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Intellect

BYU MBA students take unique "field trip" to Switzerland

Field trips have taken on new meaning for eight Brigham Young University MBA students who traveled to Switzerland this fall as part of the MBA International Human Resource Management class.

Throughout the week-long trip, students met with global business executives from companies including Nestlé, Cisco Systems and Dow Chemical, to learn how each develops global leaders.

“By traveling to Switzerland, students obtained a greater sense of the need for prepared graduates in international business,” said Brooklyn Derr, professor of organizational leadership and strategy. “We also wanted to provide students with global business experiences that will add to their marketability in an international business world.”

During their visit to Dow Chemical, students met with two human resources executives to discuss the company’s program for the internationalization of leaders, which is designed for about 625 expatriate employees.

“Students had the opportunity to meet with the Dow executives who select and develop future global leaders,” Derr said. “They helped students understand the opportunities, struggles and experiences of expatriate workers.”

At the Cisco Systems Rolle office, company executives discussed with students the need for more globally sophisticated leaders, emphasizing the use of technology in the business world. The meeting was conducted with executives in San Jose, Calif., via telepresence, a video conferencing system designed by Cisco.

“Visiting Cisco provided an opportunity to see how technology is growing in a way that enables global business,” said Alex Johnson, a second-year MBA student.

The trip not only exposed students to international business cultures but also helped to develop networking and recruiting opportunities.

Dick Smith, director of the MBA Career Management Services, accompanied the group to Switzerland in an effort to strengthen BYU’s relationship with Nestlé, the world's biggest food and beverage company with headquarters in Vevey, Switzerland.

“Nestlé, along with other global companies, are looking for graduates with international experience and adaptability to new cultures, which is a quality most of our MBA students possess,” Smith said. “The Marriott School offers a variety of courses and programs exposing students to international business, which provides great marketability after graduation,”

Jonathan Hart, who is earning a Global Management Certificate through the Global Management Center, says the trip complemented his international business classes, and the experience will enhance his post-graduation position with Microsoft.

“It is important to be aware of the global business environment and how it will affect my company’s operations in other parts of the world,” Hart said. “Because of this trip, I feel more comfortable interacting on the global stage, and it’s added a lot more value to my MBA experience.”

Writer: Irasema Romero

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