Business students collaborate with Sogeti, international counterparts to gain experience
Thanks to a collaboration with technology consulting firm Sogeti, Ohio University College of Business students gain valuable experience and fulfill several graduation requirements all at once.
The college’s OHIO International Consulting Program (OICP) provides students with a real-world international business experience every spring and summer semester. The program began in 2014, but this year it looked a little different. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the program was moved online and OHIO’s students were virtually paired with students in Europe.
Jamie Lambert, an associate professor of instruction and director of the program, had to find creative ways to bring students the experience in a virtual medium.
“In the past the program consisted of just Ohio University students, but this summer’s program was impacted by COVID-19. The global pandemic dramatically reduced the international opportunities for students. Since OHIO students couldn’t go abroad, we brought the international experience to Ohio through the computer,” Lambert said. “We incorporated our international partner institutions and brought their students into OICP virtually.”
Students worked in teams with students from France, Hungary and Italy. Lambert said the biggest challenge of this new format was ensuring success from the beginning and making sure clear expectations and processes were set.
In addition, smaller logistical matters like cultural backgrounds and time differences created a learning curve for OHIO’s students. However, this did not deter anyone involved in the program.
“I thought everyone who was part of the program, from students and faculty to the Sogeti consultants, were committed to the success of the program,” Lambert said. “I think that came through to address any of the challenges we faced.”
Isaiah Sparks, a senior who took part in the OICP program, also felt the program was a success in its online format.
“It came with organizational challenges of course, but we just made sure we met more than we would in person and kept open lines of communication,” Sparks said.
He also felt the program was culturally and professionally educational. Sparks said the international component gave him levels of insight into other cultures and how their businesses operate he had not experienced previously.
“I felt the whole experience was enjoyable,” Sparks said. “Working across cultures was a great opportunity and I feel like I came away with some valuable experience.”
This type of experience is what Lambert hopes every student can walk away with at OICP’s conclusion. Since the program began, students have gone on to numerous roles, including positions at Sogeti. More than 20 OICP alumni have been hired at Sogeti. One of these students is Taylor Siwik.
Siwik graduated from Ohio University in 2017 and completed the OICP program in his final semester. After graduation he went on to a business analyst role with Sogeti, thanks in part to his experience with OICP.
“The OICP program gave me real-world experience that I couldn’t get through my work in the College of Business alone,” Siwik said. “I was able to go out and work with a real-world client and put my all into it. After graduation, Sogeti was where I wanted to be and this program really made that possible.”
Opportunities like this are why Lambert sees Sogeti as such a great corporate collaborator for OHIO.
“Our relationship with Sogeti has been invaluable,” said Dr. Jackie Rees Ulmer, dean of the College of Business. “Our colleagues at Sogeti are so committed to the program and the success of our students. They do a great job getting students real experience. The company works with Fortune 500 companies. So, having that connection and expertise is key for our students.”
For everyone involved this past summer, OICP exceeded expectations. Despite the challenges, Lambert sees the summer as a great success. She has encouraged all of her students to discuss OICP in their future professional endeavors because it was a truly unique experience not everyone gets to bring into the professional world.
As for the students, Sparks says his job hunt has begun and OICP has given him a leg up when applying or reaching out to consulting companies about potential employment.
Applications for the spring 2022 OICP are available now. The application can be accessed through the following link: https://ohio.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_eh8ywVxwG74tzPn.