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City of Light Provides Real-World Learning Opportunity for Undergraduates

August 08, 2011
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Paris, France
See more photos from the trip on Flickr

Undergraduate students made their way to Paris, France for a four-week study abroad trip this summer to learn about international marketing and business. The 14 students participated in a combination of cultural activities and business-related fieldtrips, which will culminate in marketing proposals developed by the students for prominent French cosmetics company L’Oréal.

“Our program had three dimensions: academics, culture and business. We aimed to create 'action-based' learning experiences that would enrich the students’ resumes,” said Trini Callava, the program director and a School of Business marketing lecturer.

The students stayed in the Citadines, a centrally located apartment-hotel, where they lived within walking distance from local markets and enjoyed living as Parisians.

They adopted bon viveur lifestyles complemented by fieldtrips to the factory for famous Gérard Mulot confections, where they made macaroons, and a cooking lesson with the world-famous French chef Olivier Berte.

“It was rewarding to see the students’ growth as they fully embraced the French culture and lifestyle,” said Callava.   

As part of the global business component of the trip, students visited GE France, beverage producer Orangina, and L’Oréal’s French headquarters, where they studied the company’s business model and marketing practices. They worked in teams to create a campaign aimed at the brand’s Brazilian market.

“Studying business in the fashion capital of the world was a great experience because we were able to learn about L’Oréal’s products and marketing strategies firsthand,” said student Torie O’Neil, who is working on a campaign for L’Oréal’s Garnier Fructis shampoo.

The students dissected two Harvard Business case studies, “L'Oréal of Paris: Bringing ‘Class to Mass’ with Plenitude” and “L'Oréal and the Globalization of American Beauty,” as a platform for their strategic proposals, which they will be presenting to executives from Brazil at L’Oréal’s Miami branch this month. Top performing students will then be invited to interview for an internship with L’Oréal in Miami next summer.

“This was a great learning experience for students and a valuable addition to their resumes. Studying L’Oréal’s business model in Paris helped them better understand the company, which is essential to tap into the brand’s foreign markets,” said Callava.

Other fieldtrips in the City of Light included visits to many museums and architectural marvels such as the Palace of Versailles and the Fontainebleau Chateau, which were among the students’ favorites. During their free weekends, students explored cities such as Berlin, London, Lucerne, Bruges, Cannes, Barcelona and Giverny, a nearby city where painter Claude Monet’s house remains intact.

The students received three core business credits by studying the major current factors affecting international marketing and the strategic issues involved.

Participating students included: Jessica Ceva, Jacob Cohen, Francisco Cusco, Lisa Ebenstein, Igor Flor, Kelly Claire Gehring, Haley Gruber, Athena Israni, Allana Katz, Emily Luskind, Camila Mejia, Torie O'Neil, Natalia Reategui, and Katherine Sheldon.

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