Rensselaer Lally students Will Zucker ’18, Lauren Hiltz ’18, and Marcos Banchik ’19 were named the 2017 Geneen Fellows in International Responsible Management.

The transformative student experience that Rensselaer provides its students gives them an array of opportunities for experiential learning, development, and community that fosters collaborations and connections that remain steadfast over time. This includes the Lally School of Management undergraduate program that prepares students to perform well and become extraordinary agents of change in today’s challenging and global world of business. To that end, there are also a number of scholarships and fellowships that broaden and enhance the journey that Rensselaer students take while pursuing their studies.

Recently, Rensselaer Lally students Marcos Banchik ’19 (double major in computer science), Lauren Hiltz ’18, and Will Zucker ’18 were named Geneen Fellows in International Responsible Management. The named fellows are undergraduate students who met the fellowship’s application criteria and exhibited a strong interest in promoting responsible corporate management. These students were able to partake in five weeks of study and research this summer on international corporate social responsibility (CSR) for IBM executives in Beijing and Shanghai, China. This is the second year—through the generosity of the Harold S. Geneen Charitable Trust, whose principal mission is to foster the education of young people and promote responsible corporate management—that fellowships have been provided to Rensselaer students.

“At Lally, we emphasize applied projects, teamwork, and offer real-world experiences that prepare our students for successful careers in a variety of global business fields,” said Tom Begley, dean of the Lally School. “Different societies often invoke different standards of responsible management, and we are grateful to the Harold S. Geneen Charitable Trust for their support of these fellowships for our undergraduates to gain direct experience grappling with these important issues.”

During their time overseas, the fellows studied artificial intelligence development in China and other leading countries. They also conducted research on cognitive computing, design thinking, STEM education, and automation in the automobile industry. Additionally, they networked with Rensselaer students in China who were completing the away semester portion of The Arch at Rensselaer program, as well as with incoming international students, and Rensselaer alumni and alumnae.

“I am grateful to have been afforded the opportunity to visit China to work under one of the most respected tech businesses in the world—the other fellows and I made sure to appreciate every moment,” said Banchik. “We learned and experienced so much about global markets and corporate social responsibility, it easily made that summer one of the best I’ve ever had.”

CSR is a business approach that drives organizational change toward sustainability by delivering economic, social, and environmental benefits for all stakeholders. CSR is a concept that is interpreted by and carried out differently by each company and country. CSR includes multiple applications, including corporate governance and ethics, health and safety, environmental stewardship, human rights, involvement of and respect for diverse cultures and disadvantaged peoples, corporate philanthropy and employee volunteering, and customer satisfaction and adherence to principles of fair competition.

“This fellowship created a great opportunity to gain hands-on experience working with IBM in China. My experience overseas was incredible and I immersed myself in a new culture while working with others with diverse backgrounds and experiences,” said Hiltz. “Overall, it was truly an unforgettable trip and I have gained so much knowledge and experience for the future.”

The student fellows said they received outstanding academic support and guidance from their advisers at Lally: the late Lois Peters, an associate professor and former director of the M.S. in Technology, Commercialization, and Entrepreneurship, and Susan Freeman, faculty adviser and lecturer. They also worked closely with business partners Julia Hong, IBM consultant in Shanghai, China; and Ying Zhan, IBM consultant in Beijing, China; and especially Vivian (Wei) Ding, Ph.D. director, STSM IBM Institute for Business Value, China IBM Global Business Services.

“In addition to the incredible opportunity to conduct research with IBM in Beijing, it was fascinating to be constantly exposed to so many different aspects of China,” said Zucker. “This fellowship was a remarkable experience that taught me greatly about corporate sustainability efforts, business consulting, and how these are uniquely impacted, shaped, and formed in other countries.”