This spring, as Mickael Jean Morales wraps up his sophomore year at the NC State Poole College of Management, he also is also preparing to leave for France this fall, where he will complete the final two years of his undergraduate studies at NEOMA Business School in Reims, with financial support from his recently awarded John Philip Couch Scholarship.
He also is gearing up for his summer internship with LORD Corporation, and is exploring the possibility of a second internship with the company, in Switzerland.
A finance major, Jean Morales is one of 50 Poole College students in the International Business Dual Degree (IBDD) program that Poole College offers in partnership with business schools in France and four other countries: China, Germany, Italy and Spain.
IBDD students complete their first two undergraduate years at their home university, and the final two years at one of the other IBDD partner schools, immersing themselves in the language, culture and business environment of the host country. They also are required to complete two international internships. Jean Morales’ summer internship with LORD – a diversified technology and manufacturing company with headquarters in Cary, N.C., and operations worldwide – was a perfect fit.
“I decided to intern with LORD because I have always been interested in working for a company where I could have the possibility of traveling and of working with international markets. LORD is not only a company with locations in 16 countries and a worldwide footprint, but also a company that focuses on and invests in their employees. For that reason, I knew that LORD would be a company where I could work with international markets, and where there would be an opportunity for my personal and professional development.”
Morales was born in Laval, France, grew up in Mexico – he considers Saltillo his home town – and is fluent in Spanish. He said he has always been interested in learning French, but didn’t start learning the language until he was in high school – Green Hope High School in Cary, N.C.
He made up for lost time during his first two years at NC State. The French courses he has taken each semester have contributed to the approximately 80 credit hours he has earned thus far, giving him junior class ranking at NC State.
“When I found out about the IBDD program and the possibility of studying in France for two years, I knew this program was going to help me master French and learn about the culture,” he said in an email interview with Poole College communications.
“Now that I am fully immersed in this program, I decided to seek the John Philip Couch Scholarship to help finance the two years that I will spend in France,” he said.
The scholarship is offered by the North Carolina Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of French to help cover students’ study abroad tuition. As part of accepting the scholarship, Jean Morales said, he has made a commitment to share his study abroad experience with students learning French at Green Hope High and with other French groups.
Reflecting on his first two years of undergraduate studies, Jean Morales said, “Poole College has giving me amazing support since my first day at NC State,” he said. Prior to starting his internship search, he met with Poole College’s undergraduate career coaches and advisors at least once a week for a full semester. This enabled him “to build a strong resume and cover letter, practice interviews, and set career goals,” he said.
NC State’s French Language Department in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences “has been very supportive each semester,” he said. “Since starting school at NC State, I have taken a French class each semester with very qualified professors that have helped me improve my French language skills.”
He adds, “From these experiences (at NC State), I have developed strong organizational, communication and language skills. Being an IBDD student has being a tough challenge, but this has made me a better student. I have taken more credits than the average student, and this has helped me improve my time management, organizational skills, and I have learned a new language. Now I am looking forward for the new opportunities that I have in front of me during my time working for LORD, and during the two years that I will be spend studying and working in France.
“Lastly, I would like to add that although NC State is a big university with a large student body, there has not been a time where I have not felt supported by either my professors, directors of IBDD, and peer coaches. I have never been alone, and I can only thank those who have been there for me this last two years, because if it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t have the accomplishments I have achieved this past months.”