In London, Students Build Connections and Confidence
Wednesday, May 10, 2023
A group of 20 Carlson School undergraduate students spent a week in London over their spring break, exploring the city and learning about international business practices. The trip was an essential part of IBUS 2021: Design Your Career in a Global Context. The course was taught by Lisa Novack, director of student engagement and career development. Students learned the same important career content taught in other sections of Design Your Career, with the added opportunity to network with alumni and learn about business in the UK.
Students visited a wide variety of companies: Google UK, Citi Bank, Barbican Centre, Site Minder, and more. They also completed a resume writing and interviewing workshop, and had the opportunity to explore London. Sophia Mendoza-Rodriguez ‘26 BSB loved every minute of it.
“I loved the site visits because it was a perfect mix of different areas of business,” she said. “The workshop at Give a Grad a Go helped me become better at writing my resume and interviewing. The Alumni Networking event helped me get over my fear of talking to people I am not acquainted with. During one of our free afternoons, I decided to go to the Tate Modern art museum by myself. My international data did not work well so I had to navigate my way using street signs and maps. I got lost a few times but it ended up being perfect because I was able to walk by the Thames River and see more of the city while trying to get to my destination. I learned that I was capable of navigating a foreign city alone. I am much more resilient and independent now because of this program.”
Among the alumni who met with the students were Lindsey Kolling ‘15 BSB and Chelsea Sowers ‘11 BSB, ‘19 MBA, both of whom had studied abroad during their time at the Carlson School.
"I studied abroad for a summer program in Paris while I was a student," said Kolling. "Coming to the UK for my master's program at the University of Manchester was a fantastic move for my development. Without the experience I had going abroad as an undergraduate student, I don't think I would have made the decision to move internationally down the line."
Sowers studied abroad twice during her time at the Carlson School. "Each experience since then has further affirmed and acknowledged that my curiosity in international travel still remains," she said. "It's truly humbling to have had this opportunity when I think back to myself as a young girl growing up in a small town in Iowa."
During the trip, the students had the opportunity to meet with alumni like Kolling and Sowers and learn about their experiences living and working abroad. "We loved their engagement and curiosity about Google and also living internationally," said Sowers. "Don't let the obstacles hold you back, if you set international experience as a goal, know that it can happen and it can look different for everyone."
Mendoza-Rodriguez was inspired by the experience and plans to continue to work hard and seek out new opportunities.
“I learned to be more independent and curious about my future. This experience taught me that I am more resilient and adaptable than I give myself credit for. Most importantly, this course taught me to aim high because nothing is impossible. Coming back from London, I have become much more engaged in my work, whether it's for school or personal. I am not afraid of putting myself out there because you never know what you may learn.“