Mackenzie Gauden (2016)

Name: Mackenzie Gauden
Field of Study: Economics and Strategy, Political Science
Expected Graduation: 2018
Summer Program: London School of Economics – Summer School
Program Location: London, United Kingdom

Relevance of the Program:

Mackenzie is a student athlete in the Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis, and is a pitcher for the varsity softball team. At WashU, she is also an Olin Peer Ambassador (a mentor for incoming business students), a member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and an intern in the sports communications department. Majoring in economics and strategy and political science, her interests lie in government consulting, international relations and foreign policy development, and more broadly, the intersection of business and government. She is from Ripon, a small town in California’s Central Valley, and will be leaving the continent for the first time this summer. Mackenzie believes strongly in the importance of local level development and governmental organization for serving citizens in economically sustainable ways, and is excited for the opportunity to examine the spread of democracy from a non-American perspective this summer.

Recap of Mackenzie’s Experience:

Thanks to the Bruce Alan Ebersole Scholarship, I had the opportunity to spend six weeks studying abroad in London this past summer at the London School of Economics and Political Science. I took two three-week courses – Corporate and Organizational Strategy and International Politics: Building Democracies from Conflict. During my time in London, I was able to speak with and attend lectures by some of the top business experts in their fields, and I was also able to work on real world cases with teams of people from all over the world. I was able to examine the spread of democracy and various perspectives on power-sharing structures and agreements from a non-American perspective. Furthermore, it was an incredibly rewarding experience to jump into life in a new country and have to adapt quickly without knowing anyone else in the program.

In Corporate and Organizational Strategy, I was able to learn about strategy, competitive advantage, vertical scope, product scope, pay structures, internal capital markets, corporate culture, delegation of power in the firm, strategic alliances, integration in mergers and acquisitions, and bargaining and cooperation problems. We also took an in depth look at case studies of Starbucks, Coca-Cola, the oil and gas industry, Newell/Rubbermaid, and performance pay and its role in the banking crisis. In the International Politics course, we covered the democratic validity of Iraq, the role of greed and grievance in civil war, the causes of civil wars, a case study of South Sudan, the strategic nature of terrorism, the resource curse, consociational democracy, a case study of Northern Ireland, the challenges and benefits of ethno-federalism as a conflict management mechanism, UN peacekeeping missions, transitional justice and truth commissions in particular, a case study of South Africa, various electoral systems, and the Arab Spring.

Not only was I able to get to know London, on my first trip off the North American continent, but I was also able to do some solo traveling as well. My first trip was out to Dublin where I went to several museums, the Book of Kells at Trinity College (pictured), Saint Stephans Green, Dublin Castle, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Grafton Street and the Temple Bar area. I was fascinated by the people and the liveliness of the city and was so fortunate to be able to incorporate that short weekend trip into my summer experience.

Between the two courses, I was able to hop on a train and spend the weekend in Paris. This was such a beautiful city with an amazing culture and rich history. There was so much to see in such a short time and I never stopped moving. While there, I made my way to Sacre-Coeur and climbed the 300 steps up to the dome, spent some time in Montmarte, walked down to the catacombs, spent a few hours in Le Louvre, and saw Saint-Chapelle, the arc de Triomphe, Hotel des Invalides, the Latin Quarter, Notre Dame, Saint-Sulpice Church, and of course the iconic Eiffel Tower.

For one of my final weekends in Europe I made my way out to Edinburgh to see a friend from my hometown at Fringe Festival. I learned so much about the history of Scotland and was completely in awe of the landscape and architecture of the city and surrounding area. I made my way up and down the Royal Mile a few times and spent several hours at Edinburgh castle (pictured), saw the National Museum of Scotland, the Scottish National Gallery, Calton Hill, Holyrood Park and Arthur’s Seat, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Scottish Parliament Building, the Scott Monument, Regent Gardens, and soaked in some of the amazing visual and performing art showcased at Fringe.

I was incredibly fortunate to be able to spend an amazing six weeks in a way I never thought possible where I studied at an exceptional university, formed friendships with people from all corners of the world, learned more than I ever thought possible about European history, and even did some traveling. I am so thankful for the BAE Scholarship for their support in making this study abroad experience a possibility!