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Eckerd senior wins X-Culture International Business competition

By Robbyn Hopewell
Published November 30, 2018
Categories: Academics, Awards, Economics, International Business, Students
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Jenn Burr '19 and team members at the X-Culture Global Symposium

Jenna Burr ’19 (far right) was on the first-place team in the Soles4Souls International Consulting Competition

Jenna Burr ’19 just got a unique line to add to her resume.

When she starts searching for her next chapter, she’ll be able to tell potential employers she worked with a global team to help a nonprofit plan to launch in the European Union—and won an award to boot.

Jenna, an economics and international business double major from Coventry, R.I., was on the first-place team in the Soles4Souls International Consulting Competition at the X-Culture Global Symposium on Nov. 1–4 in Nashville, Tenn. Through the Academy of International Business, X-Culture connects 3,000 students from 100 universities around the world to take a semester-long course where they work in virtual teams to solve real business issues. Fifty students from 21 countries were selected from the Spring 2018 courses to form teams and attend the symposium to present their solutions to Soles4Souls International, a nonprofit that provides shoes and funding to impoverished populations.

“I was honored,” Jenna said. “I started X-Culture as a part of my International Marketing class with [Assistant Professor of International Business Sandra] Graça, and it was great to work in a virtual team with teammates from Turkey, Colombia and California.”

In early fall, Jenna heard she had been selected to go to the symposium to compete with a team of students from around the world, including China and Italy.

At the symposium, they met the executives from Soles4Souls, heard about their challenges and did some manual labor in their shoe-processing operation to get a sense of the company and culture. Then her team finalized a detailed business plan for the nonprofit’s expansion into the Netherlands, France and Germany based on the market conditions for those countries and their cultures of giving.

“It was very intensive in the planning process. You can’t tell the different personalities via email, and we all were from very different backgrounds—some undergraduate, some master’s students,” Jenna recalled.

In the end, her team’s marketing strategies and consideration of national charitable cultures put them over the top. Jenna said the X-Culture experience has been invaluable.

While searching for colleges, she said, Eckerd College was the only one that gave her a special feeling during her visit. “Seeing International Business in a liberal arts setting and having the opportunity to study abroad really appealed to me,” she explained. “The entrepreneurial mindset is truly fostered here, and I like that too.”

Jenna continues to intern at Raymond James Financial and hopes to continue her education after acquiring some real-world experience postgraduation. “One day, I’d like to take more of a consulting role,” she said. “I enjoy the study of economics, so I’d like to do something more holistic than international marketing.”