“Business is going global.” That’s a sentence many students hear from their business professors. On-campus MBA students at the Harbert College of Business don’t just hear that sentence; they see it.
Part of the on-campus MBA curriculum is a 9 day international program funded through College of Business fees. This year’s cohort could choose between two destinations—Germany and Italy.
The Germany trip included a visit at a global pharmaceutical manufacturer, speaking to representatives at DLR (the national aerospace research center for Germany), and Sparkasse (the German Savings Bank Group). Akira Powell, a Dual MBA/MISE student from Virginia Beach, VA, traveled with the Germany group. “My view of business has become more holistic,” she notes, “because now I understand that external culture is also an important aspect to consider when making key decisions.”
Akira remembers a specific example where this was extremely clear on a visit with Ketchhum Pleon, an internationally-acclaimed public relations and strategic communications firm. She recalls, “the representatives talked to us about the problem a university in East Berlin is having with recruiting college students from West Berlin.” This was particularly insightful to her, because, as she puts it, it “goes to show you how important it is to analyze beyond the present and dive into the cultural state surrounding a business entity when considering marketing solutions.”
Of course, cultural differences aren’t just present in international businesses. The group witnessed as much in cultural experiences ranging from visits to the Dachau concentration camp to a futbol match between Berlin Hertha and Schalke, which Akira pointed out, was just “ridiculous.” And yes, maybe a pint or two at a couple German breweries.
At the very least, international business experiences like Akira’s provide deep insight into new and emerging perspectives. “The international trip taught me that sometimes an idea is not necessarily worse, it is just different,” notes Akira, “but by exposing ourselves to these different ideas, we may make better decisions.”
We’re all about businesspeople making better decisions. In fact, we can’t think of a better decision than choosing an Auburn MBA.