Ho Chi Minh City and Bangkok hold surprises for Executive MBA students.

The Global Business Trip, which enables students to experience international business firsthand, is a key element of the college’s Executive MBA (EMBA) program.

“It’s wonderful to read about another country and to learn about the business opportunities there, but you don’t really understand the cultural differences or the political issues until you are able to go and actually see it,” said Sarah Perez, director of the EMBA and the Professional MBA.

[flv:http://business.fiu.edu/biznews/2009/5/emba_trip.mp4 480 360]

For the most recent trip, 31 EMBA students, two alumni, three FIU faculty members, and Perez traveled to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and Bangkok, Thailand. The itinerary spanned 10 days and included tours, free time for sight-seeing, and company visits: Invest Vietnam Corporation and Hewlett Packard in Ho Chi Minh City, and in Bangkok, Master Tower, Ocean Glass and Seagate as well as a briefing at the U.S. Embassy.

Reunification Palace, Ho Chi Minh City
Reunification Palace, Ho Chi Minh City

Trip expands horizons.

Both locales were revelations according to Henry Salas, attorney, Cole, Scot and Kissane. P.A. Salas fits the profile described by Perez: many of the EMBA students, all of whom are highly experienced professionals, may travel extensively for work, pleasure or both, but maybe not to the cities chosen for the Global Business Trip.

“It’s always a pleasure meeting new people, seeing new cultures, and visiting new places,” said Salas, a lawyer for 19 years who always felt that an MBA would be a “great way to round out my education.”

Seagate, a storage technology company, Bangkok
Seagate, a storage technology company, Bangkok

For him, part of the value of the trip was its impact on his preconceived ideas.

“I had preconceptions and they really were wrong,” he said. “I didn’t expect Bangkok to be as developed or as big, and Vietnam was also more developed than I expected it to be.”

The trip also provided him the chance to “to get to know my classmates at a different level than we do every Saturday in class or in our group studies,” a professional networking benefit in addition to being enjoyable.

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