Think and Do on a Global Scale
Global education is more than travel to fun destinations. Poole aims to provide students with a global perspective to help them succeed in an increasingly intercultural workforce.
By Jess Clarke
A 4,000-mile flight from Raleigh to Madrid gave Emily Haddock an unavoidable opportunity to become more independent. When her plane landed in Spain, the Poole College business administration student had a lot to navigate: finding an apartment, buying a SIM card to use her cell phone, and applying for residency to stay longer.
Her education as a student in Poole’s International Business Dual Degree (IBDD) program began as soon as she arrived in the Spanish capital for a two-year study-abroad program. Her time there so far has been “hands down the best year of my life,” says Haddock, who’s pursuing a minor in Spanish. Choosing to go beyond her comfort zone through travel “I can confidently say is the best decision I have ever made.”
She’s gaining more than important life skills — she’s earning marketable academic credentials. When Haddock finishes the program, she’ll have a business degree with a finance concentration from NC State and a degree in international business management and administration from Madrid’s Universidad Pontificia Comillas.
The IBDD program is among the increasing number of study-abroad options for undergraduates and graduate students through Poole’s Global Programs Office, established in 2011. Since then, the office has developed global education opportunities for a year, a semester or a summer with partner schools in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.
Some options don’t require travel, including virtual internships and the Global Seminar Series, which allows students to work on cross-institutional teams with world-class business schools to address actual business challenges for an organization.
“Based on where students are developmentally and their background, they’re able to pick where they best fit into our portfolio of programs,” Global Programs Director Rob Sandruck says.
The portfolio is diversifying.
The Global Corps Scholars program launched this spring, funded by a donor’s gift to Poole. The pilot program supports students from underrepresented groups, who may use the grant to support their unique global engagement opportunity. More global opportunities are planned, including an international internship program and new programs to developing nations in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Going abroad and interacting with individuals from different countries and cultures provides an impetus for this.
“In today’s world, aspects of globalization touch every business, big or small. In order to be effective, students need to understand how differences in culture, institutions and systems in different parts of the world require us to be flexible while working,” Poole Associate Dean for Academic Programs Vikas Anand says. “Going abroad and interacting with individuals from different countries and cultures provides an impetus for this.”
“Digital advances and the internet have shrunk our world, fast-tracking the need for our college to raise up global leaders and citizens,” Poole Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Programs Tedd Szeto says.
Interest in global education is rebounding at Poole since COVID-19 shut down study-abroad opportunities at U.S. colleges and universities in 2020. About 250 students, including non-business students, went abroad through Poole in the 2021-2022 academic year.
Although COVID-19 is still an issue, “It’s not a reason not to go anywhere anymore,” Sandruck says. “We and our host countries have managed to travel effectively with COVID.”
About a third of Poole students typically studied abroad before the pandemic, a high rate for NC State and for a business school. “Pre-COVID, study abroad was the cultural norm at Poole. We’ve been rebuilding global engagement as a tradition at Poole College,” Sandruck says.
Investment in the Global Programs Office is the foundation of that Poole tradition.
We know our students and our curriculum, and we know how to match those two together to help students find the global experience they’re seeking.
“We have a strong central team that’s very supportive of students. We know our students and our curriculum, and we know how to match those two together to help students find the global experience they’re seeking,” Sandruck says. “All of that distinguishes us.”
Global education is more than travel to fun destinations. Poole aims to provide students with a global perspective to help them succeed in an increasingly intercultural workforce. Poole’s programs provide ways for students to experience other cultures, learn about international business and build a worldwide network.
“It’s a growing trend that you really can’t be a leading business school without providing an opportunity for students to have global experience…much like DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion),” Sandruck says. “The two are very interrelated.”
One way Poole increases diversity at the college is with the many international students who bring their perspectives to NC State classes through the marquee IBDD program and other programs.
For NC State students from North Carolina who haven’t traveled or studied abroad, “They are still able to receive a global education through the relationships that form between classmates from around the world,” Poole Associate Director of Global Programs Ellen Frost says. “Through group projects and practicums, students from the U.S. and international students practice intercultural communication and how to navigate different approaches to work.”
Intercultural communication was a driving reason Poole student Jaylen Johnson ’24 joined a summer study-abroad trip, the most popular global program. The business administration major spent three weeks in May and June in Seville, Spain, on a program Poole professor Tom Byrnes led.
“My main goal was to have an immersive experience,” says Johnson, who’s pursuing a Spanish minor. “I wanted to see if I could really communicate where the primary language isn’t English…I did great. There was never any situation where I couldn’t explain myself or ask for help if I needed it.”
On his first trip abroad, he befriended some Spanish college students he played basketball and soccer with. And he did some informal English tutoring with them.
“I know there’s more to the world. You see it on National Geographic shows and YouTube,” Johnson says. “I wanted to put my own eyes on it.”
I know there’s more to the world. You see it on National Geographic shows and YouTube. I wanted to put my own eyes on it.
He had the opportunity to put his eyes on a range of companies in a course on doing business in Spain. Johnson and his classmates visited an olive oil factory and a wine and bourbon producer and listened to guest speakers who owned businesses. The glimpse of Spanish companies will give Johnson, from Chesapeake, Virginia, a valuable perspective as he considers running a multinational company someday.
The most valuable part of the trip was gaining confidence about traveling abroad. “I showed myself I’m able to go into the most foreign environment and do well — make friends, do my work, all at the same time,” Johnson says.
After a year in Spain, IBDD student Haddock, from New Bern, North Carolina, also feels competent as a traveler.
In addition to classes, she’s working for six months as an investment analysis and asset management intern at a small commercial real estate investment firm in Madrid. After graduating, she plans to work as a financial analyst there before pursuing an MBA.
Before spending their last two years of college outside their home country, IBDD students study for two years at their home institution. At NC State, Haddock enjoyed dorm life, a sorority, football games and campus clubs.
Then she was eager to live abroad.
“The most valuable part of my IBDD experience has been my newfound sense of self,” Haddock says. “Before coming to Spain, I struggled to even cook dinner for myself…Today I am confident in who I am and my abilities. I am excited by the challenges and changes I know lie ahead, and I have no doubt I can accomplish the goals I set for myself.”