Each year, more than a hundred Smith MBA and Executive MBA students travel around the world on short-term study abroad courses. Courses are typically offered between semesters and are comprised of 20-35 students led by a faculty guide. Students meet in College Park prior to departure and the trips typically consist of 10 days abroad.
After the spring semester ended this past May, two groups of students departed to study the global economy in different parts of the world. One group was off to Europe and the other to South America.
In the Netherlands, students looked specifically at the structure and flow of logistics and transportation facilities and capabilities as seen in the Port of Rotterdam (deep-sea marine; inland water; trucking/rail), Schiphol International Airport (air cargo), and representative distribution centers. This provided a better understanding of the flow of global supply chains through the European Union and supply chain relationships to/from the United States.
Seeing Rotterdam, one of the most advanced ports in the world, was an incredible experience. The SeaGate, which protects the port and the city, and the worlds largest flower auctions were examples of Dutch technical creativity that are incomparable to anything I've ever seen," said Andrea Michel's, Smith EMBA candidate 2008. "In Brussels we had presentations from the European Council and Commission that allowed us to learn about how these organizations function. It was interesting to compare and contrast governing in the EU with that of the U.S. Our professor and our hosts from Maryland's sister school, Delft University, did a superb job organizing the trip. They made sure we had many opportunities to learn from Europe's experts in supply chain management and logistics. Plus, they saw that we ate well and that our time out of the classroom exposed us to northern European culture!
Students traveling to South America studied general issues related to doing business in Brazil. The bulk of the program took place in So Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, including formal in-class instruction by the host institution, Fundacao Getulio Vargas (FGV is Brazil's premier business school), on such topics as Brazilian culture, foreign trade and macro-economic issues, the Brazilian banking and financial system, marketing in Brazil, and supply chain and operations management in Brazil. Brazil has a large percentage of its fleet comprised on ethanol-fueled automobiles and the class had a focus on the alternative fuel industry there -- students looked at that whole supply chain, from the ethanol production to the Volkswagen factory for ethanol-fueled cars A highlight of the trip was a visit to Volkswagen.
▓ Alissa Arford-Leyl, Office of Marketing Communications