Through a collaboration with technology consulting firm Sogeti, students at Ohio University College of Business gain valuable experience and meet multiple graduation requirements at once.
The college’s OHIO International Consulting Program (OICP) provides students with a real-world international business experience each spring and summer semester. The program started in 2014, but this year it looked a little different. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the program has been moved online and OHIO students have been virtually matched with students in Europe.
Jamie Lambert, Associate Teaching Professor and Program Director, had to find creative ways to bring students the experience in a virtual medium.
âIn the past, the program only included students from Ohio University, but this summer’s program was affected by COVID-19. The global pandemic has dramatically reduced international opportunities for students. Since the OHIO students couldn’t go overseas, we brought the international experience to Ohio through the computer, âLambert said. âWe have integrated our international partner institutions and brought their students virtually to the OICP. ”
The students worked in teams with students from France, Hungary and Italy. Lambert said the biggest challenge with this new format is ensuring success from the start and ensuring clear expectations and processes are set.
Additionally, more modest logistical issues such as cultural background and jet lag created a learning curve for OHIO students. However, this did not deter anyone from participating in the program.
âI thought everyone in the program, from students and faculty to Sogeti consultants, was committed to the success of the program,â Lambert said. âI think it has overcome all the challenges that we have been faced with. ”
Isaiah Sparks, an elder who participated in the OICP program, also found the program a success in its online format.
âWith that came some organizational challenges of course, but we just made sure to meet more than we would in person and keep lines of communication open,â said Sparks.
He also felt that the program was culturally and professionally educational. Sparks said the international component gave him a better understanding of other cultures and the workings of their businesses that he had never experienced before.
âI felt the whole experience was enjoyable,â Sparks said. âWorking across cultures has been a great opportunity and I feel like I came away with valuable experience. ”
This type of experience is what Lambert hopes that every student will be able to start again at the end of the OICP. Since the start of the program, students have held many positions, including positions at Sogeti. More than 20 former OICP students have been hired at Sogeti. One of those students is Taylor Siwik.
Siwik graduated from Ohio University in 2017 and completed the OICP program in his final semester. After graduation, he held a business analyst position at Sogeti, in part thanks to his experience with OICP.
âThe OICP program gave me real world experience that I couldn’t get throughout my work at the College of Business,â Siwik said. âI was able to go out and work with a real world client and put my best effort into it. After I graduated, Sogeti was where I wanted to be and this program really made that possible.
Opportunities like this are the reason Lambert sees Sogeti as a great corporate collaborator for OHIO.
âOur relationship with Sogeti has been invaluable,â said Dr. Jackie Rees Ulmer, Dean of the College of Business. âOur colleagues at Sogeti are so committed to the program and to the success of our students. They do a great job of giving students a real experience. The company works with Fortune 500 companies. So having that connection and that expertise is key for our students. ”
For everyone involved last summer, the OICP exceeded expectations. Despite the challenges, Lambert sees the summer as a great success. She encouraged all of her students to discuss OICP in their future professional endeavors, as it was a truly unique experience that not everyone has the opportunity to bring into the professional world.
As far as students are concerned, Sparks says his job search has started and OICP has given him a boost in applying or contacting consulting firms about potential employment.
Applications for the OICP spring 2022 are available now. The application is accessible via the following link: https://ohio.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_eh8ywVxwG74tzPn.