Jordan Hantz is finishing his senior year in economics at the College of Business and Economics, with a minor in German, and hopes BMW is in his future.
Not a car or a motorcycle. He wants to work there, at Bavarian Motor Works' headquarters in Munich.
A graduate of Norwin High School in North Huntingdon, Pa., Hantz majored in economics because he likes to analyze public issues and policies. "I thought economics would help me understand the cost and benefits of issues in the nation and the world," he said. He likes politics, but doesn't see that as his career. He's always admired German cars and BMW and wants to work there.
Hantz is getting practical experience as a research assistant with the Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER). In fact he is a coauthor of a report due out this spring on the economic outlook for the Morgantown, W.Va., area, and he helped edit a similar report on Harrison County. He also helped with a new report titled "The Consensus Coal Forecast for West Virginia," which will be published soon.
BMW's world headquarters in Munich.
"Jordan has been a standout undergraduate research assistant. He has contributed significantly to the West Virginia Economic Outlook and other BBER projects. He has even co-authored several reports, which shows the energy and enthusiasm that he brings to his work in the BBER," said Dr. George Hammond, BBER associate director and associate professor of economics.
It is not unusual for graduate students to be involved in research leading to publication, but it's rather uncommon at the undergraduate level. However, Tom Witt, BBER director and associate dean for research and outreach, said his department likes to ensure that undergraduates get such exposure. "BBER has provided many undergraduate economics majors the opportunity to learn research skills and participate in BBER projects. The result often leads to co-authorship of BBER publications," he said.
Hantz said his work with BBER has been as useful, if not more so, than what he has experienced in the classroom. "If a student would get this kind of opportunity, he should take it," Hantz said. "I know I learn more at work at BBER than in the classroom. The experience actually makes the classroom lectures clearer."
He believes his work with BBER will also help him get a job because most job applicants won't have such research background, at least not with only a bachelor's degree.
Plus, he has other practical experience. In the summer of 2010 Hantz studied at the Berlin School for Economics and Law and was back in Germany the next summer as an intern at the West Virginia Development Office in Munich, Germany. "In Munich I had the opportunity to learn the cultural differences in the business atmosphere between the United States and Germany. One of the major differences is formality. I feel that people in Germany dress very formally and speak very formally in the workplace," he said.
Hantz, who enjoys swimming, tennis and travelling, is nearly fluent in German. "There are some new words I come across every now and then," he said.
While with the development office, he attended a trade show in Düsseldorf, Germany. "This was where the state exhibited to attract foreign investment in West Virginia, particularly from Europe. The main goal is to get firms to expand or to build plants in West Virginia. In preparation for this trade show, we compiled a mailing list including almost 2,000 firms throughout the world to promote what the state has to offer for foreign investment."