Advice Column: What Will a Trip Abroad Do for Your Career?

June 17, 2019 //

Photo of students on Global Immersion trip

Traveling pushes you out of your comfort zone. For some, spending time abroad during or after school is a great way to become more well-rounded, learn another language and expand your understanding of global business trends. It could even influence your career path.

Recently, I had a chance to interview Kevin Fandl, the director of global immersion programs at the Fox School. He has a decade of experience working in the federal government, most recently as the chief of staff for international trade and intellectual property at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. He is also a frequent lecturer at major universities abroad and has published three books on international and comparative law. He has spoken at length about the role travel can have in shaping students into global citizens. 

Here’s what he had to say about the Fox Global Immersions program.

Q: Why is gaining a global perspective an important part of a business education?

Tweet screen cap from Prof Fandl

A: The Fox School is in the business of preparing our students for active participation in the increasingly interconnected global marketplace. We recognize that no matter how small or seemingly local a business may appear, the forces of globalization are hard at work to promote, enhance and enable those firms to take their organization to the next level. Every business venture today will be required to interact with the global business environment at some point, whether through sourcing of goods, utilizing foreign labor, or identifying new markets. For this reason, we recognize that no business education would be complete without the introduction of comparative global business skills. 

Q: How can global immersions bolster the skill sets of students and professionals?

A: We have built a curriculum that provides students and professionals with opportunities to hear from experts in global business to better understand the opportunities that exist outside of a students home and realm of experience. This includes exposure to comparative learning that works to open their minds to new ways of thinking and engaging with others, whether they hail from from Germantown or Germany. It also includes access to activities that allow students to engage with the global business environment—from international consulting to internships with foreign firms. 

Q: How can this experience influence the career paths of students and alumni?

A: Traveling and studying abroad is one of the most profound experiences that young professionals may have, because it exposes them up-close to the operations of business in the global environment. Participants are immersed in another culture, surrounded by another language and introduced to key players in global markets. 

Global immersions are offered throughout the year to undergraduate and graduate students and cover a diverse range of countries and sectors within those countries. Our students have studied supply chain management in Brazil, corporate compliance in Stockholm and strategic management in Budapest. We have visited lights-out factories in Shanghai, observed the inspection process at the port of entry in Bogota and lent our business skills to charitable organizations in India. 

The global immersion experience is open to all undergraduate and graduate students with more offerings every year. We are also developing opportunities to engage alumni in these immersion experiences to ensure that all of those who have come through the doors at the Fox School have a chance to integrate global business education into their professional lives. All of these experiences are a part of the  comprehensive, profound and unforgettable global business education at the Fox School. Such experiences ensure that when students receive their diploma or certificate, they are confident in their ability to apply their skills anywhere in the world.

This story was originally published in Fox Focus, the Fox School’s alumni magazine.