COOKEVILLE – In September, Mark Wilson will cross the stage in cap and gown at Aachen University of Applied Sciences in Germany to be formally awarded a degree. Wilson took the same walk across the stage in Tennessee Tech University’s Hooper Eblen Center back in May when he received his international business degree from Tech.

Wilson is the first graduate of a dual degree program that allowed him to earn degrees from both universities in a 4-year period.

“Being part of this program has absolutely been the highlight of my whole college experience,” Wilson, a Dixon, Tennessee native, said. “It has broadened my horizons and was useful too in that I now feel comfortable traveling internationally, and I made friends throughout Europe.”

Wilson came to Tech knowing that he wanted to study abroad and the dual degree program with Aachen University of Applied Sciences fit well with his German language minor.

The program allows students to study at their home university for their freshman and sophomore years. During their junior year of study, they attend the partner university before returning to their home university for their senior year.

“Aachen is beautiful,” Wilson said. “It’s a small town by German standards, but the inner city, complete with cobblestone streets and a medieval cathedral, is stunning. The city is simply drowning in history, so I would recommend studying here to history students as well as business students.”

During his year studying abroad, Wilson took classes related to his international business major and found himself in classrooms with students from all over the world.

“My business classes were all in English, so students who haven’t taken a foreign language don’t need to be scared going to Aachen,” Wilson said. “I did use my German though, and it was greatly strengthened during my time there.”

When he returned to Tech for his senior year of study, Wilson found German friends he had made abroad visiting his home university through the dual degree program as well.

“It was great to see them and be able to show them the same hospitality at Tech that I was shown at Aachen,” Wilson said.

As part of the requirements to receive his degree from Aachen University of Applied Sciences, Wilson completed a thesis examining the effectiveness of economic development incentives in Tennessee, which he presented at a conference in San Antonio, Texas and submitted to faculty at Aachen University of Applied Sciences for feedback.

In May, Wilson completed his degree work at Tech and was able to attend commencement ceremonies with some of his German friends studying abroad at Tech to earn their dual degrees as well. In September, he plans to travel back to Germany for ceremonies there.

“I know that as I move into working in business, I will not hesitate to travel to do my work,” Wilson said. “It’s thanks to this program. I now have friends all over the world and the confidence and knowledge to travel to see them and to travel to achieve success in my career as well.”

For more information about Tech’s dual degree program with Aachen University of Applied Sciences, visit

Amye Anderson is the managing editor of the Upper Cumberland Business Journal and can be reached via email. Send an email.

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