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Global Studies Alum Travels World, Finds Career in Event Marketing

By Kylie Gray

July 24, 2018

Drexel University Global Studies Alumni Rebecca Olsho

Growing up, Rebecca Olsho ’16 recalls the global languages and cultures shared around her family’s dinner table. Her parents frequently opened their home to foreign exchange students, exposing Olsho to the diverse perspectives and opportunities of the world.

At age twelve, she traveled solo to Germany to visit a former exchange student. At seventeen, she spent her junior year of high school abroad in France. Those early travels fueled her passion and led her to Drexel, to the Global Studies major, where she continued to fill her passport as she explored the world through co-op, research and study abroad.

Today, Olsho is building a career in event marketing at Clarivate Analytics, traveling to international trade shows and making connections around the globe in a position she began as a co-op student.

Building an International Résumé

From the moment she arrived at Drexel, Olsho wasted no time in pursuing every globally oriented opportunity she could find. As a freshman, she received a STAR (Students Tackling Advanced Research) scholarship that took her to Crete, Greece, where she researched national sovereignty issues surrounding natural gas in the southeast Mediterranean.

For her first co-op the following year, she worked with international companies to coordinate the import and customs process at a supply chain operator. This experience, along with her courses in management and international business trends, equipped her with the skills to later consult for a startup in Prague.

Part of the business, economics and development track in the Global Studies major, Olsho says that the program’s focus on language was one of the reasons she chose Drexel. She complemented her French fluency with courses in Spanish and Italian, opening more doors with her multilingual skills.

She put her Spanish skills to practice, first as a volunteer in Guatemala, where she studied development and built safe stoves for impoverished families, and then as one of the first two Drexel students to study abroad in Chile. While there, she lived with a Chilean host family, took all of her courses in Spanish, and spent time traveling throughout South America.

Drexel Global Studies Alumni Rebecca Olsho while a student at the World's Fair in Milan, Italy

When she was selected as a U.S. student ambassador to the World's Fair in Milan, Italy, Olsho added beginner Italian courses to her schedule. One of only 120 students chosen nationwide, she spent her second co-op representing the United States at the six-month international innovation exhibition.

“As student ambassadors, we were meant to essentially be the faces of the U.S. pavilion,” she says. “The theme of the fair was “Feeding the Planet: Energy for Life,” so we greeted guests and discussed food innovation and sustainability practices in the United States. I gained a lot of experience navigating different cultures and interacting with people from all over the world.”

Finding a Career Through Co-op

Her diverse international and professional experiences helped Olsho hone her interests within her major. It was during her third co-op — closer to home this time, in Philadelphia — that she found her career calling.

“I was always interested in the creative side of marketing, and even picked up a last-minute marketing minor,” she says. “My third co-op, in event marketing at Thomson Reuters, fit with everything that I wanted. I really clicked with the team and connected with my boss.”

Olsho helped the events team at Thomson Reuters, an international mass media and information corporation, plan and market the company’s presence at trade shows and events. Her co-op coincided with the transition of her division to form a new company, Clarivate Analytics. Olsho worked part-time at Clarivate following her co-op and accepted a full-time position shortly after graduation.

“My co-op opened a door that might not have otherwise been available to me. I probably could have found an entry-level position in event marketing, but not one with the level of responsibility that I was given,” she says. “Drexel prepared me with the skills I needed to get a leg up — even just knowing how to properly send an email or jump on a call, and how to operate in the workplace.”

Olsho is currently the North America events lead for the scientific and academic research division of Clarivate Analytics, which sells subscription-based software services focused on scholarly research innovation. Her international experiences bolster her confidence as she greets the academics, government officials and other attendees who stop by her company’s booth at over 30 trade shows each year.

When she’s not traveling to trade shows in places like the U.K., Germany, San Francisco and Atlanta, she is growing her digital marketing experience at the company’s Fairmount office. Managing Clarivate’s presence at each show involves a lot of work behind the scenes — juggling logistics, vendor relationships, social media, email campaigns, a $600,000 budget and more — but she likes seeing all of her work come together.

“Meeting clients face to face gives me a better understanding of our client base,” Olsho says. “The company has gone through a lot of changes over the past year and a half. I’ve been here since the beginning, trying to build brand awareness. We all have more responsibilities than before, and I’m learning a lot."

Making Connections and Lifelong Friendships

After over a year in her role at Clarivate, Olsho has started to think more about being a resource to newer members of the team — namely, the Drexel co-op students who have followed in her career footsteps.

“This was the first year that I helped with every stage of the co-op hiring process,” she says. “I’m planning to get a welcome package together for the next co-op student, which will lay out first steps and tips to understanding the team. I’m looking forward to being a mentor and sharing what I wish I had known coming in.”

Her close bonds and travels around the world — most recently, to Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates — have continued to expand her perspective and help her flourish in her career. She recently reunited with a former exchange student in London, and with her friends from study abroad to attend one of their weddings in Mexico.

Her experiences abroad have affirmed what she learned around the dinner table as a child: There is something special about international travel, and about the connections one makes in the process.

“Friendships made abroad are intense because you go through changes together. Most of my close friends are international,” she says. “You get out of your comfort zones, and you get through it together.”