Ten UTSA business students said adiós to San Antonio and hola to Spain as part of a 11-day faculty-led international immersion sponsored by the College of Business. The immersion was one aspect of the class, Business Success in Spain, which was led by Dennis Lopez, assistant professor of accounting, and Joel Saegert, professor of marketing.
Two of the most common phrases students expressed on the trip were “I’ve never thought about it that way” and “this is a life-changing experience.” For all 10 students this was their first experience in Europe.
“Immersions broaden global perspective and unequivocally make the point that business is done differently around the globe,” said Lisa Gomez, director of international engagement in the college.
The international immersion, one of seven offered this summer by the college, gives students an introduction to the challenges of doing business internationally. Students participated in classroom lectures taught by faculty from EAE Business School on ethics, management and the state of the Spanish and European economies.
“It’s like a textbook coming to life,” said Jesus Valadez, a senior majoring in international business. “We learn about management and operations in different cultures in the classroom, but to see it firsthand really makes a big impact.”
The students visited Telefonica, the largest communications company in Spain; Campofrio, a European leader in deli meats and processed foods; Grupo Mahou San Miguel, a top brewery in Spain; Mercabarna, Spain’s largest fresh produce and meat distribution center; and Cordoniu, the company that created and introduced Spanish cava to the world.
Another component of the Spanish immersion consisted of cultural touring in Barcelona, Madrid, Segovia and Toledo. Guides walked the group through historically significant sites, and students learned about Spain’s most revered cathedrals, painters, architects and national heroes.
The final assignment for the class was to select a product or service to either export to Spain or import to the U.S. Then, student teams had to create a written report outlining the strategy of the selection.
Since the inception of the international business immersions in 2007, students have participated in exchanges to Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Finland, Malaysia, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, Spain, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam.
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