Going global 2007

Marisol McNairnay, BSc'10, BCom'10; Gillian Owens, BCom'04; Peter McConaghy, BCom'07,
profile from 2007

Marisol McNairnay, BSc'10, BCom'10; Gillian Owens, BCom'04; Peter McConaghy, BCom'07

In 2007, 67 percent of third-year Commerce students participated in an international exchange - the highest ever for the school since the program was established in 1994, and the highest percentage of any Canadian business school.

"It was an incredible experience. I saw a lot of what I studied happening around me, and that really complemented the in-class learning. It was a great way to learn about emerging economic development. I met people from everywhere," said Peter McConaghy, BCom'07, who went on exchange to Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand. "It really broadened my perspective. Plus, now I have an international network. It's a great way to interact with other future global business leaders. Thirty years from now, I might see these people on the other side of a boardroom table."

For Marisol McNairnay, BSc'10, BCom'10, one semester abroad wasn't enough. "By November I decided to stay for the full year. The classes were interesting and provide a different, European perspective on international business, which is my primary interest," she explained. "Also, by staying for the winter semester, I have the possibility of finding an internship here for the summer, perhaps with a German company, which is something that I would like to do. Once I have finished university, it may be a long time before I have the chance to do anything like this again, so I want to make the most of the opportunity. The best thing about being on exchange is the new perspective I am getting in all areas - in class and day to day life, mainly from the German and international students. The most valuable thing I will be bringing home with me is the experience of different cultures - mainly German, but also those of my flatmates and other international students. Academically, I have gained new perspectives on many aspects of business, especially international business. I've also gotten to know a business mentality other than the North American one."

Gillian Owens, BCom'04, "believes her life changed as a result of her exchange experience. It sparked her interest in working for an international organization. Upon graduating, she joined Foreign Affairs Canada - hired, she says, mainly because she demonstrated a willingness to travel and the ability to adapt to life in another country. Gillian is thrilled with her first official posting to the Hague, in the Netherlands, where she is second secretary and consul. 'A year in France, meeting and befriending Europeans, altered my outlook on life, my values and what I wanted. This was especially evident to me when I returned to Canada, to my old life at Queen's, and no longer saw things the same way. It gave me perspective on my prior assumptions,'" she said.