Business grad makes the world her classroom

(Edmonton) As a new graduate from the University of Alberta School of Business, Deanna Dow can’t wait to take on the world. And thanks to a new global certificate, her resumé has some extra oomph.

When she crosses the stage Nov. 19 to collect her bachelor of commerce degree (with distinction), Dow, 22, also becomes the first U of A graduate to receive the newly minted Certificate in International Learning. Created by University of Alberta International and the Faculty of Arts, the certificate is a value-added academic credential that recognizes the globally focused achievements of undergraduates, ranging from out-of-country field placements and volunteer work to academic study.

“The certificate gives students from all over campus the opportunity to receive formal recognition for their commitment to learning about other regions of the world, to better understanding global challenges, to making use of learning opportunities abroad, studying a foreign language and engaging in international projects on campus and in the community,” said Britta Baron, vice-provost and associate vice-president international. “The certificate program creates some structure around all these opportunities.”

It also shows potential employers the student’s “readiness to engage in international careers and awareness of the complexities of an increasingly global environment,” Baron added. “The certificate is a key component of our university's commitment to international learning. The U of A has a responsibility to help our students live a good life, a life that is successful and a life committed to upholding key values of tolerance and empathy for people who look, speak and act differently from us.”

Besides Dow, 65 other students are registered in the program.

Dow earned the U of A certificate through her natural enthusiasm for touring the globe (so far, 16 countries and more than 60 cities) and wanting to know more about the world.  

“I have a genuine interest in people and the world around me and I am always looking for a challenge. I am passionate about business, travelling, learning new cultures and being a catalyst for positive social change.”

Since enrolling in the U of A business school in 2009, Dow has gone on a learning journey that has taken Dow to the University of Haifa in Israel to study Arabic, the University of Edinburgh in Scotland to finish her U of A degree, and here at home, involvement with the campus chapters of Amnesty International and Model United Nations. All of those experiences, plus a capstone project, helped her earn the certificate—and along the way, brought home the importance of having international horizons.

“The certificate requirements make me more aware of a globalized world, and make me a well-rounded student. I got a second language, I built my community networking. It is one thing to be book-smart, but another to be well rounded.”

As well, the U of A certificate “introduced me to an international education, which in turn enabled me to communicate effectively across cultures and experience new ideas, make decisions for myself and form my own opinions as well as new ways of dealing with different people, beliefs and values,” said Dow, who plans to use her love of networking to build a career with an international company.

Graduating with a major in international business and a minor in marketing, Dow aspires to find a position that will get her doing business around the world, taking her U of A education to new heights and along the way, making a difference in economic development.

At some point, Dow hopes to put her business and Arabic language skills to work for a company promoting positive change.

While in the classroom, Dow has earned several scholarships, including the U of A’s Rod and Judith Fraser International Undergraduate Learning Award and the Business Alumni Association Undergraduate Scholarship.

Dow credits her U of A education for giving her the skills to fulfil her dreams of an international career.

“My education at the U of A, combined with the skills and experience I’ve gained so far, have given me a truly global mindset and worldly strengths. The lessons I learned here I’m going to use throughout my career.”