LeBow College of Business MBA student Jack Soos spent the 2011 winter quarter gaining a competitive advantage in this increasingly global job market by studying abroad at WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management in Vallendar, Germany.
“Studying as an exchange student at WHU was the most fulfilling educational and cultural experience of my academic career,” Soos says. “It was a great addition to my Drexel LeBow education.”
Drexel LeBow recently partnered with WHU, a worldwide leader in management education, to offer an exchange program that enables LeBow business students to expand their horizons. “Vallendar is a close and vibrant community that really makes a person feel welcome,” Soos says. It is located not far from Germany’s western border with Belgium, in the state Rhineland-Palatinate.
While at WHU Soos took classes in behavioral finance and advanced supply management. He says he found his German business classes to differ somewhat from those he’d taken in America, with the German ones being more rooted in theory and academic research, and less focused on connecting knowledge to practice, than what he was used to. He actually landed in Germany knowing very little German, but thanks to German-language classes offered to exchange students at WHU he was able to jump right into conversational German with his new friends. He says that while the German-language class was “intense and quite a time commitment,” it was fun and worthwhile to learn the language of his host country.
“Though I was only there about 10 weeks, by the end of my stay I could carry on a brief conversation, order food and drinks, and convey basic thoughts and feelings. Of course, it is possible to get by without learning German — all of the students and faculty are fluent in English.”
Drexel’s Study Abroad Office was very helpful in suggesting ways that he could culturally acclimate himself to German culture before arriving, Soos says, by recommending books and online resources, and connecting him with German expats at Drexel.
“Studying abroad stretches your comfort zone. You grow to love things that are completely different from what you are used to,” he says. “You not only see the world through a new and different lens, you live it. You learn to appreciate what you have, but also what else is out there.”
Soos offers the following advice to students who plan to participate in this study abroad program: “Study, make an effort to meet local students, and try to stay open minded. And while there, take advantage of the opportunity to chat with some of the most renowned business researchers in Germany.”
You can read Soos’ blog about his study abroad experiences at http://jacksoos.wordpress.com/.