Executive MBA Students Travel Abroad to See Globalization First Hand

As part of the Executive MBA (EMBA) courses of Global Leadership and Global Supply Chain management, students travel to other countries to experience the culture and to learn business operations up close. This year’s global trip took students to Argentina and Chile for ten days which was packed with meetings and tours. Students met with top executives at the South American branches of two American companies - Dana Corporation and Owens-Illinois. Students also met with a senior economist at one of Argentina’s largest banks, Banco Itau, and the director of corporate investment at Banco Santander in Chile, to hear about the economic trends and the role of U.S. companies in those countries.

Global shipping logistics and operations were discussed as the EMBA students toured the Buenos Aires Port and met with the Port’s manager. Specialists in the mining, wine, and forestry industries were also part of the week’s learning experience. Students saw for themselves the contrast in terms of the business climate in the two countries - Argentina is experiencing 25% inflation and has imposed severe restrictions on imports and exports, while Chile has a robust economy, and U.S. and Chinese companies are investing there.

EMBA student Lindsey Hathaway of Whirlpool says this was a great experience. "It was amazing to be able to see firsthand how business is done in South America and get to visit other corporations and hear from their management." She continues, "Traveling to both Argentina and Chile helped me gain a working knowledge of local business practices as well as develop an understanding of the region’s cultural environment. Through company visits, my classmates and I were able to experience open dialogue and direct interaction with business leaders. Globalization continues to play a pivotal role in business. Understanding cultural differences and learning how to work effectively in a range of societies are essential skills to becoming both personally and professionally successful."

Jesus Guerrero, an EMBA student from DeVilbiss Automotive Refinishing, comments on the economic conditions in these countries. "Overall the trip was a great learning experience. The political and economic contrast between Argentina and Chile was evident in the business and personal environments. When considering the difficult circumstances the people of Argentina face, I was intrigued by the people’s sense of hope and optimism. Chile has a Friedmanesque type of economy that has contributed to a more prosperous country. I was relatively surprised by Santiago’s high cost of living which has created nationwide debates about the disparity of income, which are similar to many of the political and economic discussions in the United States."

Accompanying the students were two professors from the management department, Dr. Hokey Min (the James R. Good Professor of Global Supply Chain) and Dr. Jane Wheeler, associate professor of management, along with the director of the Graduate & Executive Programs in Business, David Chatfield. Chatfield says this global trip has real value. "The trip was a terrific success. The EMBA students were outstanding representatives of BGSU and engaged in informed dialogue with the executives we met. They gained a great appreciation for the complexities of business success in foreign cultures and a new level of awareness about the beauty and hospitality of Argentina and Chile."