Carl H. Lindner College of BusinessCarl H. Lindner College of BusinessUniversity of Cincinnati

Carl H. Lindner College of Business

Honors Scholar Gets a Worldly Education

International education is an educational priority at UC. Few students have better taken advantage of their UC experience to gain a wider vision of the world than December '09 graduate Jenna Yoder.

The world has been Jenna Yoder's classroom over the last four years at the University of Cincinnati.

Yoder served as a student marshal for the College of Business at UC's Commencement ceremony on Dec. 12, 2009, despite the fact that she had already been working full-time for the last three months for Ethicon Endo-Surgery, training for a demanding position in the company's medical device sales force, which would soon take her to Texas.

College, though, frequently took her much farther from home than that.

Yoder made trips to five different countries in her time as a UC student. Four of the trips were study abroad experiences. International education is an academic priority at UC, with Yoder and more than 850 other UC students benefiting from a study abroad experience in the last academic year.

Yoder came to UC from her hometown of Marysville, Ohio, as a part of the UC College of Business' Marvin P. Kolodzik Business Scholars program. The marketing major also double-minored in international business and Spanish.

Although she loves to travel, Yoder had never been outside of the United States prior to enrolling at UC, except for a family vacation to Mexico. As a freshman, though, she began to truly see the advantages of broadening her horizons on a College of Business study tour to Montreal.

“That was my first experience and it just really hooked me in terms of having a desire to learn about other cultures around the world,” Yoder says. “Montreal is so diverse, with so many things combined in one space. You've got a Portuguese sector of that city, an Italian sector, a Chinese sector and so on. From that point on, I made it a goal to study abroad each year.”

Like most things that Yoder did at UC, she pursued that goal with enthusiasm.

When she was a sophomore, she saw Italy as part of the UC Honors Program's “Music, Art, and Thought in Medici Florence” course. In the summer between her sophomore and junior years, Yoder went on a service trip to Mexico.

By her junior year, she was up to spending an entire quarter overseas, as she studied about and explored Spain. Then, as she wrapped up her senior year of studies this past summer, she finished her UC coursework by studying for a month in China.

“My goal for college was to have as broad an experience as possible, and that went from co-op to study abroad. What I learned was the value in studying a certain topic in its own environment. For instance, to study Spanish in Spain was so valuable as a student. You grasp what you are learning so much better.”

The time in Spain was a period of particular growth for Yoder. She was extremely involved on campus as a UC student with obligations involving the Kolodzik Business Scholars program and other efforts within the College of Business, as well as outside groups such as the Student Alumni Council and the women's honorary CWEST (Cincinnati Women of Excellence and Spirit Together).

“The biggest thing for me when I was in Spain was understanding that life was still going on back home, and trying to take my experience and live it to the fullest where I was. I really had to come to understand that I can't control the things that I can't control,” Yoder recalls. “That's been helpful. In the work environment, that's a great lesson – that you sometimes have to be able to let something go and move on.”

With the most dynamic business environment in the world right now, China was a fitting final international experience for Yoder as a UC student.

She came away amazed with a place where you can see the highest tech environments in the world sometimes side-by-side with people living in Third World conditions. How business was done was another eye-opener, as the ancient influences of Chinese culture make the development of a relationship with a potential business associate a prerequisite that often isn't present in business dealings in the United States.

Revelations weren't just business-related for Yoder.

“I will say the people there were so kind and happy to meet you. I'm a foodie and the food was incredible, some of the best I've had. But the population was the biggest shock to me – no matter where you go or the time of day, you are never alone.”

She also got a taste of her future employer's environment. Just prior to the trip, Yoder learned she would be going to work for Ethicon, and her itinerary in China included a visit to the company's Asian training facility, located in Beijing.

She thinks her international emphasis at UC is already paying off in many ways in her young career at Ethicon.

“I work with international sales reps and employees all the time,” Yoder says. “Part of my job description is helping with our job-training program, and you have people from all over coming here to Cincinnati. That mindset of working with people from other countries, and having been in their shoes of being in a different country and having to be open to a new way of thinking, has helped me tremendously.”