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Spring Break Study Trips Take MBA Students to Brazil and China

April 30, 2015
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For MBA student Susana Parody, the School’s Global Learning Opportunities in Business Education (GLOBE) trip to Brazil during spring break provided a firsthand opportunity to learn about the largest nation in South America. "Brazil is a country with tremendous potential and a rich economic history," she said. "I enjoyed the business visits – including a Volkswagen car manufacturing plant – as well as the cultural highlights and going out to local restaurants and shops."

On the other side of the world, Brad Piechoski was among 34 graduate students who traveled to China on their spring break GLOBE trip. "I got to see how China has gone from being one of the poorest countries in the world to having a major presence in the global economy," he said.  "Climbing the Great Wall of China was without a doubt my most memorable experience."

Led by two School of Business faculty members, the annual international trips were organized by the Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER). "This international exposure provides our students with powerful insight into companies all over the world," said Niccole Pertierra Iglesias, assistant director. "Students get to experience a country’s cultural and societal values, and see their enormous impact on everyday business."

Under the guidance of Michael Werner, director of the School’s Master of Accounting program, the MBA students toured the Chinese business centers of Beijing, Xi’an and Shanghai. "They were able to see the country, meet the people and see firsthand how business is done in China," he said. "It gives them a whole new perspective and changes their views on the country."


MD/MBA student Erica Barrios agreed, adding, "Immersing ourselves in the Chinese culture allowed us to better understand their thinking. In addition, traveling with our classmates was a bonding experience. These trips forge friendships that will last a lifetime."

Sandro Andrade, professor of finance, guided 17 graduate students on the 12-day Brazil trip through Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

"We visited 14 businesses, ranging from a leading investment bank (BTG Pactual) to a major food manufacturer (Bauducco), to the largest private provider of hospital health care in Brazil (Rede D’Or)," Andrade said. "The types of experiences we offer our students by travelling abroad cannot be reproduced in the classroom."

Andrade noted that the  students saw both the wealth and poverty in Sao Paulo, while hearing directly from Brazilian business leaders about the nation's progress and their companies' business strategies. "Our students also benefit from the cultural side of our visits," he added.

Reflecting on the trip, MBA student Alex Bellanton said, “Gaining international exposure is tremendously important for business students. Having the opportunity to step outside the United States and see how business is done and why it is done differently in other countries is invaluable. The perspective you gain from these trips is so important to future business leaders, and I am incredibly grateful for the time, effort, and resources the school invests in these trips."

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