM has a quarter of classes leading up to the trip, our time was spent in a number of ways outside a classroom. About 30% of our time was spent going on business visits. Kellogg arranged a number of visits and my group also arranged some that were specific to our class project, which was focused on investments in real estate in India. Another 30% was spent visiting cultural sites. Time was spent in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Agra, so we covered a ton of amazing cultural places on our visit. While we didn’t have classes in our schedule, we used our time going from place to place to debrief and discuss, much like we would in a classroom setting. Traffic in India was really bad, so we had enough time getting from place to place to have great discussions. My group arranged business visits on our own, so we spent another 30% going on those visits. We were able to meet with top-companies in India, like KPMG, Goldman Sachs and Hyatt and meet with higher executives in those companies that were involved in real estate consulting. We leveraged the Kellogg network and name to establish these meetings, and it was amazing to see how the Kellogg brand and network is recognized on an international level. The remaining 10% was free time, which was typically in the evenings.
  • What was the final GIM deliverable: Our class project was the final deliverable for GIM. We gathered a lot of information while in-country. When we got back to the U.S. we had about a week and a half to pull our final presentation for class and our paper together.
  • Who was on the trip with you: There were about 15 students on my trip. I was the only part-time student. There were two JD MBAs and the rest were full-time Kellogg students. One of my goals from GIM was to expand my network and meet people outside my program, so I was pleased that I had a chance to get to know a whole different set of students and make connections that I likely wouldn’t have if I didn’t participate.
  • What companies did you visit: My group organized visits specific to our class project in real estate and investments. There were a number of company visits that the whole group went on that Kellogg planned. We visited the U.S. Embassy in Delhi, GlaxoSmithKline in Mumbai, Northern Trust and Wipro in Bangalore, and a few others.
  • Favorite part: While in-country, it was cool to see how much credence the Kellogg name carries. When our group was reaching out to schedule business visits for our project, we used LinkedIn and it was surprising how many responses we got. Once we were on the scheduled visits, we could see how highly-regarded Kellogg was in India. The businesses we met with were very generous with their time and brought high-ranking executives to meet with us to demonstrate how strong India is in business and how they’re working towards the future. It was cool to see how different business is in India compared to the U.S., and how India is adapting to the international business needs. Northern Trust’s office in India has a lot of outsourced responsibilities, and employees have adapted to fulfill those responsibilities in ways like working overnight, etc. It was such a unique and different perspective that I was grateful to experience in-person.
  • Biggest challenge: When traveling in a large group, whether family or friends, it can be hard to satisfy the wants of everyone on the trip at the same time. Our trip was really busy, so when given the option to explore another cultural site or go back to our hotel for some downtime, it was challenging at times to get everyone on the same page.
  • How do you feel the program helped you with your academic and professional goals: My current role is in a domestic company, but even though I’m not working in an international capacity my GIM experience has helped me professionally. The unique perspective that the trip gave me is invaluable. India is vastly different than the U.S., learning about the culture and the differences between the two changed my perspective on what type of opportunities are available and that there are a great number of ways to make an impact in the world. Throughout my time at Kellogg, the school emphasized the importance of how you make your impact in the world and that sentiment resonated throughout this trip and experience.
  • Would you recommend this program to other Kellogg students, and if so, why: Yes, I would highly recommend this trip. The biggest benefits are the different perspective on culture, perspective on business in a different part of the world and a chance to network and meet other students in different programs. You become really close with the people on your trip, and it’s a unique way to develop lifelong friendships. My advice to anyone debating a trip is why not do it? It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, you get to see a different part of the world and Kellogg plans the majority of it.

Emily Master

Global Exchange  IPADE Business School "Doing business in Mexico", Spring 2017  and Guanghua School of Management "Doing Business in China", Spring 2016

