This February a group of 30 Lazaridis MBA students, along with MBA Director & Professor Mitali De and Professor Sebastian Fourné, travelled to Bogota, Colombia and Santiago, Chile for the annual International Business Study Tour elective. The elective includes a two-week immersion in selected emerging markets to provide insight into international business and the challenges and opportunities in these markets. Students have the opportunity to experience the business environment firsthand and learn what it would be like to be a manager in a different cultural environment.
Since 1995, Lazaridis MBA students have visited more than 20 countries around the globe. Previous destinations include China, India, Malaysia, Vietnam, South Africa, Spain, and Turkey, to name a few.
Professor Sebastian Fourné describes the trip as “a unique opportunity for students from all the Lazaridis School of Business & Economics MBA Degree programs to come together, expand their networks and make new friends while collaborating in an enriching study tour experience.”
There are many benefits and key takeaways for students. As highlighted by Professor Fourné, “The MBA candidates get direct exposure to international business problems, see different perspectives on doing business with Canada, and learn to appreciate the opportunities and ways of working in an emerging market in a wide variety of industry sectors and organizations. Each student will take away a little something different from the experience, and the different business meetings they attend all over the world. This is a wonderful opportunity to be able to consider if a career in international business is right for you.”
When asked to describe the experience in just a few words, the students had no shortage of great things to say. Unique, amazing, eye-opening, and fun were all common responses. Here is what some of our participating MBA students said about their experience on the International Business Study Tour:
Why did you decide to go on the study tour?
Parisa (Toronto, part-time MBA): I like travelling, exploring new cities, and learning about different cultures. Although many people would think that I am a ‘city girl,’ I am not. I like untouched nature, warm climate, espresso, and good red wine! These are all good reasons to travel to South America. However, the Laurier International Trip offered an opportunity that was unique and something that is not possible to arrange on our own, and it is the opportunity to learn about emerging markets and how enterprises function in such environments, their challenges, and how they are exploring opportunities to grow.
What was the biggest lesson you learned?
Ray (Waterloo, full-time MBA): It was amazing to see how small cultural differences can translate into significant differences in the ways business is conducted. I believe it is inevitable that each of us, at some point in our career, will find ourselves working in a new city and in a new culture. You can travel all over the world and never see what goes on behind the revolving glass doors. This trip plays an important role in building an awareness and creating an appreciation for these differences.
What was the highlight of the study tour?
Zach (Waterloo, part-time MBA): For me, the highlight of the trip was connecting to all of the other students and professors on the trip. I’m in the part-time evening MBA program at the Waterloo campus. On this trip, I was able to really get to know students in the full-time program, co-op program, and also students from the Toronto campus. Some great friendships were formed and great business connections for the future too. It was a great group of people and I feel like I came home with 30 new friends.
If you are interested in international business or considering the International Business Management specialization, this is the perfect elective for you. In addition to gaining valuable insights into distinct business environments, MBA students have a chance to explore the culture, sights, and sounds of a new place in this once in a lifetime opportunity. Learn more about the various international immersion opportunities as a Lazaridis MBA student.