Wharton '21 Beverlye Gedeon

PGS: Travel to South Africa
GRIP: Intern in Portugal

Programs Abroad:

  • Penn Global Seminars (PGS): Seeing, Hearing, and Encountering South Africa

  • Global Research & Internship Program (GRIP): Sogrape Original Legacy Wines Intern in Porto, Portugal

Ask me about...

  • Adjusting during the first days 

  • Respectfully entering a community 

  • Engaging with that community 

My Experience Abroad:

I came to Penn to pursue a degree in Economics. As early as my first semester, I was introduced to various models and became more and more interested in market analysis and competition among businesses. I mostly enjoyed topics such as game theory and specialization, however, I knew that something was missing in my learning experience. I was curious to see how these theories would apply in the real world. When I discovered this internship opportunity, I was very excited about it because I knew that it could allow me to decide whether or not I really want to embrace a career in economics.

I managed to be recruited as Market Intelligence Intern at the #1 wine producing company in Portugal and the overall experience was rewarding. Working on the creation of a market intelligence platform to which I had to upload relevant data refined my understanding of the topics I had earlier covered in my classes. Concurrently working with the innovation manager at Sogrape taught me that with changes in consumer tastes and competition comes innovation. I found it extremely interesting to research information available on the advancements in the wine industry worldwide through the readings about innovation in packaging, designs and bottling that were assigned to me.

Managing the online platform while exploring innovation strategies in the wine industry gave me insights into how data analysis helps businesses in a competitive market to decide where to go next. The most challenging part of my internship remained my last assignment. I was asked to come up with a final proposal including future directions for the company based on my understanding of the industry. When I returned my proposal I was literally surprised about how much I had learned in 8 weeks. At the end of my internship, not only have I become more confident with my choice to explore economics, but I have also started to think about taking innovation/entrepreneurship classes as they relate to each other. 

Other Highlights:

  • The Sao Joao Festival: I will never forget about that festival that brought thousands of people in the center city to celebrate during one night. That night, I couldn't differentiate between Portuguese and tourists as we were all one tapping each other with plastic hammers, releasing sky lanterns into the air, screaming at midnight fireworks... So far, the most amazing thing I have experienced in my life!

  • The Douro Valley: Travelling from Porto to the Douro Valley takes about 3 hours by train. I had planned to sleep until reaching my destination, however, I had failed to guess that the breathtaking views of the mountains surrounding the river, the picturesque greenery on which I laid eyes for the first time could keep me awake during the entire trip. I would definitely recommend having a wine tour there to anyone visiting Portugal.

  • Portuguese food (Especially the Pastel de Natas ): I could not wait to finally taste the Portuguese most famous custard tart after arriving in Porto as everyone was urging me to wipe it off my bucket list. The moment I did, believe me when I say that never before have I tasted such a delicious pastry. As they could be found everywhere, I really enjoyed eating pastels either when I was walking back from work, during my breaks or when I was hanging out with my friends. 

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