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First Two International Business Dual Degree Graduates Reflect on Experiences

Kayla Hilton and Sydney Swain
Kayla Hilton and Sydney Swain

Kayla Hilton and Sydney Swain are the first two NC State Poole College of Management students to graduate through the college’s International Business Dual Degree (IBDD) program.

After completing their first two years of the undergraduate students at Poole College, each went to the college’s partner business schools in Italy and France, respectively. They both arrived back on campus at NC State in time to participate in the college’s winter 2017 commencement ceremony held December 15 at the PNC Arena, and made time to provide feedback via email on their experiences.

Sydney Swain: French Track

Swain completed the last two years of her undergraduate studies at NEOMA Business School in Reims, France, as part of the IBDD program’s French track.

“My two years in France were equally rewarding as they were challenging,” Swain wrote. “Kayla and I didn’t really know what to expect as we were the first two people to go through the program, and I kind of had to forge my own way. So not only did I become fluent in French and leave with a familiarity of the culture that is beyond explanation, I left with a greater sense of initiative, assertion, drive and leadership. As the only American in my year in NEOMA, I felt responsible to represent my entire country rather than just NC State.

“After being in classes completely full of students from different countries, I am much more confident in my abilities to work cross-culturally and in an international environment,” she wrote.

“I would absolutely, 100 percent, recommend this program to other students. Studying abroad for a semester or even a year has its rewards, but is much more common these days. If you are able to say to an employer that you spent two years abroad, that would really make you stand out from the competition. Two years is extensive, but it was the perfect amount of time to truly feel like you belong in that country.”

Swain also has been working at BioMerieux, a French biotechnology company with its Americas headquarters in Durham, N.C.

“I was lucky enough to find this company for my summer internship in 2015, which then opened up the opportunity to do a six-month internship with them in 2016 in Lyon, France. With the internship in France, I was able to prove myself valuable to the company by working on improving the supply chain in the Europe, Middle East, and Africa regions. They ended up offering me a full-time role in Durham after graduation, as the supply chain analyst for North and South America.

“Since I began my career in June, I have been able to travel to subsidiaries across Latin America and the U.S., which is basically my dream job,” she said.

Her future career plans include getting her MBA degree in the next two years. “For now I am enjoying working for BioMerieux and staying busy with travelling,” she said, adding, “I have now been to over 30 countries.”  Read more about her IBDD experience.

Kayla Hinton: Italian Track

Kayla Hilton completed the last two years of her bachelor’s in business administration degree requirements at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (UCSC) in Piacenza, Italy.

“Much like Sydney stated before, this program has been both challenging and rewarding. The curriculum at UCSC, particularly Corporate Social Responsibility, opened my eyes to an area of business that I did not previously know I was interested in. This course led me to my nine-month internship with Toyota Motor Europe in the Environmental Affairs and Corporate Citizenship division in Brussels, Belgium. Without this program, I would not have found my passion within the automotive industry. For that, I am grateful for this unique opportunity that NC State provides through the IBDD.

“I fully recommend this program to other students. It is an unparalleled opportunity for academic, professional and personal development. Studying abroad for a semester or even a year has its rewards. If you are able to say to an employer that you spent two years abroad for your education and (also worked abroad), that would really make you stand out from the competition.”

Her immediate plans following the college’s commencement ceremony: return to Europe and continue working and living abroad. Read more about Hilton’s IBDD experience.