Experiential / Reality-based Learning / February 13, 2024

Global Insights: Reflecting on Winter 2024 Study Abroad Programs

Reflecting on Winter 2024 Study Abroad Programs
Maryland Smith students gained invaluable international business insights in Winter 2024 through faculty-led study abroad programs. Spanning Japan, South Korea, UAE, France, Vietnam, South Korea, South Africa, and Brazil, these immersive experiences enhanced students' global mindset and understanding of diverse markets and cultures.

Through the Center for Global Business, Maryland Smith students experienced the unique educational opportunity of spending the winter 2024 term in a faculty-led, short-term study abroad program. Offered to both undergraduate and MBA students, programs that spanned the globe provided a firsthand international business experience and enhanced students' understanding of international markets and business practices.

Japan and South Korea

Together with QUEST, Adjunct Professor David Ashley and QUEST Program Coordinator Emily Marks, 29 undergraduates embarked on a journey through the technological heartlands of East Asia. Focusing on sectors like electronics, automotive, and robotics, students gained insight into the region's cutting-edge innovation and industrial prowess. Through 10 company visits and cultural excursions, students explored how businesses in Japan and South Korea are shaping the global economic landscape and how these unique cultures and histories inspire innovation in the private sector, which has made Japan and Korea into the economic superpowers they are today.


Guided by Senior Lecturer Julie Pavlovsky, 29 students discovered the unique business environment of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). They delved into the complexities of Gulf economics, exploring how oil wealth has transformed the region into a global business hub. The program highlighted the UAE's strategic approach to diversification and its role in international trade and finance. John Ikegwu, a senior in the program, reflected on his experience, saying, “Getting to Dubai, I realized it was so much more than a tourist destination. From its thriving economy beyond just oil and tourism to the efficiency of the government and its high expat population, these were some of the many eye-opening things I learned about Dubai and the UAE, giving me a deeper appreciation of it beyond just a nice place to travel."


This program explored the intersection of culture and commerce, how French businesses balance tradition and innovation, and how cultural values influence corporate practices. Led also by David Ashley, 23 undergraduate students also visited Le Havre, the town of Rouen and the Normandy beaches.Mixing the historical and cultural aspects of businesses throughout France. Visits to Schneider Electric, The Port of Le Havre and Station F gave students a better understanding of France's role in the European economic system.

Vietnam and South Korea

With 21 MBA students, Dean’s Chair of Operations Management Zhi-Long Chen led an exploration of key business cities, Hanoi and Seoul. The program was designed to provide insights into diverse business strategies and operational models across Vietnam and South Korean markets. Students visited well-known companies such as Hyundai and Hanjin Logistics, where they engaged with local entrepreneurs, attended business symposiums, and explored the cultural nuances that define and drive these economies.

South Africa

This program, led by Bennet Zelner, associate professor, exposed 17 MBA students to the vibrant and challenging business environment of South Africa. Focusing on topics like market development and social entrepreneurship, the program offered a comprehensive view of the African business landscape, highlighting the potential and challenges of operating in an emerging market.


Under the leadership of Paulo Prochno, clinical professor, 16 MBA students embarked on a deep dive into Brazil's business ecosystem. The program focused on understanding the unique business dynamics of Latin America, exploring how cultural, political, and economic factors interplay to shape business operations and strategies in Brazil. Oluwaseun Badmus, a second-year MBA student, detailed that “the experience also granted me access to brilliant entrepreneurs and established organizations who offered insights into their journey from inception to remarkable success.”

The successful completion of these programs significantly contributes to equipping students with a global mindset, crucial for navigating the modern business environment. These immersive experiences have not only deepened their understanding of international markets and business strategies but also honed such global mindset competencies as cultural curiosity, adaptability, and self-awareness.

“The [center] is passionate about providing students with different global opportunities. Short-term study abroad programs offer valuable cultural immersion, exposure to new perspectives, and global networking opportunities. They provide a condensed yet impactful experience, fostering personal growth, enhancing language skills, and expanding academic studies,” says CGB Assistant Director Rachel McCloud.

As these students return, they bring back not just insights and knowledge, but a transformed perspective, ready to apply their enhanced global mindset competencies in their future careers. This initiative highlights the school's dedication to fostering a practical and globally-oriented business education.

For more information about study abroad programs, visit the center’s website.

The programs were supported in part by CIBE, a Title VI grant provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

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About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and flex MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, business master’s, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.

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