Life as an International Business Student

 We asked sophomore International Business/French and Accounting double-major Valerie what her life has been like since she left her hometown of Overland Park, Kansas for The University of Tulsa two years ago. Here is what she had to say about her experiences as a TU student


Have you completed any internships or accepted any for the future?

This year I just accepted an offer to work in Paris this summer! At the beginning of the school year, I talked to Caroline Fox, who works in the Business Career Center, and she helped show me where to go and what to do in order to get an internship that would set me apart from my peers. TU really helped me through the process of finding out what to do and selecting the best internship for me and my goals. I chose to apply to a program that sets you up with an international internship and I was accepted! I am ecstatic for the opportunity to go abroad and truly explore the opportunities that my major has in store for me.

How/why did you choose to major in International Business & Language and Accounting?

I came into college knowing that I wanted to be an International Business and Languages student. I have always loved learning new languages and examining new cultures and I knew that I wanted to pursue that throughout college. When I found the IB&L degree, it was perfect; it combined the language aspect that I loved plus the practicality and usefulness of a business degree. Now that countries across the globe interact more and more, I know this degree will be a good choice because I’ll be prepared for the “international” part of the business that is becoming more and more prevalent.

I didn’t decide on my Accounting major until last fall and I am so glad that I chose to add it to my studies. I chose it because it’s because I love how logical everything is, and when I took my business cores I really connected with the subject. I also know that accounting has lots of potential for advancement in the career and it can provide a really unique job that changes every day, which I love.

Did you study French in high school?

I only studied one year of French in high school- my story is more unusual than most! The summer before my senior year I decided to switch from Latin (which I’d taken from three years) into French, so I took a French I summer course at my local community college, and tested into French my senior year in high school. The summer before I came to college, I enrolled into a French 2 summer course again, and then tested into Intermediate French 2 at TU. Whew, complicated, right? Basically, because I took one class a summer for two summers in a row, I saved myself almost two years of foreign languages! Even if you haven’t taken a foreign language in high school, I would highly recommend looking into an International Business degree because with movement of information between cultures, it will truly help distinguish yourself in the job market. Our language department at TU is phenomenal and I know that when I go abroad next spring to France that I’ll be well-prepared!

What do you love about your majors?

I love my majors because first and foremost, they’re useful. I know when I get out of college that some company somewhere will need someone with a business degree to work for them and I can be that person. It’s reassuring to know that even in tough economic times that my job will still be needed in almost every company.

Second, I love the opportunities that I have been given through my majors. Because of International Business and French, I’m given the opportunity to travel across the world and speak in a completely different language. This is something that many of my friends will never have the opportunity to do and I feel so lucky that I found this great major here at TU.

Is it hard to double major?

Honestly, it’s not. And believe me, I would know! With the degrees that I am taking, I’m technically a triple major- eek! But while it seems scary at first, I can reassure you that if you’re truly motivated, it’s a goal that you can easily accomplish.

First off, if you’re thinking about double majoring, the first thing I would advise is to transfer as many credits as you can before you even come to college! AP tests and courses at your local community college are a quick and easy way to make sure that you are ahead of schedule. Even when you come back home from your first year at college, take a summer class or two. You’ll never believe how much time and effort it saves you, plus it makes doubling that much easier.

Second, talk to your college advisors. I am practically on a first-name basis with the wonderful advisors at the Collins College of Business (another perk of a smaller school!) and I can’t even begin to describe how many times they’ve helped me out. If you’re dedicated to double majoring, they will find a way to make it happen.Third, be aware of reality: you will have a tougher course load than most of your friends. I’m in more hours than most of my friends this semester, but I truly love my majors and I know that with my dedication I’ll be able to attain the job of my dreams.

Why did you decide to come to TU?

Oh, gosh. I could talk for days about how great TU is! But to be honest, when I was looking at colleges I had no idea what I was getting myself into. It’s hard to imagine yourself living anywhere else besides home and you can’t experience anything like it until you arrive!

I found TU by chance at a college fair in my hometown and immediately loved the sound of it. It had the International Business degree that I wanted, and their Business College had great rankings. Plus, it was listed as having one of the happiest student populations! Towards the end of my senior year, I was between TU and a large out-of-state college. Knowing that I had a tough decision and was on the fence about TU, Professor Collins, the director of the International Business program, took time out of his day to spend almost an hour and a half on the phone with me explaining why he thought this program at TU was right for me. Additionally, he had current students with the IB&L degree email me- some from Germany, some from France, and some at TU. That was the moment that I knew I belonged at TU. TU made me feel like I was part of a family from the moment that they accepted me- before I even committed to going here.

Now that I am a full-time student here, I can honestly say that I’ve never regretted my decision one bit. I’ve had amazing opportunities here that I would never have anywhere else- from leadership when I was only a freshman to the opportunity to intern abroad as a sophomore, I can only imagine what chances I’ll get as I continue my studies here.

What has it been like coming to Tulsa from Kansas City?

I am from a suburb of Kansas City and throughout my life I’ve grown up in a “bubble” of cookie-cutter houses and soccer moms. Moving from KC to Tulsa was definitely a big change for me, but I’ve only ever enjoyed the differences that I’ve seen.

Back home in KC, I am about 35-45 minutes away from downtown, but when I live in Tulsa I’m 10 minutes away at most! This means plenty of awesome restaurants, stores, and activities that are right outside the TU campus. Beyond downtown, there are also many other places that I could go, from Brookside to Cherry Street to Utica, all within less than 10 minutes of campus. I absolutely love having these options because they’re fun to go to if I need a short break from my classes or if I have time on a lazy afternoon.

Something else really awesome about Tulsa is that it’s not your stereotypical “college town”. For students, this means two big things. This first is that Tulsa always has something going on, even outside of the academic year. So when school ends, the fun and the life don’t leave Tulsa. If you decide to stay over summer or over a break and take classes or accept an internship, you will find that there are still plenty of things to do in Tulsa even when TU isn’t in session. The second advantage of not being a “college town” can be summed up in one word: JOBS! Tulsa is home to a number of large corporations that come to TU to recruit and find highly qualified job applicants. This means that as a student you have that many more opportunities to network with these companies and secure yourself a great job after you graduate.