A Trip to Germany Through Zoom

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Hello everyone! My name is Helen Wu and I am currently a junior at the University of Pittsburgh majoring in Marketing and Finance, while also pursuing a certificate in International Business. I was born in Brooklyn, New York, and primarily raised by my grandparents because my parents spent most of their time at work. My parents are immigrants that moved to New York in the 1990s, hoping to bring better opportunities to their future generation. I have two siblings: an older brother and a younger sister, both of who I have a very close bond. Growing up in a bilingual household and in a large and diverse city, I have always had an interest in different cultures and dreamed of traveling to different countries.

In high school, I accidentally came across the sport Ultimate Frisbee while looking for clubs to join. The sport built me into the person I am today and had a big impact on my choice of going to Pitt. I wanted to go to a college that was academically challenging but also had a frisbee team that competed at a high level. 

Originally, I had the intention of majoring in Biology and pursuing a pre-med track. However, after a year of boring biology, chemistry, and psychology lectures, I decided that pre-med was not where my interest was at. In the Fall of 2019, I transferred into the College of Business Administration and took my first business courses. These courses were incredibly interesting and made me look forward to learning more. I decided to major in Finance and Marketing and pursue a certificate in International Business after taking many business core classes. Finance and Marketing stood out to me because these two majors are very different and utilize different aspects of my brain. Finance would fulfill my love for math and Marketing add the bit of creativity that I crave. I don’t know what exactly about these majors interests me or what sector of the industry I am particularly interested in, but I am certain that I want to travel around the world for work. 

On campus, I am involved in the Pitt Women’s Ultimate Frisbee Team, Danger, as the business manager and player, and the Smart Woman Securities, a woman only investment team, as an Investment Associate of the Consumer Discretionary sector. Becoming the Business Manager of Danger was an eye-opening experience. I was able to see the behind the scenes of how the team was functioning financially and learned to work with the Student Organization Resource Center on managing our team’s finances. The most satisfying part of this position was submitting all the reimbursement forms after a tournament after collecting everyone’s tournament receipts. To me, this was a different and meaningful way of contributing to the team. This past fall, I delivered my very first stock pitch and became an official investment associate for Smart Woman Securities. This experience was very nerve-wracking and exciting, as it was the first time I applied the knowledge I learned in class to a professional project. 

In the first two years of college, I chose to take Chinese language courses because growing up in a bilingual family made me feel that I was not fluent in either English or Chinese — not fluent in English because it is not my mother tongue and not fluent in Chinese because I could not read and write in the language. These Chinese courses on the Chinese language and culture sparked my interest in studying abroad, especially in Asia. I was accepted into the Global Business Institute in Shanghai program for the 2020 Summer. I was looking forward to studying and interning abroad while developing new friendships and creating new memories. However, the pandemic hit, and the program was canceled. 

Last semester, while looking for international opportunities, I saw the various international virtual programs the University was offering in the Spring in substitute for studying abroad programs. I decided to take part in the International Consulting Project because the program offers a way to gain international experience while also providing me a chance to explore consulting, a field that I would like to explore. Additionally, the program sites were heavily focused on my areas of interest, Marketing and Finance. From this program, I would like to gain a deeper understanding of working in an international environment, one I hope to be working in in the future. I also hope to apply concepts learned in my courses to professional real-life situations. Furthermore, I would like to explore different aspects of Marketing and Finance to find out what I really want to pursue a career in. This opportunity is a great place to gain transferable skills and grow my professional skill set. I cannot wait to connect with more professionals expand my network internationally.

The consulting project that I am taking part in is the Germany project. We are working with a German startup called Possehl Online Solutions to provide them with marketing strategies that will help them stand out from their competitors, as well as help them tap into the global market for digital solutions. Possehl Online Solutions offers expertise in B2B marketplace, brand shops, and consulting services in the digital solutions industry. Having never worked on a project like this before, I am nervous and overwhelmed yet excited to see what we can bring to the table. Next week, our team will be meeting with Possehl Online Solutions’ CEO, Alexander Wachter. We are looking forward to hearing more about the company and learning more about him and his team, as well as the companies goals and aspirations for the future. As a student consultant, I am very excited to tackle my first project. I cannot wait to see my growth throughout this semester and learn from my peer and our clients. 

I am thankful for this opportunity and cannot wait to dive deeper into this project. I can already tell this will have a huge impact on me both professionally and personally. See you in the next blog!