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News > News > 2 Million Flyer Miles and Counting

2 Million Flyer Miles and Counting

Alum sells American made products to the global market 
10 Oct 2023
Steven Bross '08 at an LNG Shanghai Gas Conference
Steven Bross '08 at an LNG Shanghai Gas Conference

Steven Bross ‘08 has traveled to 15 countries in his career as a regional sales manager selling custom equipment for the global power, oil, gas, chemical, mining, and wastewater industries. He attributes his globe-trotting career to his study abroad experiences at Arcadia, which gave him a taste for travel and the international experience employers wanted. Graduating in 2008 with a degree in business administration and a minor in Italian, Steve still lives near the University’s campus when he’s not abroad. Below he shares how his Arcadia experience helped shape his life and career. 

What about the culture of Arcadia made you feel supported, even when studying abroad?

The smaller school size was a big pull. I think at Arcadia, you’re seeing the same friendly faces of professors and friends a lot, so you’re building better relationships within the four-years [at the University]. I still keep in contact with a lot of the friends that I had, and the internship I had while in school helped me a lot with my career. As part of the Business program, I interned at Myrell-Lynch and it was catalyst to getting my first job out of school.

How does your international experience play into your role today?

I was able to spend Preview in London, and spent a semester abroad in Italy. My minor was in Italian. My international experience became a key factor to me securing my first job, before graduation, in international sales. A month after being hired, I was then sent to Germany. 

Ironically, I have actually not been back to Italy, but have spent a lot of time in Asia in my career. Cumulatively, I’ve spent probably 18 months on business abroad across 15 countries, from a few weeks to a few months each year, totaling over 2,000,000 flier miles.

What do you like most about your current role, and in what ways has your global approach benefitted your career?

I like selling a USA made, technically engineered product to the global market. I’m a business major, but I’ve always enjoyed science and technology, so I definitely get to exercise that part of the brain in this position. I also really enjoy having meetings, discussing products, and building the confidence to share products and knowledge.

The second best is the food–you cannot forget about the food–it’s one of the first things I do when I land. Throw the bags in the hotel and get some local food. Frog legs and fish eyes, not my favorite. Live squid squirming in your mouth and blowfish sashimi is exciting, but steamed squid in spicy lime sauce is my favorite (pla meuk neung manao)…gets the taste buds going. 

Selling in heavy industries like oil, gas, petrochemicals, and power allows me to understand the global economy. What happens in one geographical area or industry will affect another. It’s interesting to be involved in these industries and see how the market changes over time to meet shifting demands. 

Particularly now with the oil, gas, and power industries adapting to meet consumer demands for more renewables and advanced technologies for pollution control. I like the aspect of learning each country's differences and nuances, and this helps even domestically, constantly tweaking your business and sales attitude to fit the needs of your consumer.

If you could go back and tell yourself anything as a first-year student at Arcadia, what would it be?

As a First-Year, network more! It’s a huge thing I never considered or took advantage of. First, second, or third year, you should be networking at Arcadia community events or in the Philadelphia area, or in your specific field. The connections you make there, that itself could lead to a job instead of applying to 100 jobs…people lead to people! Talking to people can create an opportunity for you that the person didn’t even know they needed. 

After graduating, I did organizational things like setting personal and professional goals, making budgets and financial plans, etc. and these are things I think which really helped me focus, especially the first few years out of college. I find it very helpful to measure how far I’ve come and to maintain where I’m going.

What recommendations do you have for current and future students looking to pursue international business?
DO IT!  

PROs: excitement, food, culture, and meeting fellow business travelers. There is a surrealness about it, sometimes when you find yourself in a moment and tell yourself, “I’m not in Kansas anymore”. It’s a great confidence boost to be able to manage your own schedule and be your own boss. The huge international focus Arcadia puts on its students is wonderful.

CONs: it’s a lot of “dinner for one”, so you have to be okay with solo-travel and being independent because you’ll need to make a lot of decisions on the fly. You can’t call the boss back home during their midnight, and different time-zones sometimes make communication tricky.

When you first get into international travel, be sure to focus on the business, that’s what you’re there for. The fun will follow when you have the time. It will take a lot of effort, so be prepared to work longer hours than a typical 9am to 5pm because of the time-zones. Read and learn about the culture before you go, even learn a few words like ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’ in the local language. It goes a long way to show effort into assimilation into other worldly cultures.

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