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Testimonial by Cate Doyle Massey

About Cate Doyle Massey

Program/concentration and graduation year at GWU: GW ESIA ’08 – Major: International Affairs, Concentration: International Development Studies

Current Affiliation and Title: Sr. Human Resources Coordinator at Hasbro, Inc.,

Cate’s LinkedIn Profile

Cate’s Testimonial about Dr. Helm

A 2008 alumna of the Elliott School, I started being interested in business after studying abroad in China.  Thus my senior year I took several courses in the IB department, including Prof. Helm’s International Marketing Management.  I can honestly tell you that no other professor in my whole experience at GWU was able to connect with her students as fully, engage a class so completely in discussion, or motivate individuals to want to learn as Prof. Helm did with our class.

An average class, Prof. Helm would speak on the assigned topic for about half an hour, using a series of well-developed PowerPoint slides to organize her presentation, and handing out a printed copy of the slides for each of us to take notes on.  It was the most organized and thoughtful series of presentations in any class I had at GWU, as Prof. Helm managed to follow the organization of the PowerPoints without reading from any script.  Her organization for individual classes carried over into the entire course – her syllabus was well designed, balancing the large amount of work over the length of the course so that at no point would the students get truly overwhelmed. We knew exactly what we had to do to do well in the course, and when we had to do it.

She kept the class engaged and interested, and made it easy for us to take notes and study from the organized lectures and PowerPoint notes.  At specific points during the class, she would encourage discussion and ask questions to stimulate conversation.  The way that she led discussion, we often learned as much from each other as from the lecture.  It was definitely the most intellectually stimulating and interesting course that many of us had ever taken, as many of my classmates often discussed.  I looked forward to going to class every day, and work very hard outside of class to prepare for both classroom assignments and the project.  Prof. Helm went beyond a textbook, bringing in real world stories to discuss what it truly takes to market internationally, and then with our project, had us act the part of an international marketing team entering a new market.  We were assigned real companies going into countries that they are not currently in.  We had to research the country and its culture, how similar business have done in the past, and we really had to get into the specifics of learning what it would take for this company to enter this market.  The project seemed daunting – a 40-page group paper and professional presentation, complete with PowerPoint slides – about our plan to enter the assigned market.  Prof. Helm went through all 40 pages extensively with each group after the rough draft, explaining not just where it needed to be improved but why the changes would help improve the plan.  When we gave our presentations, Prof. Helm videotaped us all, had us watch our tape, and critique our own presentations.  The sense of accomplishment by completing such an extensive project was very fulfilling, and the continual feedback Prof. Helm offered along the way ensured that any student willing to put in the work and effort would learn something and do well.

Prof. Helm went above and beyond in helping her students, both in and out of the classroom.  When I decided to apply for jobs in international business, I asked for her advice, and she met me for coffee outside of class to discuss it and help me prepare for interviews.  She also encouraged her students to get involved in networking opportunities outside of the classroom, asking us to attend a GW CIBER career panel.  She showed us what it took to do business internationally, and then made sure she was there to help us achieve it.  She encouraged us to explore different aspects of marketing, such as the current sustainability/green trend in marketing and managing in an international context.  Each class always had an interesting lesson, and each assignment has a valid learning point that made the work worthwhile.  The course was challenging and time consuming, but the expectations were clear and the course well organized, so the students in the class had little pity for those who fell behind.  It was an extremely fair approach to teaching and grading – there was plenty of work, and challenging coursework, but we knew what we had to learn and when we were expected to complete certain elements. I don’t think anyone was surprised by the final grade they received, because Prof. Helm made herself available to help anyone with a bad quiz grade or who was struggling with the project throughout the semester.

Anna Helm inspired me to continue a career in international business, and apply for graduate school at the Thunder Bird School of Global Management to pursue a consulting career in cross-cultural communications.  Truly, this course showed me how the cultural differences I saw during study abroad could be utilized in a business setting.  I have kept in touch with Prof. Helm through the last several years, and when she told me that she was applying for a full time position, I was thrilled.  She was by far the best professor in my college experience, and I believe GWU is lucky for having her in the classroom, and would be better still for having her on the faculty to continue inspiring students for years to come.

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