STEP Blog – Marketing Project Abroad

Project Description:

My project consisted of traveling to Vienna, Austria to assist a company in their marketing efforts to get their business sect of recycling out into the industry. We researched and studied the company, its current activities in this realm, its competitors and their activities, and more in order to make recommendations on how to improve. With the business operating globally as an industrial shredding market leader, the pressure was on and the scope of our project was quite wide.

Important Understanding:

I found that my reliance on my leadership skills helped me navigate the different culture of Austria. I pushed myself to take note of my surroundings and assimilate into the culture in order to gain a better understanding of how to work with it. I now feel that I am able to communicate with other cultures in a more professional and respectful way.

Interactions and Events:

Our company included lunch for our team each day. However, none of the workers in the cafeteria spoke English, and German is not a language that is easy to pick up on. The small language barrier concerning our lunch options pushed me to try a new dish each day, as I wasn’t ever aware of what I was eating. This was the small beginning to many more out-of-my-comfort-zone decisions that I made throughout the rest of the internship.

Additionally, my team’s in-country advisor was our age, making it easy for him to relate to us and answer cultural questions that we had. He was very useful when it came to informing us on how to act, what to eat, and important phrases to know. After a few days of his advice, I began to be able to pick up on other cultural trends strictly through observation, which helped me gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of the Viennese culture.

Concerning events that impacted my cultural appreciation, my team and I travelled to other neighboring countries on the weekends. After being in Germany, Slovakia, and Hungary, I had a deeper understanding of European actions and relationships. Many actions are uniform across Europe, and not just unique to Austria. That came in handy when navigating around other areas that shared the same cultural elements (such as Munich).


Cultural appreciation and understanding is extremely important in the workplace, as you will work with people from all different backgrounds at different stages in your life. Being able to communicate with them in relevant ways (i.e. mannerisms, not just verbal communication) shows one’s willingness to learn about others. It is not only appealing in an emotional way, but it reflects professionalism and the ability to grow connections. I believe that everyone, if they are presented with the opportunity, should travel abroad for the purpose of reaching professional growth goals.

Transformational Experience:

As a sophomore, at the time of this project, enrolled in the Fisher College of Business, I didn’t have many professional experiences under my belt. In fact, I didn’t have any! This Fisher Global Project has been extremely beneficial to my professional transformation, as it taught be patience in dealing with cultural barriers, professionalism in working a regular 9 to 5 job in an office, and the importance of clear communication in the instances of describing and explaining our ideas for global marketing purposes. I was able to utilize skill sets that I had learned from Fisher courses such as BUSMHR 2292, International Business 2000, and all marketing courses. This experience has transformed my professionalism, and has been and extremely useful example to pull from during interviews and class discussions. From going from no professional business experience to being completely emerged in a foreign culture for business-related purposes, I feel that I have grown immensely on both a personal and a professional level.

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