  • Trip duration: IPADE Business School - 1 week, Guanghua School of Management - 2 weeks
  • Number of credits: IPADE Business School - 1 credit, Guanghua School of Management - 1 credit
  • What type of research did you do before applying to the programs: I attended an information session for the Global Exchange program after starting at Kellogg. I knew people in my cohort who participated in global exchange programs and I did my research using the website. The reputation of the host school was important to me and both of these had well-known international schools and the program focus were interesting so that’s how I decided on each. Additionally, I had been in both China and Mexico for work before. It is worth noting that for those that have already participated in one international program that people who have not yet participated in a global exchange program are given priority over those who have already participated. Therefore, getting into a second program can be difficult.
  • How far in advance did you have to start planning in order to make the program work with your course schedule and graduation date: I knew I wanted to take advantage of the international programs during my time at Kellogg. Although I did not get into my first choice second exchange program based on my prior experience and capacity, I found the IPADE Business School Global Exchange in Mexico. This was a more condensed program—shorter time commitment, not as much pre/post work, but still afforded me the opportunity to study internationally. The Mexico trip was short and, therefore, not as robust in comparison to the China exchange program, but it was a good way for me to obtain credits for the quarter in just one week.
  • What were the trips likeGuanghua-this was a well-balanced experience with time spent in three different cities and campuses of Guanghua. There was a nice balance of time spent in the classroom, on site visits and taking in tourist experiences. We were assigned a dedicated Kellogg program manager whom we met with prior to the trip and walked us through trip logistics, made sure we had completed any pre-trip items for our time in China, etc. IPADE Mexico- in comparison to China, this trip was extremely brief. There really was only 4.5 days to complete the same amount of class room time so there was not much opportunity for anything else.
  • Where did you stay during the programsGuanghua - room and board was included in the program cost and we had rooming options we could select. IPADE Mexico- accommodations weren’t included in the program cost, but we were given two prices points for hotels and they were affordable and what we needed for our stay.
  • Who was on the trip with you: There were a few Kellogg part-time students in both the China and Mexico trips. On both trips it was a mix of full-time and part-time students from various MBA programs.
  • Did you have free timeGuanghua -Yes, we had a fair bit of free time in China. We had the most in Beijing, where we spent most of the first week. Since I had visited before for business, I had a list of contacts I wanted to see and visit. I also attended an event hosted by the US Embassy about new regulations for foreign non-profit/non-governmental entities. IPADE Mexico- since the trip was short, we had some free time on a few evenings but majority of the trip was scheduled.
  • Was there any pre-work or preparation: Yes, both had pre-work. We had some case work but nothing beyond a standard Kellogg course. For the China trip, we also met with the program manager before leaving to discuss the trip in detail and to review the visa requirements for entry into China.
  • Favorite part of each program: The terracotta warriors in the China was by far my favorite experience. We were able to visit other places like Tiananmen Square, the Forbidden City, the Great Wall, etc. On the Mexico trip my favorite part was the visit to Teotihuacan!
  • What companies did you visit: Guanghua - we visited mostly Chinese joint-ventures such as Shanghai Volkswagen, Beijing Hyundai. In one instance, we visited the Chinese office of a foreign company, Merck. IPADE Mexico- we visited all Mexican companies: KidZania, Grupo Bimbo and Volaris.
  • Biggest challenge: Both programs had students from all over the world. In both cases, the cohort was mixed (age, language, background, education, etc.) and made the group work more difficult.
  • How do you feel the programs helped you in your academic and professional goals: I’ve always had a global mindset both professionally and personally. I was recently recruited to a more domestic (United States) focused role, which has made me realize I value having a role that is internationally focused and that has helped me think about next steps in my career. Through the experiences in these programs, I feel that I am even more equipped to excel in an international role and look forward to being able to take advantage of what I learned in the international programs.
  • Would you recommend these programs to other Kellogg students, and if so, why or why not: Both experiences have their advantages and disadvantages, but overall I enjoyed both experiences. China was more of a commitment, both financially and time-wise, but the experience was unique. Mexico was an efficient and economical way to get course credit. Both of the programs are a good primer for international markets and I feel prepared to work in either environment coming out of the programs. Personally, I would recommend the Guanghua China exchange trip. The program was more valuable to me because it was in-depth and offered an experience difficult to replicate on one's own.

