Dual Degree program yields multiple benefits for recent grad.

Having earned his undergraduate degree in finance from the College of Business Administration, moving on to graduate school seemed a likely next step for Marco Lavalle (MIB ’10, BBA ’06). But in his case, the journey took two paths—earning Lavalle both a Master of International Business (MIB) degree from the Chapman Graduate School and an MBA from Escuela Superior de Gestión Comercial y Marketing (ESIC) in Madrid, Spain.

Marco Lavalle

“I’ve always been curious about studying abroad,” he said. “I’m interested in learning different languages and discovering different cultures. The Dual Degree program at Florida International University (FIU) gave me a chance to do just that.”

In particular, Lavalle was attracted to ESIC, one of the more-than 30 partners in the Dual Degree network.

“I did some research on ESIC and discovered that it had strong rankings among other European business schools,” he said. “I was also interested in the history of Spain. Throughout my academic career, I’ve read and learned so much about the empires and kings and queens. Getting the opportunity to study there was a dream come true.”

MIB and MBA programs offer complementary advantages.

Lavalle believes that the college’s MIB program educated him well in terms of international business. He found that he already knew much of what he studied as part of ESIC’s MBA program.

“The interesting twist to this it that it all came from a totally different perspective—the European perspective,” he said. “In addition, the MIB program gave me the skills I need to work with others to reach a common goal. Both programs require students to work in group-oriented settings, allowing us to learn how to work together, delegate responsibilities and manage time efficiently.”

His family joins him on the journey.

Lavalle’s wife and baby lived with him in Spain, adding another level of richness to the experience.

“Bringing my family along allowed me to not only grow academically but also allowed my wife and me to grow closer together,” he said.

And what advice would Lavalle give other students considering tackling the Dual Degree program?

“Grab life by the horns and see where it takes you.”

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