Representatives from UniGroup speak with students during the fourth annual International Business Career Conference Friday at UMSL. Representatives from more than 30 companies were on hand for the event. (Photo by Jennifer Hatton)

More than 250 students from 24 universities in numerous states descended upon the University of Missouri–St. Louis Friday to take part in the fourth annual International Business Career Conference.

“This year’s conference exceeded all my expectations,” said Betty Vining, assistant teaching professor of marketing and faculty adviser for the conference. “We had students from as far away as Virginia.”

The conference, “Launching Your Global Career,” began with a keynote address by Susan Lang, senior vice president and chief supply chain officer at Express Scripts.

“My main message to students is to look up and think forward,” Lang said. “In 20 years all business will be international, it’s important for students to get started somewhere. Find somewhere with an international division and dive in.”

UMSL business major Sheena Crompton served as the project coordinator for the conference, which was put together by students in the International Business Honor Society, International Business Institute and College of Business Administration at UMSL.

“We attribute much of this success to our distinguished lineup of executive speakers and workshop leaders,” Crompton said. “It has been a once in a lifetime learning experience to be able to collaborate with top professionals for this unique conference. I think it’s important for students to hear advice from professionals who are in the positions we desire for our futures. It proves how valuable this conference is when so many professionals take time out of their busy schedules to come talk to students and give us advice on what we should be doing now to get to where they are, where we want be in the future.”

Participants also took part in a series of workshops and panel discussions, as well as a networking lunch session which gave students the opportunity to talk directly to individuals from area companies.

“Our sponsors were so involved with the students we could hardly separate them to participate in the planned programs,” Vining said. “The food was international, diverse and delicious with most recipes originating from our international student organizations. And our program speakers, beginning with Susan Lang, just blew everyone away with their stories and advice. My email was totally overflowing with positive responses when I returned home. I don’t think we can top this one!”

Jen Hatton

Jen Hatton