Kristen Talman knew George Mason University was the right school for her based on the university’s proximity to the nation’s capital. The management major was looking for a business school located in an area with several internship opportunities, and faculty who have worked in the business field prior to teaching.
“Due to the proximity to the nation’s capital and the plethora of companies that have offices in the Northern Virginia region it seemed optimal for a determined business management student who is looking to enhance their career aspirations while obtaining a prestigious degree taught by terrific professors,” Talman said.
The goal-oriented sophomore knew she wanted to expand her learning opportunities outside of the classroom early in her academic career, which also helped her “confirm my desire to study business” and understand the business environment.
Talman interned with Global Business Travel Association in Alexandria, VA from fall 2017 through February 2018. She interned with the Global Strategic Sourcing and Contracts team, which focused on both national and international contracts. Talman was responsible for generating sourcing and contractual documents, including solicitations, purchase orders, and service agreements, as well as conducting market research on priority categories and assisting with formulating and executing category development strategies through drafting PowerPoint trainings to present amongst departments.
Because she was interning with a middle-sized non-profit, she was also exposed to different teams during her internship, including sales development and marketing. Talman credits the internship with widening her scope of experience, and also enjoyed the organization’s work environment.
“There was never a day that I wasn’t eagerly greeted with a smile by at least a handful of employees who were committed to making GBTA successful both externally and internally by supporting their fellow coworkers. I was treated with respect and invited to participate in all meetings that my team did,” she said.
Talman was also able to apply concepts from Business Foundations classes to her internship. She said the Global Environment of Business, one of her favorite courses, taught her to apply “critical and informed thinking strategies to case studies,” which turned into real-life experience at her internship. Business Analytics was helpful in teaching her technical skills, like organizing and interpreting data in Excel.
Shortly after her internship ended in February, Talman hopped on a plane for some travel of her own. She spent part of the semester studying abroad and serving as an international peer advisor at Mason Korea. Talman plans on minoring in international business, and jumped at the international experiential learning opportunity, to take classes with Korean and American professors with experience working and living abroad.
“I wanted to help bridge the gap between the two campuses by serving as a peer advisor. Due to the smaller size of Mason Korea’s campus, it has been an excellent way to see Mason on a smaller scale and understand our core mission, internationally and in Fairfax,” she said.
In the future, Talman sees herself “wanting to couple my career aspirations with my international pursuits.” After graduation in 2020, she hopes to pursue a career in international marketing and communications.
“Through my desire to understand other countries’ culture, politics, and economics, I hope to work with a small to mid-sized company that is attempting to expand into a new emerging market by doing research on consumer behaviors and how to effectively market or communicate with a new population,” she said.