Students from West Virginia University’s College of Business and Economics are currently immersed in the European Innovation Academy in Turin, Italy, a learning environment designed for future entrepreneurs and business leaders from all over the world.
EIA, which began July 9 and will run through July 28, will create a multicultural ecosystem of 600 students and faculty from 68 nationalities. During the 15 days of instruction, B&E students Elizabeth McIntyre and Maria Carbone will participate in approximately 70 learning sessions, encompassing studying in Turin and day trips to Milan and Rome. The two B&E students are taking part in EIA thanks to support from the Robbins Center for Global and Business Strategy and the BrickStreet Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
“I never imagined being a part of such an opportunity,” said McIntyre, a Charleston native who graduated with a finance degree from B&E on May 13. “I am hopeful that my experience with this program will enable me to build connections globally and allow me the experience of working with other cultures.”
Carbone, a junior marketing student from Inwood, said EIA represented an incredible opportunity. “I’m hoping to be able to connect with other like-minded students who see themselves as future business professionals. I am also hoping to have conversations with companies that will be present. By the end of the three weeks, I hope to have established networking connections to potentially call on in the future for internship and job opportunities.”
Their busy schedules will include study in Turin with trips to Milan for the Customer Discovery Session and a Product Showcase Session in Rome. The location provides proximity to and draws resources from companies such as Fiat Chrysler Automotive, Gucci, Prada, Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati. The academy will feature an estimated 27 different guest speakers from companies such as Google, Unity Technologies, Fiat Chrysler and Ferrari. Students will have the opportunity to launch new innovations, gain insights into the startup life, and receive mentoring from 150 different educators and business professionals.
“I hope to learn both the technical and philosophical approach to building a small business. I would like to apply it to a venture of my own one day or use it for general knowledge that might be helpful if I wish to invest in ventures in the future,” McIntyre said. “I’m so excited to go abroad and meet people from all over the world. I have always wanted to build my own business, so being involved in a program like this and being abroad was just an opportunity I could not pass up.”
McIntyre and Carbone applied for the EIA program through the WVU business school, and were selected by a committee following the application and interview processes. The two, who will be members of project teams at EIA, will each submit a two-page report upon their return on how they believe they have grown as a result of the experience.
“I hope to learn business strategies that I can use now and in the future. I want to know how a project team works, collaborates and achieves goals within a company,” said Carbone. “Being able to go to a conference dedicated on how to start your own company while experiencing all of the usual experiences that come with studying abroad is an incredible bonus! When I was notified I had been chosen for this program, I came to the conclusion that I was going to be able to learn and gain something much greater over my summer break that a typical internship wouldn't be able to offer me.”
McIntyre said, “The global aspect of the program is what makes it incredibly unique and allows for a broader range of skills and ideas to be brought to the table. International business and finance was a favorite subject of mine, so getting to learn about the economies of these places first hand will be incredible.”
For more information about the WVU College of Business and Economics, follow B&E on Twitter at @wvucobe or visit business.wvu.edu.
CONTACT: Patrick Gregg, WVU
College of Business and Economics
Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.