CISB Alumni Panel: From Foster to Careers

A panel of Certificate of International Studies in Business (CISB) alumni recently came back to campus to share their experiences during college and beyond. Current students in the Spanish, Japanese, and Chinese CISB tracks had the opportunity to learn what it really takes to work at industry giants including Amazon, Boeing, and Starbucks.

Madisen Mead on Camel

“On top of your major, you need to do something to differentiate yourself,” said current CISB student Madisen Mead, who learned that each alumnus had a unique career path that had been bolstered by their time at UW. “[It] boils down to having the self-discipline to actually set yourself apart.”

Madisen described how Jessica Johnson, a CISB alumna at Boeing, once attended a similar panel at Foster. “She became intrigued by hearing a Boeing employee explain how they were able to travel the world. She networked with that employee until she had a job at Boeing following graduation!”

CISB alumnus Ken Barron credited the Japanese CISB track for giving him the translation skills that helped him to initially get the job at Starbucks. Alex Birch and Elizabeth Haller, both at Amazon, explained how working on challenging projects on teams at Amazon helped them to learn and grow. “Sometimes, meetings with international clients were even in their CISB track language of Mandarin!,” exclaimed Madisen.

When asked why she joined the Spanish CISB program, Madisen says she was drawn to the opportunities for building connections. “One of the most reassuring things I learned from this panel is that although having the actual Certificate of International Studies in Business on your resume may not get you the job – it is a way to connect to other people in the workplace,” said Madisen. “Whether it is be being able to have a water cooler chat in your studied language, or being able to connect to clients about cities that you studied in, studying abroad and doing the CISB program provides a lot of opportunities to connect with others that stick with you for life.”

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