A global business perspective

Business students return from South America

A global business perspective

By Anna Crabill

Sarah Zibbel, director of human resources for global manufacturing at Owens-Illinois, has a lot of stamps on her passport thanks to the travel required by her job. But, she said the trip to South America required for graduation from Bowling Green State University’s Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) program, still opened her eyes. 

“It’s always good to get perspective outside of your normal, daily life, especially visiting a country that is so different than what you’re used to,” Zibbel said. “It’s opened my mind about how I view the world and people, and how I value diversity.

This year’s trip took students to Peru and Panama for 10 days and was packed with meetings and tours. The program specifically chose South America because trade between the United States and South America surpasses U.S. trade with Europe. The potential of future expansion of trade with South America and Latin America adds a valuable perspective for the students. 

The group visited the BDK Corporation, The Lima Stock Exchange, Owens-Illinois, COMEX, the Tinto Copper Company, the Monastery of Saint Francis, Global Bank, the Panama Canal, the Panama Ports Company, Archer Daniels Midland and Contadora Island.

“I would say my favorite stop was O-I! I would have said this even if I wasn’t already an O-I employee,” Zibbel laughed. “It was a great stop because we had a chance to not only learn more about O-I as a company, but to learn more about O-I Peru specifically.” 

The students went on a plant tour at O-I to understand how products are made and were given an overview of the commercial process, how they go to market and how they work with their customers. “Overall, it was great outline of the whole integrated supply chain process within that company,” she said.

Traveling with the students was Dr. Hokey Min, global supply chain professor, and David Chatfield, director of graduate and executive programs in business.

“The EMBA global business trip was a great success,” Chatfield said. “The conversations, presentations and power point materials from the company visits are then incorporated into the curriculum of the EMBA class so the students can apply what they learned during the trip.”

Beyond the value of the global educational experience the students receive from the program, Zibbel finds another added benefit—the support of her fellow students. She said the cohort is what kept her going in the program as she juggled a busy work schedule.  

“I now have a network connection for life,” Zibbel confessed. “I have a new network of professionals and friends that will support me throughout my career. You’re stuck on a bus and in a hotel for 10 days with the same people, but it’s a great way to build relationships and trust within the cohort.”

BGSU’s EMBA program is designed for mid-career professionals with at least five years of professional work experience who seek to develop the knowledge and skills required to succeed in today’s global business environment.

“The EMBA is a unique program at BGSU. In fact, BGSU was the first university in the state of Ohio to offer the EMBA program and has a strong history of successful relationships with corporations in northwest Ohio,” Chatfield said. “Managers and executives from the northwest Ohio region and beyond specifically come to this university for this program.”

The EMBA program meets just one weekend per month for 18 months with a break over the summer. 

“The program is very manageable for a working professional because you start class on Friday and you’re finished on Sunday. And, you only do this one weekend per month which is very doable,” Zibbel said.

The EMBA program has been a benchmark for other universities across the Midwest and continues bringing in students from across the country.