When Céline Grootes settles into her desk at Google’s European headquarters in Dublin, Ireland and reflects on what got her there, just a few months after graduating from a BCom at Sauder, two key experiences pop into mind – her student exchanges to Hong Kong and Shanghai.

“Having international exchange on your resumé shows you’re adaptable and willing to go out of your comfort zone,” she says, adding she intentionally chose locations to challenge her. When she applied to study in Shanghai, she had yet to learn any Mandarin Chinese. When asked for career advice by current students, she encourages them to be just as bold in pushing their boundaries.

And now BComs at Sauder will have an easier time following in her footsteps, thanks to a significant new cash award that aims to help break down financial barriers to international experience. Starting this fall, the new HSBC International Business Award will be granted to two top Sauder students each school year, with a total of six awards available over three years (2015-17).

In the last academic year, Grootes was one of 221 BCom students from Sauder who went on exchange to 22 different countries on four continents. Including partnership agreements with 71 business schools in 29 countries, Sauder’s exchange program network is one of the most extensive of its kind in North America.

Sauder's global opportunities“For many of our students, going on exchange is an integral part of their Sauder experience. It’s a valuable way to learn how business works in other cultures, while building their network abroad and discovering new career opportunities,” says Pamela Lim, Assistant Dean and Director of Sauder’s Undergraduate Program.

“This scholarship will provide an excellent opportunity for more students to go on exchange who otherwise may not have been able to because of the expense.”

The HSBC International Business Award is designed to help cover the costs of studying abroad, and is granted on the basis of academic achievement, leadership and financial need. Students can also apply for summer internships with HSBC, as well as placements with the bank’s management trainee programs after graduation.

Grootes says she not only learned about different cultures, but by pushing herself she also learned more about what makes her tick and what she is capable of. “Because I was all by myself in an unfamiliar environment, I felt my life was more in my own hands than ever before. It was one of the most challenging and rewarding things I’ve ever done,” she says.

She says she’s grateful to have a network of colleagues and friends scattered across the globe, many of whom also leveraged their international experience to get their first pick of post-graduation jobs.

“Studying abroad helps students to develop the skills and mindset needed to collaborate and compete on a global stage,” says Jason Henderson, executive vice president and head of global banking and markets for HSBC Bank Canada, and executive sponsor of the new award program. “The HSBC International Business Awards will lower financial barriers to international study for 60 deserving students across Canada – including six deserving students at Sauder – and possibly give them an opportunity to build an international career at HSBC.”

Sauder is one of ten business schools benefiting from the award, which will be given to a total of 60 students over three years. The HSBC International Business Award at Sauder will support students going on an international exchange in their third or fourth year of the BCom program.


Challenge to Change