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Consulting projects take students back to roots

Jared Crum and Matt Olsen are about to see some familiar surroundings in a different light.

Both Krannert MBA students are participating in the Global Business Project (GBP) through the Purdue Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER). The GBP puts teams of four-to-six students from cross-functional areas and different universities on an international consulting project.

Crum, a first-year MBA, will be working with students from the University of North Carolina and Columbia University on a project in China. His project involves Glen Raven, a North Carolina-based outdoor textile manufacturer, and its efforts to replicate U.S. distribution channels in China.

A Purdue undergraduate in agricultural economics, Crum initially worked in corn genetics research. Seeking a career change, he taught English for one year and finance for two years at a private university in China.

"I enjoyed teaching so much, I decided it was time to learn more about finance, so I decided to come back to Purdue for an MBA," says Crum, whose dream job is to work in corporate finance in Asia or South America for an agricultural company. "Krannert gave me an opportunity to meet people from all around the world and grow as a leader."

Crum and fellow Krannert student Jeff Lei will head to Washington, D.C., in March to meet with other team members and company representatives. The team will work virtually on the project before physically heading to China for two weeks in May.

While Crum and Lei travel to Asia, Matt Olsen will be on his way to South America, along with first-year MBA Asela Gunasekera. Olsen will be working on a project in Brazil for AGCO, a tractor manufacturer. He’ll be joined by students from the University of North Carolina, University of Miami, and the University of Pittsburgh.

As an undergraduate at Brigham Young University, Olsen did project work in Brazil, helping to provide scholarships for underprivileged students who needed to get out of public schools and into private school systems. He fell in love with the people and culture, and jumped at the opportunity to make a return trip through GBP.

Olsen, who graduates in May, will begin work for Procter & Gamble as an associate HR manager once he returns from Brazil. He considers the trip a "capstone" event of his Purdue experience and believes it may help him with his future employer.

"I think this could open doors for me down the road," Olsen says. "P&G has operations in Brazil, and I think this bullet point on my resume could be a factor if something opens up in that area. I would love to have an international assignment."

Nine Krannert students will be involved in the program this year, up from four last year and two the year before. For more information about the Global Business Project, click here.