Global perspectives: Dual-degree program gives students international business experiences

Katherine Sipple ’15 wants to unite her love for music with international nonprofit work and business strategies

Established in 2011, the international business dual-degree program offers students a unique opportunity to earn two business degrees in four years, one from Elon University and one from the ESB Business School at Reutlingen University in Germany or NEOMA Business School in France. Elon students take core classes at Elon and begin to learn the language of the country where they will be studying.

Then, beginning in their junior year, Elon students will start their studies at Reutlingen University or NEOMA Business School. Students are required to do a semester-long, full-time internship the spring of their junior year and will gain invaluable business experience in a multicultural environment.

Katherine Sipple is currently enrolled in the international business dual-degree program studying international brand management at NEOMA in France.

Tom Tiemann, director of the dual degree program, said the program was developed to help business school students take advantage of study abroad opportunities that are more long-term.

“It’s going to be really hard to not deal internationally in a career,” Tiemann said.

Katherine Sipple ’15 is currently enrolled in the dual-degree program and studying international brand management at NEOMA. The Cary, N.C. native is adjusting to her first semester in France and enjoying the opportunities she has to grow professionally and personally while abroad.

Sipple is the first person to be featured in a series of profiles about students enrolled in the dual-degree program and their experiences studying international business.

She answered questions recently from the Love School of Business about her experience.

What professional skills have you developed through the dual degree program?

I have developed my communication skills through group work in multicultural teams.  Additionally, for spring semester, I will complete a 26-week internship that will give me the opportunity to further develop my professional skills.

How did you decide what country you would study in?

Language was the main factor in deciding what country I wanted to study in. I took three years of French in high school and have never taken German before, so I chose to do the dual-degree program in France.

Why were you interested in learning a foreign language and living in another country?

I was interested in participating in the dual-degree program because of the unique opportunity it gives me to study in two different countries and obtain business degrees from two universities that will help me be successful in today’s global business world.

Do you plan to live abroad after graduation?

I would love to live abroad after graduation, but I think that it will be more likely that my first job will be in the U.S.

What are your career goals?

I have been very involved in community service and volunteer work throughout my life and I would love to be able to continue that work in my career, perhaps by working in marketing for a non-profit organization or a NGO. Additionally, music has been a big part of my life. If possible, I would like to incorporate music into my career as well by working for a symphony or a NGO with ties to music. I play the flute. I started playing when I was nine, so I’ve been playing for about 11 years now. At Elon, I was involved in flute ensemble, marching band, pep band, and phoenix winds (wind ensemble). I am also a member of Tau Beta Sigma, which is a national band service sorority.