For the eleven College of Business Administration students who headed to China this summer, the goal was clear: raise their awareness of the importance of viewing marketing management strategies and tactics from a global perspective.
They achieved that and learned so much more about the business practices and cultural aspects of life and work in China today, according to Elisabeth Beristain, faculty director for marketing study abroad programs.
This marked the second marketing study abroad trip. The first was to Italy in spring 2011.
Rich itinerary creates rich experiences in Beijing and Shanghai.
As part of the business-focused agenda, students visited manufacturing and service-based companies as well as advertising and public relations agencies. The impressive list included Burson-Marsteller, Coca-Cola, Mercedes Benz, PR Newswire, Stanley Black & Decker, US Commercial Services, VanceInfo, Young & Rubicam and Wal-Mart.
“The visits to Burson-Marsteller and Young & Rubicam were trip highlights,” said participating student Tyrone Grant. “People talked about their own experiences in China and how they were able to bring their knowledge to the companies.”
Cultural outings included the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, the Summer Palace, Yu Garden, Zhujiajiao Water Town, a cooking class and, of course, the Great Wall.
“The Great Wall is something you cannot explain in words,” Grant said. “You have to see it in person.”
Marketing study abroad program gains momentum.
The program included three weeks of study and coursework before the students departed plus a week after their return.
Beristain notes the program is designed to offer students the opportunity to learn experientially how U.S. companies conduct business in foreign environments from a marketing perspective on three levels: academic, cultural and business.
“It’s the brainchild of Walfried Lassar, chair of the Marketing Department,” she said. “I’ve given it my own personality and style, while following his strategic vision.”
The Florida International University Center for International Business Education and Research (FIU-CIBER) provides the organizational and logistical administration support behind the study abroad trips.
“Their vast knowledge and experience make them the ideal sounding board for idea exchange during program development,” she said.
And what’s next for the marketing study abroad program?
“Possibly South Africa,” Beristain said.