IB majors can do anything (warning: planning required)!

By: Angela Arnold

Angela Carreño Arnold
Angela is a senior at Millikin University in Decatur, IL studying International Business. She leads International Student Organization and French Club as President at MU and is active in the Office of Campus Life and the Center for International Education. Angela plans to serve in the Peace Corps and join the U.S. Foreign Service after completing a graduate degree.

Being an International Business major at Millikin University is a versatile and unique experience for every student within the program. What I enjoy about this particular major is that there are an abundance of career pathways. IB majors have full range of customizing their degree program to fit their interests and career goals. Ultimately, you put in what you hope to get out.

I was lucky enough to interview Emmy Tran, a fellow IB student and senior here at Millikin. She is a commuter so her experiences within the program have been significantly different than mine, but she gives an honest analysis of this degree along with advice for prospective IB students.

Nhung Tran

As I mentioned, Emmy does not live on campus so she is unable to “participate in many activities that MU provides.” When she is on campus for classes or meetings, she tries to participate in “some ISO events or other student organization events such as LASO.” She points out that many events and performances take place at night, and by that point she has already left for the day and is either at work or at home. Emmy has an off-campus job working at her family’s nail salon in town which does not leave much time for Millikin social events. 

Emmy also touches on the amount of time she spends on homework each week, which is usually higher when she is working with teammates on a group project. Emmy states that IB majors have an abundance of group projects and that she usually spends a lot of time with her teammates throughout the semester.  

When she is not focused on school or work, Emmy enjoys “spending time with Millikin international students in Decatur and out of town.” 

Emmy does have advice for prospective IB majors-

“In my opinion, other IB majors should consider arranging more classes related to International Business/Economics, Culture, and History.”

She also has suggestions to improve the IB major, stating that-

“Only one IB225 should be given instead of two, and it should be shortened to an 8-week course.” and “I have taken many classes with the same professors, I want to have different styles and knowledge about International Relations, so they should also consider this. IB students will have more opportunities to mingle with other international students through the CIE or ISO events.”

Hearing from Emmy, I reached out to a Millikin staff member who teaches an IB course in order to hear from the prospective of a Millikin employee. This particular IB course is designed for domestic students planning to or returning from a study abroad and for international exchange students while they study at Millikin. Briana Stephens Quintenz is also Director of the Center for International Education and works with IB students when they are planning for their semester abroad. She meets with all of us at one point or another since IB students are required to study abroad.

“My suggestion is that IB students plan in advance. What happens is that the student’s junior year comes along and they do not study abroad. Then their senior year arrives and the student starts to panic, demanding that I find a solution for them. Plan early! As an IB major, you should know and expect to go abroad, so if you’re serious about being an IB major then you need to start coming into the CIE and meeting with me during your freshman year. Start looking at our partner universities, start looking into scholarship opportunities, start saving money, etc.

Also, talk to your advisor about the fact that you are required to study abroad. Not all IB majors are advised by IB faculty members, so a new Entrepreneurship faculty member may not be aware of this requirement. Ultimately, it is the student’s responsibility to understand their own curriculum and requirements. Take the time to make sure you know when and what you need to be doing because traveling is a life changing experience, but it requires a lot of planning.”

Overall, a day in the life of an IB student is all about planning and coordinating, your day, your semester, your year, and your experience at Millikin as a year. Start early when planning your study abroad to ensure you don’t fall behind. And be prepared for lots and lots of group work! 

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