Sarah Kate Oliver, a Finance and Accounting graduate, was among the Auburn business students touring the Toyota Peugeot Citroen plant in the Czech Republic last spring. In a span of 24 days, students will tour companies in Berlin, Prague and Budapest in the 2013 Central and Eastern European Studies Program.
Seventeen College of Business juniors and seniors will soon tour 16 European companies and three European countries in 24 days.
“A lot of them have never traveled abroad before,” said Department of Management Chair Chris Shook, who is accompanying the students, plus two graduate assistants, on the May 23-June 15 trip to Berlin, Prague and Budapest as part of the 2013 Central and Eastern European Studies Program.
“It’s a chance for them to see the world is bigger than the U.S. Not everyone in the world does business like we do. I personally don’t think you’ve been educated until you have been overseas.”
“They get to apply what they have learned in class,” said Shook. “They will do reports on the companies they visit and write industry analysis.”
Shook said the students, majoring and minoring in a variety of College of Business programs, will also meet with European CEOs and executives at the companies they visit.
Companies on the group’s itinerary include:
*Software giant SAP on May 24 in Berlin
*TBC and BMW Motorcycles on May 27 in Berlin
*Toyota Peugeot Citroen Automobile Company on May 30 in Prague
*AVG-TBC and Ruckl Crystal on June 3 in Prague
*Telefonica O2 on June 4 in Prague
*Jama Restaurant and BrandEmbassy on June 5 in Prague
*Oil and gas industry leader MOL on June 10 in Budapest
*Zwack Unicum and FirstMed on June 11 in Budapest
*Vehicle component manufacturer Raba Axle and Audi Hungaria Motor Kit on June 12 in Budapest
* Magyar Telekom/T-Mobile and cloud-based software producer Prezi on June 13 in Budapest
Students will also have the opportunity to take guided walking tours of Berlin, Prague and Budapest, visit the Berlin Wall Memorial, and German History Museum.
Aside from touring European companies and sightseeing the cities visited, students will play a European version of scavenger hunt. Facing the obstacles of a foreign language on a foreign soil, the students will be tasked with finding a number of items including materials to make a spaghetti dinner at the grocery store, appropriate bottles of wine, a dentist, the U.S. Embassy, a pharmacy, and where to get your clothes cleaned.
“They will go into unusual situations and learn to function in those situations,” Shook said, noting that the interactions will prepare students for new situations they will encounter in the workplace. “It teaches adaptation skills. Nothing ever goes exactly the way it’s supposed to.
"They usually adapt pretty well. They are self-sufficient here. They learn to be self-sufficient there.”
Before students leave for Europe on May 23, they will spend a week (May 15-21) at Lowder Hall taking classes in Strategic Management and Principles of Management.