Jared Crum and Matt Olsen saw some familiar surroundings in a different light in May.
Both were among nine Krannert master’s students who participated in the annual Global Business Project (GBP) through the Purdue Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER).
The GBP is a unique graduate-level course offered to MBAs and other graduate students at 14 member universities. Unlike other international consulting project courses, it asks students to apply both cross-cultural awareness and foreign language skills to produce strategic advice for companies that is focused, compelling and actionable.
Crum, now a second-year MBA student, worked with students from the University of North Carolina and Columbia University in China. His project involved Glen Raven, a North Carolina-based outdoor textile manufacturer, and its efforts to replicate U.S. distribution channels in China.
As a Purdue undergraduate in agricultural economics, Crum initially worked in corn genetics research. Seeking a career change, he taught English for one year and finance for two years at a private university in China.
“I enjoyed teaching so much, I decided it was time to learn more about finance, so I decided to come back to Purdue for an MBA,” says Crum, whose dream job is to work in corporate finance in Asia or South America for an agricultural company.
Crum and fellow Krannert student Jeff Lei went to Washington, D.C., in March to meet with other team members and company representatives. The team worked virtually on the project before physically heading to China for two weeks in May.
While Crum and Lei traveled to Asia, Matt Olsen journeyed to Brazil along with first-year MBA student Asela Gunasekera and students from the University of North Carolina, the University of Miami and the University of Pittsburgh to work on a project for AGCO, a tractor manufacturer.
As an undergraduate at Brigham Young University, Olsen did project work in Brazil, helping to provide scholarships for underprivileged students who needed to get out of public schools and into private school systems. He fell in love with the people and culture, and jumped at the opportunity to make a return trip through GBP.
Olsen, who graduated in May, began working for Procter & Gamble as an associate HR manager upon returning from Brazil. He considers the trip a “capstone” event of his Purdue experience and believes it may help him with his new employer.
“I think this could open doors for me down the road,” Olsen says. “P&G has operations in Brazil, and I think this bullet point on my resume could be a factor if something opens up in that area. I would love to have an international assignment.”