During the 2017 Spring Semester, the company Avispado: A Busybee company, sprang to life. Six students from the United States who were studying abroad in Bilbao, Spain worked diligently to ensure their virtual firm emulated a real life business simulation. From answering the company phone and speaking in Spanish to negotiating with other virtual firms via Skype. Each student played an integral part of the company making sure it ran effectively and efficiently. The Firm is broken into four departments: Management, Human Resources, finance/accounting, and Sales. Each Student chose their role according to what their interests were. Although there are different departments they all worked together. The students have had the opportunity to conduct business with other virtual companies from around the world. Being a Spanish company they do most of their business in Spain, however, they have clients in Belgium, Italy, Indonesia, and the United States just to name a few of the countries.
Although most of the hours working are spent with clients, it was important to do some team building along the way too. In March, Avispado was represented at the International Virtual Firm Conference in Brussels Belgium. Team members networked with both current customers and potential new clients.
We spoke with the six students who participated in the Avispado internship about how it changed their time abroad.
In this program, I learned to work in a group, how to collaborate with other people, new ways to brainstorm and come up with ideas to help the company, and how companies work internationally. This program was a great experience on how companies run in the office and has prepared me more for the future. I have learned a lot and I am glad to be a part of the Avispado team. Matthew Fermin (Accounting Manager) Pace University, New York City
“The Virtual Firm program has allowed me to explore my drive and interest for entrepreneurial ventures. Through this program I have learned many valuable skills associated with making deals and contracts; determining prices of services and their related cost, and how to work independently in my own position for daily objectives and then come back together as a group towards our common goals.” Logan Reilly (Finance Manager) Kansas State University
“I will be honest, I was a bit skeptical about virtual firm when I first heard about it. I was of the opinion that it would all be make believe and would not really help me in any way, I wouldn’t really learn anything I don’t already know and I would simply be wasting my time. Having been involved with Avispado for almost five months now, I can confidently state that my experience with virtual firm has been educational and rewarding and has developed skills that I will continue to use in the future.” Mahad Asim (Delivery and Sales Manager) The University of Texas, Arlington
“Avispado has allowed me to take everything that I have learned in my business classes and apply them to the business world. It has completely opened up my mind about how a company operates. Students get to make connections with companies from all over the world and learn how other countries operate their businesses. It is great that you can take a group of students who have never met each other, and then have them “run” a company together. It challenges you to think fast, think outside the box, and make quick decisions.” Robbie McKinlay (Company Manager) The University of Nevada, Las Vegas
“Adding Virtual Business as a course has been a decision I don’t regret making. I was excited at the thought of communicating with other businesses in Europe. I chose to work on the Marketing and PR aspects of the business since marketing is my major. I enjoyed every minute I was working with my other classmates and was excited whenever we would meet with another client. I have gotten into the rhythm of things and wished that it didn’t have to end so soon.” Alexis Jacob (Marketing Manager) California State University, Chico
“The hands on experience that you receive is absolutely amazing. To be able to take what I had learned in my business classes and apply it in the firm office each day has prepared me for the workforce that I will be entering in less than a year. I feel more confident networking with businesses and conducting business negotiations. Attending the International Conference and presenting our company was definitely a highlight. I have enjoyed working with the rest of the Avispado Team. You will not regret being a part of the Virtual Firm and all of the skills it had to offer!!” Paige Ridley (Human Resource Manager) The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa
If you’re interested in participating in the Virtual Firm internship, email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on getting enrolled in the USAC internship program. This internship is in high demand in Bilbao and has limited spaces.