SIA student broadens horizons at international company

SIA student Shuofei Zhao

Shuofei Zhao spent his summer in his native China, where he was able to leverage both his undergraduate work in communications and his studies at the Penn State School of International Affairs in new and interesting ways while working with Bosch Thermotechnology.

Zhao worked in the e-commerce and marketing department for the German company, utilizing new technologies and platforms to promote Bosch in the Chinese marketplace. Although Zhao had never worked in marketing before, he found that the work drew heavily on his international experiences and education.

“This was a totally new experience for me, and it helped me understand how firms and corporations work on a global scale and how they conduct business internationally,” Zhao said. “This includes international communications, and the School of international Affairs has helped me understand how important communications are in this field.”

Zhao’s studies at SIA also equipped him with the tools he needed to manage many of Bosch’s behind-the-scenes efforts that guide the company’s decision making. He credits his courses with Professor Johannes Fedderke and SIA Director Scott Gartner with helping him understand the economic variables at play in the marketplace and preparing him to research and analyze market data to help guide international business decisions.

His experience with Bosch also built on the valuable cultural experience of studying with an international community at Penn State, preparing him to work with colleagues of many different backgrounds and nationalities.

“Because here at SIA you have classmates from all the world, the program helps students understand how to cooperate and work with people from backgrounds different than your own,” Zhao said. “I worked with employees from all over Europe, Southeast Asia, China, and America. The ability to work cooperatively in that kind of environment is a valuable experience that SIA offers to students.”

Zhao—who says the tools offered by the Career Services Office helped him build his resume and market himself when looking for his internship—explains that he now has a broader view of international affairs, economic development, and their relation to his energy policy studies thanks to his summer work experience, which has piqued a new academic interest.

“I learned that e-commerce can be a powerful tool to stimulate economic development, and feel that many countries have not taken advantage of this opportunity,” Zaho said. “In the future, I’d like to have the opportunity to use what I’ve learned at SIA and this internship experience to do work helping developing countries stimulate their economies.”