Widener Helps International Student Find Home in America and Prepare for Career in International Business and Law
South Africa native Brandon Matambo ’23 has found his place at Widener.
A welcoming community greeted him when he arrived on campus in fall 2019, supporting him not only through his academic and student experiences, but later through the particular challenges that international students faced when COVID-19 struck.
Brandon’s classes and professors have helped the international business major and political science minor cultivate the knowledge and skills to take on world-class internships.
Widener has done a really good job preparing me for what hands-on work was going to look like, how I can use my major, and what options I have. — Brandon Matambo '23
Brandon’s impressive résumé now includes experiences with IBM and Goldman Sachs, and interning with Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, who represents Delaware County in Congress.
And, perhaps the true sign of finding a home at Widener, Brandon has fully embraced the Wawa culture. “I came here not knowing what a Wawa is. Now I love it. I get it all the time,” he said.
Brandon always wanted to attend college in the United States and was attracted to the Philadelphia area because of family in the region. Still, he wondered, “who’s going to be there for me” when he got to campus? His question was quickly answered. On arrival, he found a community of support comprised of staff, faculty, classmates, and peers.
“Widener is a really welcoming community,” said Brandon. “And the professors have really been by my side the past couple of years, always able to help me with open arms.”
His professors’ help has extended beyond classroom instruction and mentorship. Knowing Brandon is far from home – a situation further complicated by a global pandemic – professors have even offered a spare bedroom in their homes during breaks and remote learning periods.
Now Brandon is helping to welcome two other South African students who recently arrived on campus, showing them around and helping them acclimate. “I wanted them to have a great experience here, too, and feel the same welcoming community,” he said.
For an international business major, hands-on experiences at IBM and Goldman Sachs are coveted positions. Brandon already has both under his belt.
He completed an internship with IBM in summer 2021, as part of the global business services team, working on the consulting and client services track. The experience was so positive that he has returned to IBM for another internship, this time with business research, working with teams from across the globe.
Also in summer 2021, Brandon took part in the Goldman Sachs Summer Insight Series, a highly-competitive program to teach students the ins and outs of the company and more about investment banking.
Love of Politics
Brandon has held a strong interest in politics since childhood, but didn’t think he could apply it to his business degree until he arrived at Widener. “It’s a natural fit at Widener and now I’m really interested in the intersection of business and politics.”
Brandon, who picked up a political science minor, is eying law school and began thinking about gaining experience working in government. He applied for, and got accepted to a congressional internship, working in Scanlon’s office. Brandon helps plan different events and assists constituents with finding information or contacting federal agencies.
“So far, I’ve learned a ton and it’s truly been an honor to serve,” said Brandon. “I want to help people as much as I can and I want everyone to feel that their opinion matters.”
On campus, Brandon is honing his leadership skills. He is vice president of his fraternity, Kappa Sigma, offering him further opportunity to work with and help people. Brandon also serves as co-president of the Widener Mock Trial Club, which combines his love of law, politics, and business. The university didn’t have a mock trial club when Brandon arrived, so he started one.
Academics, extracurriculars, and internships certainly keep Brandon busy but motivated.
“For me, the more I take on, the better I get,” he said.
Editor's Note: This story was originally published as part of Widener's Pride Perspectives series. See more from that series on our Widener Advantage site >>