Bolieve in Cochabamba!

Greetings! My name is Benjamin Zhu, and I am a sophomore at the University of Pittsburgh. I study Global Management and Supply Chain Management, and I minor in Economics and Statistics. I am also planning on pursuing the Certificate Program in Business Analytics at Pitt Business. Outside of the classroom, I am involved in Enactus, an entrepreneurial business student organization, where I got to work in teams to solve business problems in collaboration with local startups. Additionally, I am also the Business Manager for the Chinese American Students Association (CASA), where I got to coordinate events to celebrate various cultural holidays on campus. Through both of these wonderful organizations, I have had the opportunity to learn from talented individuals and engage with the diverse student body at Pitt.

Growing up, I have always had the excitement to learn new things and explore new possibilities. I am originally from the Northern Marianas Islands, a US commonwealth in the Pacific Ocean, and I moved to California for high school. Before attending Pitt, I knew I wanted to explore the other side of the US, and Pitt was the best decision for me and my family. Interestingly, I also have a twin brother who goes to Pitt as well! Coming from a small island and having to make new connections in Pittsburgh, I got to grow tremendously from the resources that Pitt offers. Keeping at the back of my mind where I came from, I am always motivated and determined to learn from others, and make new meaningful connections.

In a blink of an eye, it is already the second semester of my second year at Pitt, and graduation seems to draw closer and closer. While a lot of my peers already have an ultimate career in mind, I am still in the exploration stage of career development. With the world becoming more interconnected than ever before, I do aspire to be able to work in a company that prides itself in international business and diversity in the future. Prior to graduation, I seek to explore more hands-on opportunities and take part in projects where I can apply my knowledge and skills.

Coming into Pitt Business, one of the many things that I was excited about was the study abroad opportunities. During my freshman year, I applied for the Plus3 Program and got selected to participate in the Plus3 South Korea location. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the study abroad program was canceled. However, that did not discourage me from exploring other opportunities. To further my global competency, I am planning on applying for the global internship for the 2021 summer. Looking ahead, I am excited for what the future holds, and what new opportunities are there for the new normal.

I got to learn about the International Consulting Project through one of the Pitt Business newsletters as I was exploring opportunities to be part of (virtually). I heard great things about the consulting experience from my professors, and I am grateful that Pitt Business continues to find and offer opportunities for its students to grow. Taking part in the consulting project also stems from one of my interest in problem-solving, and trying to be of service to others. Previously when everything was in-person, I participated in many volunteering opportunities for my community and my Catholic parish. I felt great being helpful to others and that continues to push me to be a willing helper whenever possible, even amid the pandemic.

For the International Consulting Project, I will be working alongside six other awesome team members for the CEOLI Fundacion, a non-governmental organization based in Bolivia. Their mission is to help individuals with disabilities to further their education and wellbeing in society, and my team will be focused particularly on the city of Cochabamba. With Pitt Business’ 10 year commitment to CEOLI, it has been a work in progress for the past 4 years. In 2021, as a team of Pitt Business consultants, we seek to research grants and sponsorships for CEOLI in efforts to improve their financial situation. We will also continue to spread CEOLI’s presence in the US, and focus on marketing CEOLI’s core values and mission to the general public. From the International Consulting Project, I aspire to not only apply my knowledge and skills in my work and analysis but also to improve my cultural awareness and global competency. More importantly, I aspire to gain insights into ways I can be helpful to people around the world, and develop empathy. As a student majoring in Global Management, it is critical to have a global perspective in everything I do, and have an understanding attitude when it comes to different situations. The International Consulting Project will further my awareness of diversity, and its ability to empower everyone’s potential to make an impact in today’s world. I believe the most important takeaway from this project will be the new connections that I will make during my time working. Even if it means having to telecommute for work, being able to make new memories with people in another area of the world is something truly unique and special.

As a Pitt Business consultant, I am extremely thankful for this opportunity. During times like this, I believe not many students get the chance to do such meaningful work virtually. Essentially, making an impact even when we are so far apart. As the future is filled with uncertainty, one thing is sure. When we move back to in-person again, I would love to be able to travel to the Bolivia site and see everything that is going on firsthand. I am excited to partake in this truly special journey to be part of something that is beyond myself and do work that will impact the lives of so many people. I am ready to get started, work with my team, and build momentum!