Study Abroad Matters: An Alumnus Looks Back

MGMT 480 Study Abroad Group in Ireland, summer 2011.

My name is Patrick Fogarty, a graduate of the University of St. Thomas. I completed my degree in business administration; legal studies in Business, ethics and business law. I am currently employed by General Electric Capital Corporation as a global sourcing analyst.

While at the University of St. Thomas, I had the pleasure of studying abroad three separate times. Each experience broadened my global awareness and appreciation for other cultures. I culminated my undergraduate experience with Management 480, Strategic Management in London, England and Ireland. I chose to participate in this course thinking that it would be the perfect way to transition from college to a full time job- which is exactly what happened. Now that I am a year into my career, I am able to reflect on what influences this particular experience had on my perceptions while operating in the “business world”.

Kinsale, County Cork Ireland, summer 2011.

We live in an ever-changing, global economy. Businesses operate differently than they did in the past. Every day, I am able to instantly communicate with suppliers and business partners all over the globe. It is possible for a company like GE to do business with nearly anyone anywhere. It’s increasingly important that business leaders are aware of other cultures and are able to understand and appreciate the differences; both in the way we communicate, and the way we do our jobs. While studying abroad in the United Kingdom, we met with several different business leaders for a glimpse into their operations. This opportunity has provided me with a global outlook that is so necessary. When working with folks in the UK, India, Greece, China, or elsewhere, I have a firm understanding that their viewpoints, beliefs and work standards are likely to be different than mine. This awareness helps establish mutual expectations allowing more efficient collaborations.

I highly suggest seeking out opportunities to study abroad, specifically the Management 480 course with Phil Anderson. I can’t say enough about what a mentor Phil has been; he still provides guidance and support even though I’m no longer a student. The experience to immerse yourself in another culture doesn’t come often – take advantage of it while you can!

 

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