Montana State University

MSU students gain international business experience through business college’s internship program

August 25, 2015 -- MSU News Service

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Two Montana State University students in the Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship participated in an international business internship in Japan this summer as part of the college’s Starzen Internship program. Carlee Benson and Alex Paterson, both seniors, traveled to Tokyo to participate in the experience, which is noted for its emphasis on cultural education and exchange.

The month-long internship is with the Starzen Company, Ltd., an international trading company and meat manufacturer located in Tokyo. The program is designed to enable the students to become familiar with Japanese business practices, the operations of an international agricultural company and the Japanese culture. According to Myleen Leary, the Starzen Internship coordinator, “This internship is an incredible opportunity for the students to experience an international business environment that complements their undergraduate course work.”

Benson, a marketing and business major, said she had no idea what to expect as she flew into Tokyo, but the entire experience was easily one of the best in her life.

“On my first day of work, I met the president of the company as well as everyone on the executive team,” Benson said. “The Starzen International Internship is the biggest hidden gem that (the Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship) has to offer. (It) will remain a highlight of my time at ‪MSU in both how it allowed me to apply my existing business knowledge as well as to expand my perspectives on international business.”

Paterson, an economics and business major, called the internship a life-changing experience and a cornerstone of his education at MSU.

“I had the incredible opportunity to take the lessons I've learned in Bozeman and apply them in an international business setting...creating international business networks. Through the excellence of (the Jake Jabs College of Business and Entrepreneurship), I was able to transform my professional prospects. I'm incredibly grateful for the kindness and generosity of both Starzen and MSU. Opportunities like these are what make MSU (so) astounding.”

The students said their schedules varied daily throughout the internship, but their time generally was spent attending lectures or meetings in the mornings and then touring different facilities or sites in the afternoons.

According to Jackie Sather, senior director of development in the MSU Alumni Foundation, the Starzen internship came to MSU through a personal relationship developed with company executives and MSU. In 1991, Seiichi Uzurahashi, a Starzen executive, traveled to Bozeman to give a lecture on Japanese management methods, which began a long and lasting relationship with Uzurahashi’s father, who at the time was a senior Starzen executive. The company had a ranch in Dillon at the time, which provided a local connection as well.  Upon his father’s death, Uzurahashi gave money to the college as a token of esteem and respect and to honor the special relationship that had developed between the school and the Starzen company, Sather said. Uzurahashi’s gift resulted in an endowment, which now supports the internship program. Begun in 1995, the program has been tremendously successful, and has launched many new and exciting careers, Sather said.   …. (see http://www.montana.edu/business/news/articles/1087840448.html)

In addition to being selected for the Starzen internship, this spring Paterson was named one of MSU’s two Truman Scholars, a program that honors college juniors for their demonstrated leadership potential and commitment to public service. Paterson was also recently named a Newman Civic Fellow, an award that goes to student leaders who have demonstrated their commitment to finding solutions for challenges facing communities across the country. Paterson won both awards for his leadership and activism in and for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer-identifying community.

For more information on the Starzen Internship program, contact Leary at (406) 994-6203 or starzen@montana.edu, or visit http://www.montana.edu/business/current-students/starzen-internship.html.

Contact: Audrey Capp, (406) 994-7026 or audrey.capp@montana.edu