As students in a college known for its excellence in international business, many undergraduates and graduates take advantage of the opportunities the business school offers for well-planned, information-rich trips across the globe.
In March, 2007, a group of undergraduates went to Paris in a study-abroad program, the logistics of which the Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) handled. Graduate students, mostly from the Master of International Business (MIB) program, with one from the International MBA (IMBA), and eight from the Professional MBA (PMBA), got introduced to life in post-Communist Europe during visits to Budapest and Prague.
Paris study-abroad continues to draw large numbers.
“The trip is always very popular and we limited the number of participants to 25—the maximum one faculty person can manage,” said Randall Martin, member of the Department of Management and International Business and faculty director of the study-abroad programs, who played that management role as he does for most of the college’s study-abroad programs. “But the size of the group gave us the resources to offer many highlights, including a boat trip on the Seine; a guided tour of Versailles; and free tickets to visit the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, and the famous French cabaret, the Lido.”
Visits to local businesses—along with coursework that continues—are an important feature of the trips. As during last year’s Paris excursion, students this spring went to two internationally acclaimed champagne makers—Piper-Heidsieck and Moët & Chandon—where they learned about the business and saw the cellars, the bottles, and the machines that now rotate them.
Ian Lugo (BBA ’07), inventory coordinator, academic space management, at Florida International University, went on the Paris trip this year, following on the heels of a study-abroad to Rome, which he also enjoyed, reporting that “Rome was cold, and Paris was colder.”
“It’s easy to forget that it’s a big world and people are different.”
—Ian Lugo (BBA ’07)
As a longtime resident of Miami, he experienced “a bigger sense of history. Also, you get used to the culture here,” he said. “It’s easy to forget that it’s a big world and people are different.”
Graduate students interact with business leaders and academics in Hungary and the Czech Republic.
An international trip has been part of the MIB program since its inception. This year, organizers decided to open it to other programs to promote a greater sense of integration among students in the Chapman Graduate School. With the collaboration of CEU Business School—a potential partner in the Chapman School’s Dual Degree program—an events-packed trip took thirty students, staff, faculty, and alumni to Hungary and the Czech Republic from March 17-24, 2007. MIB graduate Isabel Lopez (MIB ’06, BBA ’03), program manager, Master of Science in Finance, worked on the logistics with Paola Moreno, associate director, International Graduate Programs.
“We had sessions at CEU on history, economics, the evolution of Hungary, and its efforts to become part of the European Unio,” said Lopez, one of the Chapman School’s staff members to attend, along with Associate Dean Tomislav Mandakovic and Maria Sierra, assistant for the PMBA and the Executive MBA (EMBA) programs.
Stephanie Ortega (BBA ’06), who works in accounting and program support for the Chapman School and who expects to complete her MIB in May, 2008, particularly appreciated the chance to see the GE Power System facility in Budapest—where the regional manager gave an inspirational talk about what a leader should be as well as suggesting opportunities for career development.
“A member of the human resources department explained how you can join an international company and move forward, including working in other countries,” she said.
A second company visit in Budapest took students to MOL Hungarian Oil Company, where they heard from the head of risk management. In Prague, the group visited CzechInvest and heard two presentations by an economist—one an overview of the Czech Republic and the second on doing business in the country.
“It was a great experience for our students,” said Mandakovic, who was in Europe not only for the MIB trip but also to promote the Dual Degree program by visiting eight universities in five countries. “They realized, for example, that within a small geographic area, there were significant differences in cultural, political, and developmental issues. That awareness contributes to their international business education and defines professional work in the international market.”
To learn more about the MIB program, visit https://business.fiu.edu/graduate/international-business/.