Incorporating experiential learning into the academic experience, 34 undergraduate and graduate business students recently visited India and Hong Kong as part of the UTSA College of Business International Immersion Program.
The winter immersions are two-week, faculty-led programs where students visit local businesses, attend academic lectures and explore the cultural locations of the host country.
“This immersion pushed me outside my comfort zone and gave me the opportunity to grow and expand my international business knowledge,” said Hannah Williams, a senior majoring in human resource management who participated in the India immersion. “I learned a lot about myself on the trip.”
As part of the three-credit-hour Global Business Immersion to India course, the students visited Agra, Delhi, Hyderabad and Jaipur. The first half of the trip consisted of academic lectures and panels sponsored by the University of Hyderabad and company visits. Topics covered included Indian marketing and human resources practices, innovations in India and the Indian financial system. The second half of the trip featured cultural visits including a visit to the Taj Mahal.
“India was so hospitable,” said Julieta Nelson, a senior majoring in finance. “They have an amazing start-up culture, and businesses embrace their employees’ differences. This trip gave me the opportunity to relate to others who have different mindsets.”
“It is a great educational experience for the students,” said Dennis Lopez, associate professor of accounting and one of the India faculty advisors. “We prepare the students before the trip, but it is such an exotic location that they do experience some cultural shock.”
Embracing a global mindset, students participating in the Hong Kong immersion visited companies such as Ogilvy Public Relations, Rackspace and Hong Kong Disneyland and heard from executives from Coca Cola, Pfizer, DHL Express, United Airlines and Intel.
“Hong Kong is the center of finance in Asia,” said Lisa Montoya, vice provost for international initiatives. “We received both a 30-foot and 10,000-foot view of their international business climate. We met with great businesses and received a wealth of knowledge about how to successfully conduct business in Hong Kong.”
“My immersion challenged the way I viewed the world and opened me up to new cultures,” said Carolina Cruz, a senior majoring in economics. “I learned so much about business and cultural practices in Hong Kong. It also taught me that in order to be successful you must have a global perspective and be willing to learn.”
The College of Business International Business Programs Office sponsors immersion programs in the spring and summer semesters. This summer students will travel to Chile, Ireland, Portugal and Spain.
“My immersion was an amazing experience,” said Edward Kratzer, a junior majoring in cyber security and accounting who participated in the India immersion. “The amount of information and knowledge one can gain from this immersion program is so much greater than what you could experience in a typical classroom. It is a valuable tool to learn how to do business globally.”