Activities

Federal Reserve Trip
Chairman Ben Bernanke agreed to host a group of BSE students in the boardroom of the Federal Reserve headquarters in Washington, DC in the winter of 20098. Prior to the meeting, students were given copies of Ben Bernanke's Fed: The Federal Reserve After Greenspan to familiarize themselves with Dr. Bernanke's academic research and policy decisions. Students heard Dr. Bernanke speak of the operations of the Fed and its role in the financial health of the United States. Students then had the opportunity to ask questions, allowing further insight into the challenges facing our country and its financial sector in these turbulent economic times. Students received an unforgettable experience listening to a man who has such a great deal of influence. PHOTO

Feedback concerning this trip was overwhelmingly positive.

“In preparation for meeting Dr. Bernanke, I studied for two weeks, thoroughly reading a book on his work as Chairman of the Federal Reserve. I was able to craft some real good questions, one of which I was able to ask Dr. Bernanke to gain some knowledge that no book would be able to describe to me. Although I was nervous in asking my question, I was certainly glad I did! I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to sit in the exact same spot where the Federal Open Market Committee convenes. Overall, I would love to participate in more opportunities to meet distinguished people in the future. I am really grateful to the University of Maryland and BSE for giving me that opportunity.”

“Meeting Ben Bernanke in person and hearing him talk about his job was incredible. He had a perfect answer for every one of the students’ questions and seemed so calm and level-headed, when I was certain that he was going to be the most stressed person I had ever met in my life. I was honored to be able to sit at a table with Chairman Bernanke.”
“Definitely by the best experience I have ever had in BSE thus far was being able to go down to the Federal Reserve and meet with Chairman Bernanke in the boardroom itself. I never expected to have the meeting at the same table where they meet every month to decide on what they can best do to help the economy. Since he was previously an academic, he was very well spoken and easy to talk and listen to, making the whole experience that much better. I loved hearing how confident he was that the economy would rebound and that we will never fall into the same type of depression as there was in the 1930s.”

“Having this opportunity as a freshman in the BSE program was very beneficial. Not only was it an educational trip where I learned much more about the Federal Reserve than I had previously known, but it was also remarkable to go inside the board of directors room, decorated with old currencies and a huge marble fireplace, and speak with one of the most important people in the world.”

Berkshire Hathaway
Warren Buffet is highly regarded and recognized for his investing insights and expertise. Students that had a strong interest in finance were given the opportunity to attend the Berkshire Hathaway's 2008 shareholder meeting. Berkshire Hathaway's shareholder meeting is a highly anticipated event by many professionals in the financial industry and the event has been called the Woodstock for Capitalists. Many of the worlds greatest investors travel from all corners of the earth to listen to the Oracle of Omaha speak at the annual meeting. By attending the meeting students gained a perspective about finance and investing that would not be possible strictly in the classroom. The shareholder meeting provided a unique opportunity to see and study Berkshire Hathaway's individual subsidiaries. Students were also given the opportunity to learn about each of Berkshire Hathaway's subsidiaries and had the opportunity to speak with company representatives and to sample their products.

United Arab Emirates
BSE began offering an international component to its studies in January 2009 and has repeated the opportunity several times since. The United Arab Emirates global immersion experience provided first-hand knowledge about the transformation of the UAE from a tribal culture to a growing economic superpower that is an important player in regional and international affairs. Students visiting the UAE were able to experience a diverse region of the world, exposing them to business, cultural, religious, economic, and social issues.

The student delegation toured several of the emirates including Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Ajman, Fujayrah, and Sharjah. Some of the many sites and visits included: Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, UAE Central Bank, Emirates Airlines, Nakheel, Northrop Grumman, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, Dubai International Financial Exchange, Dubai Ports World, Dubai Media City, Jumeriah Mosque, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Mosque, Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding, and the Emirates Palace. PHOTOS: 2009 | 2010

Feedback concerning this trip was overwhelmingly positive. Students commented:

“This United Arab Emirates international experience was an absolutely great experience and probably the best trip I have ever taken in my life. I found the experience highly educational as well as fun and interesting. We were given the opportunity to learn about a culture that we all knew very little about through a wide range of methods. I would absolutely recommend this trip to anyone who is even remotely considering it. This trip was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I am so happy that I was able to be apart of this wonderful experience.”
“Overall, I am very pleased with our trip to Dubai. It greatly surpassed all expectations I had of the trip. I now view the Middle East with a completely different perspective as I have realized that globalization has truly reached all parts of the world, and the Middle East is taking off with its enormous wealth and power. I have been humbled by adopting different customs and the local practices of the Emirati people while in the UAE, and I am extremely grateful that I have had this opportunity to experience the prosperous business, breathtaking scenery, and remarkable life in Dubai.”
“The experience to study abroad in Dubai was unlike anything else I ever experienced in college. It gave me the opportunity to put myself in the environment and culture that was different from where I call home and what I was used to. I saw how open-mindedness is key regarding another culture, and how easy it is for misconceptions to be created when that isn’t exercised. With the states being so diverse in religion and ethnicity, I saw what it was like to be in a region that was predominantly Muslim, and how that affected their way of life.”

