DePaul University prepares students to be part of today's international economy by exposing them to examples of business from all over the world. In the Kellstadt Graduate School of Business, those global lessons expand beyond the classroom to include MBA student cohort program trips and short-term study abroad, such as international business seminars that are scheduled so that working professionals in the program can take advantage of the opportunities.
International business seminars, which are open to both undergraduate and graduate business students, provide a chance for students to study a country and its business practices before traveling — usually through a series of pre-trip classes or meetings — and then discuss what they learned once they come home through a reflection paper. This year's spring break seminars took students to Turkey, Germany, Ireland and Japan. In addition, students in the MBA programs journeyed to Chile and Qatar on cohort trips, which allow them to travel with their classmates and explore another country's business culture. Read on for reactions from the recent international seminars.
Focusing on the economy in Chile
One spring MBA seminar focused on Chile's economy and included stops in Santiago, Viña del Mar and Valparaiso. Students learned about how to conduct business in Chile through visits to U.S. Commercial Trade and a startup incubator.
Students also got an insider's look at copper mining, the main industry in Chile, by visiting El Teniente.
Later in the trip, the group visited a vineyard and a port to examine Chile's second-largest industry: agriculture. Students were able to track the path of Chilean grapes from the vine to the bottle to a shipping container heading to China, Europe and North American markets.
Trip participant Zach Hirschfeld was most looking forward to the mine tour. The site has been in operation for nearly 100 years and is reputed to be the world's largest underground copper mine, with more than 3,000 kilometers of tunnels. "I had heard a lot about the Chilean mining issues in the news and had been reading up on the industry prior to departure. Being able to truly experience a working mine and learn from the experts there about all of the effort and technology that goes into their daily operations was fascinating," says Hirschfeld, a member of the part-time MBA evening cohort who is studying strategic leadership and organizational change management.
The trip also included a chance to get to know more about the country's people and culture. "We were able to engage daily with locals, which I loved," Hirschfeld says. "We also had a few occasions where we were with Chilean students as well, which I found to be one of my highlights. Being able to engage with like-minded individuals who were interested in studying similar subjects in another country was a great learning experience."
Admiring a growing region in Qatar
For some students, this trip was a chance to experience a new country. "I had never been to the Gulf Region before and Qatar is making world news with hosting the World Cup in 2022," says Tanner Krause, a business strategy MBA student who expects to graduate in 2016. He especially admired the futuristic skyline in the capital city of Doha. "It looks as if it were created in a video game and planted on the shore of the Gulf," Krause says. "We approached downtown at night, and the buildings had a lightshow that outdid Las Vegas, the Eiffel Tower or a Radiohead concert."
For others, the international trip provided an opportunity to deepen their studies. Katelyn Downing, a student in the full-time day MBA program, has bachelor's and master's degrees in Middle Eastern Studies and has traveled to Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon and Syria. However, "I did that travel with friends and did not have must structure or a chance to interact with businesses in a formalized way. I thought this program would be a great opportunity to learn more about business and the culture in the Gulf region," says Downing, who is studying leadership and change management and human resource management and will graduate in 2016.
Downing also enjoyed the mix of structured and open time during the Qatar trip. "We had meetings with companies pretty much every day, but we also had ample time to have free time or do other fun cultural activities, including an overnight desert trek," she says. Company visits in Doha were related to infrastructure development to support Qatar's efforts to bolster their sports tourism initiatives. In addition, students toured West Bay, the newly built Central Business District in Doha, visited with businesses including Qatargas, the world's largest producer of liquefied natural gas, and experienced the area's culture by attending a wedding.
"My favorite part was building relationships with my classmates," Krause says. "Being a small group in a foreign country, we bonded quickly and got to know each other quite well."
Learn more about study abroad opportunities at DePaul.