When I began the Haller Global Honors Virtual Fellowship, I really didn’t know what to expect. After all, it was hard to imagine what working with a business organization on a virtual project would really look like as an incoming business student without any formal business experience. Even my expectation that the program would be working with an Irish organization was turned on its head when it was announced that Pitt Business was partnering instead with the Southwark Pensioner’s Center (SPC) in London, England, for the Haller Fellowship. Thankfully, I think my lack of detailed expectations helped me keep an open mind when Pitt announced a location change, and that the actual project would be a research-based consulting proposal for one of three clients within the SPC. When I was finally able to form concrete expectations and digest the program, I found the Haller project one of the most rewarding assignments I have worked on in my academic career.
One thing I wish to note about Haller is how the experience helped me sharpen skills that I will no doubt use to succeed in the classroom and beyond. I have refined my leadership, research, presentation, and group work skills. I specifically improved my teamwork skills by becoming more comfortable relying on my fellow students during group work than I was before the Haller fellowship. All of these are capabilities that I will need to excel in Pitt’s academic program. Overall, I feel more prepared for my freshman year.
One aspect of Haller that pushed me outside of my comfort zone was the initial insurmountability of being tasked with such a large consulting project due in a very short timeframe. I began Haller without any formal business education beyond microeconomics, and suddenly my group was responsible for presenting a fully researched consulting proposal to a charity in another country in less than two weeks. Initially, I felt as if I was dropped into the middle of the ocean and told to “sink or swim.” However, despite the anxiety that I felt the first two days, once my group had time to brainstorm our ideas and began compiling research, my uneasiness transformed into a feeling that my group was in control and had a strong plan. In the end, I believe that the stress of developing an in-depth project for a real client kept me alert, focused, and engaged.
I feel that my greatest accomplishment about my participation in the Haller Fellowship is that I was able to successfully complete the program before even stepping foot on Pitt’s campus or taking any business courses. Furthermore, it is worth highlighting that all of the other students and I completed a consulting proposal in two weeks which would normally be done as part of a semester course. I feel satisfied with the work that I did through Haller, and my satisfaction in both the process and our final project is extremely rewarding.
In light of completing the Haller Fellowship, I am excited to see what study abroad and hands-on academic opportunities are available in the future because I now wish to take full advantage of similar programs. I am also excited to see how Pitt can expand my horizons. To wrap up, I want to thank Mr. Anthony Gomez, Dr. Raymond Jones, the Southwark Pensioner’s Center, and my fellow students for making the Haller Global Honors Virtual Fellowship such an enjoyable experience. I can’t wait to see what comes next at Pitt!