In summary, students enjoyed a rich, memorable time in the UAE and returned home inspired to learn more about the UAE and the Middle East. The participants enhanced their cross-cultural leadership skills and are equipped with a new global perspective.

Studying Business & Culture in Australia
Americans frequently assume that doing business in Australia is no different from doing business in the US. However, as the 44 students who accompanied Dr. Mark Wellman learned from a visit to the Australian Embassy in Washington, DC, followed by a 2-week trip in January, 2011, the two cultures contrast greatly, despite a shared language. Even some common and business terminologies have very different meanings. MORE

Global Immersion Program in Singapore & Malaysia
Thirty-four students visited Singapore and Malaysia in January 2010 to gain an appreciation for the culture, customs and practices of the region. An important outcome was to develop an understanding for how Singapore has emerged from a backwater third world economy into a world financial, urban planning and educational leader. The global immersion experience included­ organizational visits to Port of Singapore Authority, ExxonMobil, Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific, Novartis, Hewlett Packard, the Housing Development Board, Accenture, FedEx, Tiger Brewery, and Royal Selangor in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The group also enjoyed wonderful dining and learned from interesting guided walking and river boat tours. PHOTOS

Disney Institute Program
The optional BSE Disney field trip allowed students to: 1) participate in an exclusive onstage and backstage field experience to gain insight into all of the work required to execute a memorable customer experience; 2) explore and validate the fundamental business models that drive strategic decisions at the Walt Disney World Resort; 3) discover systems, people, and processes behind the scenes that work together to produce a quality experience; 4) observe the application of systems and processes within the Walt Disney World Resort in the achievement of service excellence; 5) appreciate the importance of creating a positive culture that drives employee commitment; 6) interact with key Disney Leaders to gain a personal perspective on leadership behaviors and their influence on culture and performance. As part of the Disney experience, students participated in a Disney Institute program that covered topics such as leadership, customer service, strategy, and corporate culture. MORE

Iliad Assessment Center
The assessment center evaluates skills that included the ability to lead a team, effectively make decisions; prioritize, plan and organize tasks; identify and synthesize relevant information and express ideas clearly. Participants are evaluated on the tasks they choose to tackle, the memos and reports they produced, and their performance at meetings and presentations, which are videotaped. Using a detailed management behavior checklist, the materials that you submit will be analyzed by a team of industrial-organizational psychology graduate students. Approximately one week after the exercise, students received a detailed report on their performance, and a development plan is develop.

The Iliad assessment is unlike any other college experience-if you can succeed here, you have the tools to be an effective leader and an asset to any organization. I personally learned a lot about myself as a participant, which will help me rise to my greatest potential in both the classroom and the workplace.
-Tali Rasooly, BSE Freshman

Mount Everest Simulation
This web-based simulation presents an engaging setting in which you will explore aspects of leadership and team dynamics using a team ascent of Mount Everest as the backdrop. In each round, the team member will need to analyze information on weather, health conditions, supplies, goals, or hiking speed, and determine how much of that information to communicate to their teammates. The simulation has a number of learning outcomes including teaching how to participate in, and lead teams more effectively; how teams can improve the way that they make collective decisions; how cognitive biases impair decision-making; how teams can solve problems and make decisions more effectively in situations when members have different information and opposing interests; how different leadership approaches can affect team performance in situations with time and competitive pressures; and how teams and their leaders deal with tradeoffs between short-term task completion and longer-term team effectiveness. PHOTOS

Universal Car Rental Simulation
This web-based simulation presents an engaging context in which manage a car rental operation (Universal) in Florida. The objective is to improve regional performance by developing an effective strategy. The simulation involves three regions--Orlando, Tampa, and Miami--which vary in size, market dynamics, and customer mix. The simulation applies the information learned in economics. More specifically, the simulation teaches the principles of pricing in a changing and realistic management environment. Participants assume the role of a regional marketing manager responsible for pricing a fleet of rental cars.

