Study abroad trips prepare students for global economy

When DePaul undergraduate finance major Zack Joerg learned about the itinerary for a study abroad trip DePaul’s business school offered to Ireland this spring, he knew he wanted to sign up. In addition to learning about the Irish economy, the agenda listed personal visits to global companies such as KPMG and the Accenture.

“Talking with all of these other professionals about what they do and how their careers took off, what was important to them at an early age and what they did that led them to be successful– that was really beneficial to me,” he says.

The 10-day  
International Business Seminar Short-Term Program to Ireland  is one of about a dozen offered by the Driehaus College of Business throughout the year. The programs are available to both graduate and undergraduate business students who can earn four credits while traveling abroad and complete assignments that relate to the topic of the course.

Joerg’s trip to Ireland focused on business conditions in a post-Brexit economy and included excursions to Dublin and Belfast, where students had tea with the Lord Mayor. 

“It was amazing to see how everything is interconnected – we live in a global economy,” Joerg says. “Something like Brexit can really have a domino effect even on Northern Ireland’s exporting costs.”

Associate Professor of Marketing Zafar Iqbal says one of the goals of the college’s study abroad trips are to ensure students gain a global perspective by the time they enter the workforce. Iqbal serves as the director of the Driehaus Center for International Business at the Driehaus College of Business.

“There’s something about learning in class versus applying a concept in real life,” says Iqbal, who leads annual study abroad trips to Japan and India, as well as leading a visit to Dubai in the past. “You can learn a concept, but if you can actually apply a concept in an internship or full-time job, you can really absorb it. And I treat study abroad the same way in which a student can take a concept learned in class and actually get to see it in action.”

Not only do the trips give students a chance to interact with executives at companies for which they may one day work, but it also leads to job opportunities. Iqbal recently did a survey of students who have gone to India trips and found 20 out of 130 students are either in India working or are in India-related positions.

“These trips make our students sensible risk-takers, people who are willing to explore the world,” he says. “I think it also helps position them better in interviews as well.”

DePaul marketing undergraduate Paola Guerrero-Toledo recently went on a trip during the spring to Japan led by Iqbal and Executive-in-Residence Luis Larrea. The study abroad trip exposed the senior to Japan’s business culture and included visits to global companies such as Hogarth Ogilvy, Van Cleef & Arpel and Chuo Electric Works.

Following graduation in June, Guerrero-Toledo will start a position in Dallas as category manager and insights associate at international brand Frito-Lay.

“In marketing classes, you hear about how you’re supposed to cater to the customer and understand what you want and understand company values,” she says. “You hear it so much in class and you think you understand it but I didn’t really understand it until I heard from companies about their process.”

Learn more about the Driehaus College of Business's International Business Seminar Short-Term Programs.