A Visit from Craig L. Hall, the U.S. Consul General to Kolkata, India

Ankit Pandey, 2018 MBA Candidate, Crummer Graduate School of Business 



It was a fascinating experience to hear from the U.S. Consul General in Kolkata, Craig L. Hall. Before I attended his speaking event, I had minor knowledge about his position and the U.S. embassy in India in general. I honestly believed the embassy only dealt with visas and immigrations, but after hearing Dr. Hall’s speech, I learned there was more.  The embassy does deal with visas and immigrations, but it is also the foreign ambassador for the United States. It aids in building a better relationship between the two India and the U.S., and provides resources to shape the community surrounding the embassy. I learned about the research being done on curing tuberculosis, and the combined effort between researchers from the U.S. and India. I also learned about USAID (United States Agency of International Development) and the roles it plays in helping the allied countries develop in different areas such as economic, environment, finance, etc.


Dr. Hall also talked about career opportunities through the U.S. State Department, and how to become a qualified candidate for a Foreign Service Officer position. The process is much tougher than I thought, especially the initial exam, which requires a great deal of knowledge about world news in general. He also mentioned the hardships a person might face working in this field—the traveling involved, and random process of assigning countries to employees, at least in their early years.  If a person, however, is willing to embrace these hurdles, it is a great opportunity travel around the world.  Foreign Service Officers work in, learn, and experience the culture and the traditions of the countries where they are assigned.


I would like to thank Dr. Hall for taking time to visit Rollins College and speak.  It was inspiring to hear about his experiences in India, Indonesia, Iraq, and Australia. I was quite surprised he had a chance to visit Jamshedpur, India, a town where I was born.  He not only travels to different countries, but also to many major cities within the country, adding to his experience and mission as a Foreign Service Officer.



My Global Links Journey Begins – Phase I

By Dr. Rumpa Chakraborty, Global Links Scholar 


After the completion of my Masters, I started working as a lecturer at Shri Shikshayatan College, which is one of the most renowned undergraduate girls’ colleges of Kolkata. Over the years I worked hard in preparing my lectures, so that I can guide my students to complete their final exams with flying colors.

Within a few years I became successful in developing my relationship with my beloved students who accepted me as their friend, philosopher, and guide. I was quite happy and satisfied teaching young groups of students, and nurturing their ideas, thoughts and values. But my mind started haunting me: ‘Am I adequately fulfilling my job responsibility?’  I want to make sure I am doing so—especially when students ask me to guide them in choosing the best possible career options. I started searching ways in which they can start their career “as a job giver rather than a job seeker.”  I am grateful to my college authority for standing beside me and helping me to start an Entrepreneurial Cell in collaboration with National Entrepreneurship Network, where we started holding workshops and training programs to develop certain entrepreneurial skills of the student members.

In August 2016, I came to know about Global Links (GL) Program, which opened a book full of answers to my queries about properly guiding my students and guiding them to lead meaningful impact in their lives.  I must mention that the college where I teach belongs to a trust of the Marwari community. In India, they are the community that is renowned for their business acumen, but at the same time they are very conservative—they hardly allow their women to be engaged in income earning avenues. It is for this reason that I feel the girls in my college, who are mostly Marwaris need to be engaged in a program like Global Links.  I am thankful to GL for selecting me and giving me an opportunity to show the best possible carrier option to my students.

My phase I GL journey began in January 2017. It was January 14, 2017 at about 10:30am when I landed at Orlando airport to participate in Phase I of the GL Program. After facing tedious immigration process for 2hrs 30mins, I was overwhelmed with joy and happiness when I met my mentor Mary Conway Dato-on of Rollins College, Kimberly Brown and Sandy Sosa of Tupperware Brands along with two Graduate Assistant of Global Links Program, Michelle Hernandez and Yasmin Mesbah. It is only because of their grand and meaningful welcome I started feeling ‘home away from home.’


The next day, Sunday, was a relaxing day for me with a brief and enjoyable tour of Winter Park in the afternoon with Liz Cvercko, another Graduate Assistant.




My official work started on Monday with a brief introduction to Rollins’ staff, faculty, and senior management and student community. I started enjoying every aspect of my work as I received an enthusiastic greeting from each and every person.  It seems to me that the whole college is actively involved in the GL program. I participated in many social innovation group-building activities organized by Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Hub, and enjoyed developing entrepreneurial insights based on the views of the younger generation. While delivering a lecture on Indian Entrepreneurship in an undergraduate Global Development class, I enjoyed a focused interaction with the student community where they showed their inquisitiveness on the issue, as well as shared their open-minded insights.



As the days passed, by I felt more and more confident to empower a young generation and make them socially responsible to serve the community as a whole. Slowly and steadily, I am developing a sense of aplomb, which will help to face the challenges of empowering depressed and deprived women sector of India.  The opportunity to participate in a program like Global Links will also provide me a platform where I can help my students to work with real life entrepreneurs and expand their horizons to rural and semi-urban areas. They will learn to empathize with women among underprivileged communities and in turn help themselves. This exercise will help them to learn of different opportunities and difficulties faced by real life entrepreneurs and how to handle those situations.

Thoughts about Sullivan Retreat by Ali Zai

Even though it has been more than two months after my participation in the Sullivan retreat I still can feel the difference that this experience made both in my personal and professional life. The Sullivan retreat was not only for business students or for psychology students, it was for any student who wanted to change the world and make it a better place.  It was obvious that the intention of the Sullivan retreat facilitators was to create activities that would work for all of the different perspectives that attendees had and it worked out amazingly. This was very encouraging since the skills learned can be applied to my future endeavors.

Moreover, my participation in the Sullivan retreat has made me more proactive. For instance, once I went back to Orlando, I started to ask/meet people who made it through and ask for their guidance and assistance. I started to make arrangements to attend free conferences on campus to meet like-minded people (which is a key for any success story). I started to look for opportunities around me and pursue them vigorously. After my participation at the retreat, I realized that opportunities can be found almost anywhere. This belief made me much more optimistic. I did not have this encouragement and confidence before my participation on the retreat and I’m thankful I was chosen for this great experience.

Also, program advisors empathized how important it is to have hands-on experience and be self-educated about the profession we want to seek. I have always believed in self-education more than formal education. However, the conversations I had with the attendees made me realize that both self and formal education are key in any self-development and both should be given high priority.  Formal education can guide us and make us discover what our passion is when we take different classes at college in the first two years. After two years, self-education should be given more priority since we have an idea about what we want in our life.

Overall, the experience was unique. This was my first-time participating in a retreat and it will not be the last time. I believe that the Sullivan retreat helps students and educators discover their interest and build on it. It also helps those who are trying to find themselves since a lot of ideas and opinions are exchanged during the event.


This year’s Sullivan Ignite Retreat is in North Carolina April 4th-7th!