Cirque du Soleil Field Trip
Despite a long-term decline in the circus industry, Cirque du Soleil significantly increased revenue over the last 10 years by reinventing the circus. Cirque was able to create new customer demand by challenging the conventional assumptions about how to compete in the global business environment. Cirque successfully innovated by shifting the buyer group from children (end-users of the traditional circus) to adults (purchasers of the traditional circus), drawing upon the distinctive strengths of other alternative industries, such as the theatre, Broadway shows and the opera, to offer a different type of entertainment to more mature and higher spending customers. The field trip to the Cirque De Soleil show was used to show how this company with its unique hybrid of music, dance, and acrobatics has created a new category of live entertainment. In the process, it has been a marketing, management and financial commercial success.

IKEA Field Trip
IKEA as one of the largest furniture manufacturers and retailers in the world, with operations in 32 countries is well known for its stylish and innovative designs. It was the pioneer of furniture that could be dismantled and packed flat, to allow ease of transportation. The teaching objectives of the field trip are: (1) better understand the evolution of IKEAs global marketing strategy under the various P's (product, price, promotion, place, packaging, positioning and people); (2) identify the factors that are responsible for creating a global brand image; and (3) recognize the importance of the human resource management practices as IKEA has one of the most committed workforces in the retail industry.

Harley-Davidson Field Trip
The only major American player in the global motorcycle market, Harley- Davidson, has developed a distinct brand image and has dominated the U.S. motorcycle industry for many decades. In the early 1980s, Japanese manufacturers flooded the market with high quality and low priced bikes and nearly destroyed Harley-Davidson. Harley-Davidson transformed the manufacturing process and adopted a new marketing strategy focused on selling community and lifestyle positioning. The field trip provides a useful vehicle to explore a variety of business issues, ranging from manufacturing to brand management. PHOTOS: 2007

Strategy Board Competition
During their first year in the BSE program, students participate in the Strategy Board Competition. Student teams study a company over the course of the semester and develop strategic recommendations. Each team illustrates its recommendations on a display board, which is evaluated by a team of judges, including a representative from their company. PHOTOs: 2004

Here are a few of the student's entries from the April, 2009 Academic Showcase:
Berkshire Hathaway | Lockheed Martin | The Walt Disney Company

Hershey Park Field Trip
The BSE program takes a day-long field trip to Hershey Park, PA to visit the Hershey School, Hershey Park, and the Hershey Museum. The purpose of the visit is to discuss the achievements of Milton S. Hershey and his entrepreneurial achievements, including the creation of the Hershey bar, the founding of the business, and the development of the mass market for chocolate. The guided bus tour through the town and around the factory help students focus on the broader contributions that Milton Hershey made to a sustainable, mutually beneficial social contract between business and community. PHOTOS

Gaver Tree Farm
BSE celebrated the start of Autumn at the Gaver Tree Farm in Mt. Airy, MD on September 30, 2009. The Farm is owned by the family of Greg Gaver, a BSE sophomore studying Economics and Plant Science at UMD. The Gaver Family was Frederick County Farm Family of the Year for 2005 and was presented the Take Pride in America award for 2008 for outstanding conservation and environmental stewardship practices. PHOTOS

Service Day
All incoming freshmen in the College Park Scholars program participate in a service project before the fall semester. PHOTOS: 2005 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009

New York City Trip
Each spring, hundreds of Scholars may opt for a weekend trip to the Big Apple enjoying a Broadway show and a visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. In addition, each Scholars program designs an activity to enhance its focused learning. In previous years, BSE has organized a visit to Times Square businesses where students met with managers of Planet Hollywood (2006); an NBC Studio Tour (2007 & 2008); a Guided Wall Street Walking Tour and a visit to the Museum of American Finance (2009).
PHOTOS: 2005 | 2006 | 2008 | 2009

Senior Recognition
Each year, BSE invites its graduating seniors to come together to relive freshman and sophomore experiences, share their Smith School stories and describe their plans following graduation. Past luncheons or dinners have taken place at the University of Maryland Golf Course Club House, the Smith Schools Executive Dining Room and at a local restaurant. PHOTOS

College Park Scholars Softball Tournament
The Scholars Charity Softball Tournament takes place each spring. Each Scholars Program plays on behalf of a charity that they have chosen to support. The first, second, and third place teams are rewarded with donations to their charities on behalf of the entire Scholars Program. Batting, running or catching expertise is NOT required a desire to have fun with friends is! PHOTOS

Terrapin Adventure Challenge
BSE begins its year of colloquiums with participation in the Terrapin Adventure Challenge Program at the University of Maryland's state of the art climbing facilities. This experience fosters problem solving, decision making, teamwork, and personal confidence through fun and challenging outdoor activities. PHOTOS