Name: Joshua Epperson
Type of Project: Internship
My STEP Signature Project involved traveling to Munich, Germany, for 8 weeks to complete an internship with Morphosys AG. I interned in the Control Department at Morphosys, modelling, developing, and planning presentations of the Business Plan, including specific scenarios.
Living in Munich, Germany, for 8 weeks proved to be a tough endeavor as I strove to immerse myself in the culture, work environment, and daily life of a Munich citizen. One of the biggest things I came to understand about myself was that I can be more confident in my decisions—in several instances my first instinct was correct despite my lack of confidence in the respective decision. Through additional individual travel I transformed into an individual more adept at making and following through with quick, instinctual decisions.
Of course, living in a foreign country transformed my view of the world. I came to understand that while Americans are content with limiting their worldly view to the States, countries in Europe retain an understanding and willingness to learn about other countries—in the EU and abroad. Since returning I have noticed myself listening more intently to the important news of other countries—almost a comfort in comparison to the current domestic chaos and despair.
In Germany, they have a saying, “leben und leben lassen”—live and let live. While Germans have a horrific past stemming from WWI and II, they have fought to reject the harsh stereotype by becoming more open to all people. That phrase epitomizes their ideology that so long as another person is not hurting you, leave them be. This state of mind can be seen in their lack of violence, openness regarding sexuality, and understanding of individuality. While in the 2nd largest city in German (and beer capital of the world) I never witnessed a single punch thrown, angry confrontation, or instance of hurtful language towards a person. The realization hit me towards of the end of the trip, while hearing about the events in the U.S., of how civil everyone was. Through that experience I became more understanding and respective of other cultures and lifestyles.
Another transformation arose from traveling alone. Before I left for Germany I purchased a Euro Rail pass that was valid for several free train rides the duration of my stay—I was able to ride any Deutsch Bahn train at any time. When I arrived at the train station for the first time the realization hit me of how much freedom was at my fingertips. While I began timid and very schedule-oriented, after the first few trips I became more confident and willing to seek out adventure—thereby sacrificing my long-time love of to-the-minute schedules. These transformations and sacrifices unsurprisingly led to a decrease in stress as I was able to go wherever I so desired, even if it led me to sit by a river for an hour. This transformation reminds me to seek out adventure while at OSU as a manner of destressing.
Another transformation from the trip arose from the Internship. I often found myself completing work at a faster pace than my boss anticipated—unfortunately leading to a lack of work on occasions. To counteract this lack of work I had to force myself out of my comfort zone by asking coworkers if they needed assistance. I realized that I have become so used to constantly having projects and club work to be done that it was a stretch to ask for things to be done. Therefore, the realization that this state of constant business would not always be around allowed me to develop the confidence and ability to go around and inquire about additional tasks.
Every job requires interactions with others; whether this be with clients, coworkers, or superiors. My new sense of understanding and empathy allows me to better communicate cross-culturally with those that I will come in contact with in the professional world. When not surrounded by friends I often find myself becoming introverted with others; however, through the transformations of the trip I can better step out of my comfort zone—possibly leading to positive results. While this transformation will help me communicate better with others in a professional situation, it will also benefit me personally as I branch out and become more interactive with others.
This internship also provided me experience with corporate business. This experience has transformed my thinking and view of the corporate finance field to better understand my future goals—by placing me into a small company I became acutely aware of what every department accomplished on a daily/weekly/monthly basis. While I was not as in tune with the Research & Development Department as I would have liked, I have shortened my list of potential career paths away from the Corporate Finance field. This will largely impact my future as I consider how my professional pathway should be shaped.
Thus, through my global Internship I have developed a better view of my future as well as transformed into a more outgoing and understanding individual. These changes over the past summer will positively affect my future in terms of career path, personal relationships, and school work.