“It was like ‘Holy Sh*t, I’m getting my visa. I’m doing it,’” said Jeff Heller, PSUC senior on his decision to travel abroad this past summer.
The double major in business administration and supply chain management went to Ningbo, China this past summer at the Zhejiang Wanli University (ZWU), where he took a supply chain class with PSUC professor Kwangseek Choe. Heller first considered China when someone gave him a flyer in Ausable.
“There was a pretty girl who was sitting at a desk in Ausable trying to tell people about study abroad stuff, so I was like ‘Let me go talk to the girl,’” Heller said.
He started looking into the trip and went to the Global Education Office for more information. Eventually, he decided to go through with taking the global supply chain class.
Heller joined about 45 other students in the class, with him being one out of the seven students who was international. He was the only student to receive a perfect score on all his exams, with the class average being about a 75.
Choe said Heller was very active in class and created the foundation for there to be group discussions in class. He also said Chinese students took a liking to Heller too. Choe said that many students would ask him if Heller was the typical American, and Choe would say no.
“He’s very humble, but maybe that’s a reason why I like him so much. Because that is our Asian culture. Maybe that’s why Chinese students like him so much too —being humble and so nice, kind and gentle.”
While in China, Heller travelled to different business headquarters, including the Alibaba headquarters, which Heller described as the “Amazon of the East,”, a suit manufacturing company and a plastic manufacturer. Heller was in China for four weeks and said everyone was so nice that he would almost feel bad at times.
“The culture is entirely different in all of the ways that make you human. Like not green means red, and red means green, but it’s more different in the way people behave with other people,” Heller said. “The culture is so welcoming and polite that I felt like an anchor.”
Since returning, Heller has spent this semester interning for the fabrication department at Swarovski, the chandelier company.
“My job is to rewrite work instructions for how to create different products. A lot of the products made there are super complex,” Heller said. “The work instructions right now are kind of vague and don’t elaborate, so I have to rewrite all these instructions with what’s given to me and cut it up working with the technician or engineer.”
Heller attended SUNY Adirondack for two years and decided on business administration because he enjoyed working with people. Heller said PSUC was the only SUNY school that offered the major, so he transferred in 2015.
“It’s practical, logical; it makes sense,” Heller said. “It describes a lot of the pieces of business, the behind the scenes parts, such as the operations of how products get to and from different places from where you buy them, and where they’re made.”
PSUC professor Kevin O’Neill was Heller’s professor for Modeling Dynamic Systems, a Global Issues Honors seminar.
“That class is a class that really requires people to think a little bit differently about the world, and Jeff is one of the few people who really understands that you have to have a lateral thinking method, rather than a linear thinking method with regard to thinking about very complex social and public arenas,” O’Neill said.
Since meeting Heller, O’Neill said he has noticed how much assured Heller seems in his upper level classes. He said a large part of his class required a good sense of leadership and teamwork as well, and he saw that in Heller.
“He’d be an awesome graduate school candidate, in particular a Ph D program,” O’ Neill said. “Not just a straight masters, but a Ph.D because he has the intellectual capacity and intellectual curiosity to carry that off.”
O’Neill also said he can also see Heller being a great asset to any organization he chooses to go and work for in the future.
“He would be a strategic bumble bee. He’s able to engage multiple disciplines in multiple arenas at the same time,” O’Neill said. “I mean he’s also a funny guy. He has a very ironic sense of humor.”
Heller is also the treasurer of the Global Supply Chain Management Club. Heller said the most useful events they’ve held is touring local businesses, including Fastenal and Swarovski. Heller said the club also hosts LinkedIn nights, where students can make their LinkedIn profile more professional.
“It helps aggregate your experiences throughout all the different jobs you’ve had so far. It teaches you how to explain yourself in a professional way,” Heller said.
Heller said he isn’t sure what the next step is for him after graduation this fall, but he knows he has several avenues to choose from.
“I can do anything from manufacturing to distribution. It’s a big spread of opportunity, so I really have a lot to choose from. It’s just whatever comes my way,” Heller said.
Email Kavita Singh at firstname.lastname@example.org