Natalie Corrado

Global Exchange WHU - Otto Beisheim School of Management, Spring 2017

Natalie also participated in the 2016 GIM program in China & Japan

  • Trip duration: May 16 - 26, 2017 (10 days)
  • Number of credits: 1.5 (15 class sessions while on trip)
  • What type of research did you do before applying to the program: I went on the GIM program in China the year prior and I wanted to take as many opportunities through the international programs as possible. I was entering my last year at Kellogg and I planned for my last quarter to be the Global Exchange program. I knew a few people who went on this program with WHU, including another Kellogg student and my brother, who went to Ross. They all had great things to say and that sold me on the program.
  • How far in advance did you have to start planning in order to make the program work with your course schedule and graduation date: I knew I wanted to maximize my international experiences during my time at Kellogg. I went on the 2016 GIM trip to China, and after returning from that I knew I wanted to do one more before graduating. The applications were due a few months after I returned from GIM, so I had some time to map out the remaining courses and credits I needed for graduation pending my acceptance in the Global Exchange program.
  • What was the trip like: General business in the European Union (E.U.) was the focus of the program. The program was planned in a way that we were exposed to a variety of different industries and companies in our classes as well as some off-campus visits. It provided a unique perspective on differences between how business is conducted in the E.U. versus the United States. Our classes were lecture style format, like what we have in the E&W program, and we discussed startups in the E.U. and how that compared to startups in the United States, navigating banking and dealing with different government rules and regulations, etc. Monday through Friday we were on-campus in WHU in the classroom. We had a few planned day trips that we took and those were a lot of fun. My favorite day trip was the luxury business trip to a local vineyard. Robert Weil Winery. The estate is large and is dedicated solely to Riesling—it was a beautiful location and a wonderful way to learn more about the luxury industry in the EU.
  • Where did you stay during the program: We could select what type of accommodations we wanted—options included individual apartments or group apartments on-campus. I chose to stay in a one bedroom on-campus apartment, it was great to live on-campus, the walk to class was only 10-15 minutes.
  • Did you have free time: Our nights were free so long as we completed any homework or group work. Most of the group work we could finish after class, so we were able to use the evenings to explore the area near campus. Our weekends were also free, so students could plan trips to explore. One weekend I visited some family in the area and the second weekend I joined my fellow Kellogg students for a trip we planned in Zurich, Switzerland.
  • Who was on the trip with you: Mostly MBA students; there were seven part-time Kellogg students, and some from Ross. There were also some students in a full-time program (four years undergrad plus one additional year for a masters’) from the University of Florida. There were also had a handful of international students from places like Singapore, Australia and Canada. There were no Kellogg faculty with us, all of our professors were from WHU.
  • Was there any pre-work or preparation: Yes, we had pre-readings to be completed before the first class that were used for discussion in each session.
  • What companies did you visit: The program had two company visits built into the two-week program. We visited the European Central Bank and Robert Weil Winery. The program also arranged for us to visit a local castle for some tourism in the area.
  • Favorite part: The area near WHU campus, Koblenz, has a great area near campus that we would hang out in after class. It was great to have the time after being in class during the day to relax and experience the culture we were staying in. The wine tasting at Robert Weill winery was also great.
  • How do you feel the program helped you in your academic and professional goals: I was beginning to transition into a new global strategy role with my company, so the timing of the global exchange program was perfect. My employer was very supportive of me going on the trip, as the content was highly relevant to my new role and I was able to learn a lot by being in an international situation. The program helped give me perspective I would not have had and gave me more confidence going into my new role at work.
  • Would you recommend this program to other Kellogg students, and why: Yes, I really can’t stress how great this program was! The global exchange program really emphasized the power of the Kellogg community. Initially, I didn’t know the other Kellogg students on my trip, but we were able to get to know each other very well and it was a great opportunity to connect with other students I may not have met otherwise. We really enjoyed our time together—even though we were ready to see our family and friends at home we didn’t want to leave!
  • What are the main differences from your GIM and Global Exchange experiences: GIM had a lot more preparation, so there was more of a build-up to the trip. There was also the post-GIM trip work that students are required to complete when back in the States, so the process was much longer. The Global Exchange format was more condensed as we didn’t have to take a course leading up to the trip and the pre-work was minimal. It was nice that once the classes in the global exchange program were finished, that was also the end of the program. Exchange was very well-balanced and also more affordable.

Janaki Patel

Global Exchange "Doing Business in Israel" program with Coller School of Business and Administration, Spring 2017

  • Trip Duration: May 15-23, 2017 (9 days)
  • What type of research did you do before applying to the program: I attended two Kellogg information sessions (found through Kellogg Events and the Kellogg exchange program website). I also met a few students who had participated in past Exchange programs, so I spoke with them to learn more about their experiences. I knew I wanted a program with a tech focus, so I looked for programs that had this component.
  • How far in advance did you have to start planning in order to make the program work with your course schedule and graduation date: Applications are due five months before the program, so I started researching before that. It's good to finalize trip details ahead of time because you are unable to take full credit courses in the quarter you choose to go on Exchange.
  • What was the trip like: It was very well planned! We had a great mix of academic courses, company visits and touring throughout the country. We had 2-3 free evenings and one weekend to let us explore on our own.
  • Who was on the trip with you: Thirty MBA students in total and professors. Students were from a few different schools including Kellogg, Booth, Ross, McCombs, George Washington University School of Business and some international MBA students from Singapore University.
  • Was there any pre-work or preparation: Yes, there were two cases and a short book we were required to read before the program started.
  • What companies did you visit:  Netafim, Masik, sFBI, Samurai Incubate Israel, Lighthouse, Call Yachol
  • Favorite part: The trip organizers planned a dinner for us at a restaurant called Blackout where you eat in the dark. It was an out of the world experience!
  • How do you feel the program helped you in your academic and professional goals: It reaffirmed my interest in pursuing a career in the technology space.
  • Would you recommend this program to other Kellogg students, and why: I would highly recommend the program. I picked one that had a technology and venture capital industry focus, and the program exceeded my expectations. The program gave me great insight of what makes Israel the innovation hub that it is. The trip was also very well planned and it gave us the exposure and experiences we needed with not only industry but culture as well.