by Tony Moore
Studying abroad means different things to different people. At Dickinson, it means things like this:
We run 17 of our own programs and have 24 partner programs on every inhabited continent on the planet, and nearly 60 percent of our students study abroad (nationally it’s around 2 percent).
Undoubtedly, people think of places like France, Japan, Italy, Germany and Russia as places students will go to spend a semester or year abroad (and Dickinson has centers in each). But when you’re only three hours from the most populous city in the United States, it only makes sense to have an abroad program in New York City as well.
So back in October 2007, the college gave the Department of International Business & Management and the Center for Global Study & Engagement the green light to proceed with a global program in New York City. And now in 2018, Dickinson celebrates the 10th anniversary of the program. (To read even more about the program, including its appeal to international students, check out "Big City Connections.")
“It was the best thing I could have ever done for my career,” says Ben Rafetto ’09, former assistant vice president at Mizuho Americas who participated in the first year of the program and is now at Harvard, working toward his master's degree in computational science & engineering. Rafetto’s NYC experience led to an internship with Timothy Dann ’81, who went on to hire Rafetto after he graduated. “He’s been an incredible friend over the years since. I wouldn't be where I was today if it weren't for the program.”
The Dickinson in New York program is open to international business & management and economics majors, and students spend a semester taking classes at Baruch College’s Zicklin School of Business. But the benefits of being in New York extend far beyond the classroom.
“While the students are gaining firsthand experience learning, interning and connecting with alumni in New York, they also focus on a topic of academic and professional interest for a comprehensive independent study," explains Amity Fox, associate dean of academic advising and director of internship programs. "The independent study is truly a unique aspect of the program, because the students’ work is guided and supervised by a Dickinson faculty member.”
Jason Fine ’09, now a global account manager with Prometric in Baltimore, focused on marketing during the Baruch program.
“From an academic perspective, the program provided me with greater flexibility to take more specialized marketing-related courses than I would have been able to take at Dickinson,” says Fine, who landed a sales internship at the time with WNBC, NBC’s flagship station. “Even though it was an amazing experience, the semester at Baruch taught me how much I truly appreciated Dickinson’s IB&M program. It was such a different educational experience, and it allowed me to see how much I appreciated the IB&M faculty—the close involvement with the professors and other students.”
Associate Professor of International Business & Management David Sarcone says that the experience has opened students’ eyes over the years to the path they may find themselves soon traveling.
“They have a more realistic view of working within a business environment,” he says. “They are without question wiser and more confident, and they are often enthused about the opportunities that lie before them as a result of strengthening their personal and professional networks.”
Those networks often come in the form of Dickinson alumni, whom Sarcone says routinely arrange internships for the program’s students. But that’s just one facet to this multifaceted experience, which has been redefining "abroad" for a decade now.
“Dickinson has a number of exceptional resources, among them its global study and engagement programs, its career center, its alumni network, its faculty and its experientially based learning offerings,” Sarcone says. “Each of these brings value to the Dickinson experience. To the best of my knowledge, however, the NYC/Baruch program is the only initiative that effectively links these resources in such a synergistic way. And students are able to experience life in one of the world's great cities and a center of international business.”
Published September 4, 2018