BGSU MBA students visit First Solar

scob day tour

Company visits are a crucial component of Bowling Green State University's Master of Business Administration curriculum, allowing students to apply classroom lessons to the real world. After a two-year wait due to COVID-19, this year’s cohort was finally able to visit to First Solar, the largest solar manufacturer in the Western Hemisphere.

The experience at First Solar opened students’ eyes to the solar power industry. Located in Lake Township, the plant is one million square feet, has over 500 full-time employees and it has been in service since October 2019.

The students were welcomed by Plant Manager Jason Mesteller and Global Senior Manager Andrea Gurcsik. Mesteller spoke about First Solar's high-volume manufacturing, recycling initiatives and career opportunities.

“We were truly honored to host tomorrow’s business leaders from BGSU at our facility,” Mesteller said. “Being able to showcase First Solar’s excellent associates and the world-class manufacturing process we run is always the highlight of our day. The MBA students had great questions, which indicates the business principles they are learning in the program are resonating.”

After the presentation, the students were divided into three groups for a walking tour of the plant. Long-time First Solar employees shared background knowledge of the new plant and gave the students the opportunity to observe the internal operations of the manufacturing process.

A key takeaway from the tour was the impressive automation present to improve First Solar’s efficiency. In addition, it was astonishing to see the sheer quantity of glass modules that are produced each day. When operations first began, the company produced roughly two modules a week. Today, it is up to tens of thousands each day.

This year’s cohort learned some valuable lessons from this experience, and it is assuredly one that will benefit them in their full-time career post-graduation. Ranging from the advice given by full-time employees present on our visit to observing the behind-the-scenes actions of such as successful firm, First Solar provided a memorable and beneficial experience for the students as they work towards their degree.

BGSU’s MBA program has so much appreciation towards First Solar for allowing our students to have this beneficial learning experience. It was a visit and tour that these young professionals will undoubtedly hold with them as they soon transfer from the education setting to the working world.

The MBA program would like to extend our sincerest thanks to Jason Mesteller and Andrea Gurcsik for making this trip possible. We also extend this gratitude to our tour guides, production workers we observed, and the entire corporation for opening their doors to us. We were pleased to hear Jason say that First Solar “looks forward to hosting the BGSU MBA program again the future.”