Although studying abroad is a completely amazing experience in of itself, getting involved at your host university can be very rewarding, as well as a great way to continue exploring your interests outside of your UC campus! UC Riverside students Brian and James have done just that, by joining the consulting society while they’re studying abroad at the University of Warwick. Read on to find out what brought them to Warwick in the first place and what they’re up to with the consulting society…
- Could you two quickly introduce yourselves?
BK: My name is Brian Kuan. I am a fourth-year Business Administration major, concentrating in Management, with a minor in Philosophy at UC Riverside. I am currently studying abroad at Warwick Business School at the University of Warwick.
JS: My name is James Son. I’m a third year studying business with a concentration in accounting at UCR. I’ve always been active on campus joining my clubs which led to becoming the founding class of our chapter of the business fraternity, Phi Chi Theta. I’ve always believed in surrounding myself with other bright and driven people and that is what Phi Chi Theta has provided. This led me to learn more about consulting services, and I ended up interviewing for the Students Consulting for Nonprofit Organizations (SCNO). Through SCNO, I gained first hand experience with the consulting and interacting with executives of real organizations. After two successful project cycles, I am now the VP of Finance for the organization.
- What are some of the bigger differences between England and California?
BK: There aren’t too many differences between England and California, except for the obvious ones (ie. it’s much colder here, they drive/walk on the wrong side of the road, there’s no Hot Cheetos, etc.)
JS: Apart from the weather being a bit colder than back home, there didn’t seem to be a huge difference. The one thing that really bothers me however is the fact that all stores close around 5:30 pm which seems really early. Pubs are also a super popular place to grab food and gather around, and is a new culture compared to the whole American fear of alcohol.
- Why did you choose University of Warwick?
BK: I chose the University of Warwick because they had the most prestigious business program offered by UCEAP.
JS: Warwick was an my first choice considering it has such a great business program and a great campus life. I thought that going to a school in London would definitely diminish the campus life that I enjoy. It’s just an hour train ride away from London and very close to Birmingham, if you need to go to a big city.
- What made you get involved with the consulting society at Warwick?
BK: I was already involved with numerous consulting societies back at UCR (SCNO, SoBA/Bourns Consultancy, my fraternity’s) so I figured it would be natural for me to get involved into one at Warwick. Consulting also seems to be a very popular career choice for students here and WCS has a very large membership body.
JS: My previous involvement in student consulting and the opportunities they provided really drove me to get involved with Warwick Consulting Society (WCS). Through WCS, there were many networking opportunities with big names like PwC and Accenture. It is just also a unique opportunity to understand how organizations in the UK work compared to the US.
5. What do you do as part of the consulting society – working on anything particularly cool?
BK: Since I’m only here for a term, there isn’t much I can get involved in in terms of being on executive board and such. But I spoke to the president and she said we can still be involved with the Warwick Consulting Services branch of the society, where students are assigned into teams and consult for pretty prestigious companies (i.e. Jaguar Land Rover, Volvo, National Grid, etc.) I’ve actually just interviewed for a position as a Team Leader and am awaiting the results.
JS: As part of the consulting society, we work on many case studies, but more importantly, we are given a project with real companies such as Volvo, National Grid, and Jaguar Land Rover just to name a few clients. For an example of the project scope, there is the Jaguar Land Rover project. We will be doing market research on the future of electric cars and what range of customers are the target. We will find the range of prices the target market is willing to pay for the product. We also look at the parking spaces in urban vs. rural areas and see if that affects sales. Then we look at the trend of ride sharing and measure how that will effect the sales of personal cars. Finally, there is the question of emerging markets and if the company should create a cheaper alternative product.
- How has study abroad impacted you so far?
BK: Studying abroad has impacted me by showing me that people, and even educational systems aren’t that much around the world. Warwick is a very international school so I’ve also met people from Estonia, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Australia, and much more. We all come from somewhat similar backgrounds and share very similar stories about growing up and such.
JS: Studying abroad has definitely broadened my perspective. First of all, I have never thought about working outside of the US and here I am networking with local firms. It has also given me a deeper appreciation for home. As my first time out of the country I took my opportunity to travel to different countries and the cultures are just so different yet beautiful. Still nowhere has come close to the amazing culture of California.
7. Do you have any advice for students who are studying abroad and want to get involved with their host university?
BK: I’d recommend to students studying abroad to really go out and explore. Societies seem to have a big presence on university life in England so you’ll almost always find a society that is relevant or caters towards anyone’s interests. But I don’t mean just by joining societies and going out every night but getting to know the local and surrounding area as well. Studying abroad in England really tempts you to go to places like France, Spain, and Germany, but people are forgetting about Wales, Portugal, and even cities that aren’t too far away from their host university.
JS: If you can, I would suggest to take the full year abroad for the full experience. Being here for only term has made it hard to join societies or taking bigger roles in them. You will definitely be traveling a lot so bring passport size photos. You will need it for the railcards that save you tons of money (especially if you book last moment like me). If you’re budgeting, make sure to include society fees. In Warwick there is a separate fee for regular societies and sport societies. Don’t just conform. Locals love international students because of the opportunity to learn new cultures as well. The British seem to be quite obsessed with America actually.