30 October 2013
INTERNING ABROAD can be a very beneficial experience towards developing a well-rounded education. Recent graduates Ali Bagherzadeh and Jeff Stevens learned this firsthand when they utilized the BE Global Internship Program to work across the world and gain important assets for the start of their careers.
“It is great experience for your resume,” Bagherzadeh said. “Imagine having eight people for references with this one internship. It is probably the most important thing.”
Bagherzadeh, an engineer with Apple Inc., graduated in May from The University of Texas at Austin with a B.S. in electrical engineering. Instead of going straight to Apple’s offices in California after he graduated, Bagherzadeh’s traveled to Barcelona for an internship through the International Office’s BE Global program.
“I already had a full-time [job] offer, so I was just going for the culture experience, Bagherzadeh said. “But it came out to be different. I really learned something. My mind is working differently.”
The BE Global Internship Program – “BE” for “business” and “engineering” – offers students in those majors at The University of Texas at Austin a full-time professional opportunity as well as the cultural experience of living and working abroad. Participants have the option to intern for up to 10 weeks during the summer with companies in Barcelona, Spain, or Shanghai, China. In addition to the internship, the students attend networking events, company visits and business seminars to expose them to a complete professional experience.
Larry Phu, Director of Finance and Administration at the International Office and creator of BE Global, said this program is a collaboration with the McCombs School of Business and the Cockrell School of Engineering because they strongly support the exposing of students to an international work setting.
“It is really a good investment in their future, and I think students see that,” Phu said. “I think that is why they went to get that work experience – not in the U.S., but to get something that will set them apart from the student body.”
Bagherzadeh interned at Medtep, a software company that collects data for medical solutions and collaborates it into a web-based program. When Bagherzadeh arrived, his job was to help develop an apps program. He said his experience there was very beneficial, and working abroad established skills that are valuable for any student.
“It is a great experience for juniors and upcoming seniors because you get a different culture in a working environment,” Bagherzadeh said. “It establishes adaptability. That is definitely something I apply to my job now.“
Like Bagherzadeh, Stevens is also a recent graduate. He received a degree in finances and business honors from the McCombs School of Business. Before going to work in Houston for Exxon as a financial analyst, he completed the 6-week program in Shanghai.
“I just wanted to do something cool after my last year in school,” Stevens said, “and I thought it would be a good capstone experience that pulled together everything that I learned in the business school and the other more liberal arts type classes that I took.”
At his internship at the China Energy Fund Committee, Stevens researched how international energy markets affect U.S.-China relations. He said the experience was very useful in increasing his cross-cultural communication and relationship management skills.
“Going to a huge company like Exxon you do run into people from all over the world,” Stevens said. “Having experience working with people from other countries and managing those relationships is something that I am applying now.”
Stevens expressed that with the state of the economy and the extreme competition for jobs, it is more important than ever to have a remarkable resume. He said BE Global does an amazing job of this because it establishes a global network for each student.
“The more globalized the world becomes, you’re pretty much guaranteed to be working with people from other countries and travelling to other countries,” Stevens said. “I can’t think of a better way to gain these skills first hand than going in and doing it when you are in college.”
The BE Global Internship Program is now accepting applications for summer 2014. The deadline to apply is Sunday, Dec. 1.
By Alyssa Brant