Waving Goodbye to Ireland – The Virtual Way

Well, this is it. We’ve played all four quarters of the Haller Global Honors Fellowship, and now it’s time for the game recap. And what a game it was.

Reflecting on my entire experience throughout the last two weeks, I can honestly say I’ve had an outstanding time and have come out with a whole new perspective. In one way, I had expectations before going into the program that were certainly exceeded and corrected. When I first heard the Fellowship would entail doing a consulting project in a virtual space, I expected lots of boring Zoom meetings and work I wasn’t interested in. But boy, was I wrong about the real thing! The program managers and Pitt Business staff made it a really engaging experience, where I was fascinated by my research and work and truly felt I was an important member of the project. I also very much appreciated the useful information sessions and Q&As with distinguished business professionals and various organizations from around Pitt Business and the wider university.

One specific way the experience benefited me was that it gave me a lot of new knowledge to apply in my future academic coursework. For example, I now know the definition of and how to construct a scope of work. A scope of work defines the key objectives for a project, gives a measurement for successful completion, and totally guides the decision-making going forward. This knowledge will come in handy for future business projects.

Through my participation in the Fellowship, I also developed a lot of transferable skills that will benefit me in my continued academic and professional career. For one, I definitely improved upon my active listening skills. The nature of completing a two-week-long project over video chat is that it includes a lot of one person talking for a while and everyone else listening. The key for me was to stay focused and listen intently in order to respond effectively to the person in words or in work. Another skill I developed was my presentation ability. There were a lot of nerves going into our final presentation of our consulting project to our real-life client, and I was tested in my ability to convey my message clearly and remain professional in my delivery. But in the end, the presentation experience has made me better at public speaking going forward.

On that same note, I was pushed out of my comfort zone in other ways over the course of the Fellowship. In the beginning, I didn’t feel very qualified to provide any advice to an experienced business professional as only an incoming college freshman. However, as Professor Jones and Tony promised, the project took off and I became a lot more qualified to give advice through my extensive research on the subject matter. Another way I was challenged in these last two weeks was actually in my research. In high school, I got used to research information for projects being easy to come by and found by a simple Google search. This was not the case for the research necessary for the project, so I had to dig deeper and work harder for it.

All in all, the biggest reward to come out of my participation in the Haller Global Honors Fellowship was being welcomed into the Pitt Business family. The program staff were so kind and supportive, and I look forward to working with them and having them as mentors in my future endeavors at Pitt. There was an amazing sense of community throughout the project, and I have walked away with good friends in the form of my fellow Haller Fellows.

I feel that the Haller Global Honors Fellowship was a fantastic introduction to what Pitt Business and the wider university has to offer to me. I’m super excited to jump into more opportunities within the International Programs office and elsewhere. Thank you to everyone that has followed my Haller journey and supported me throughout the last two weeks.

Until next time, friends. And as always, Hail to Pitt!