Santiago Luna, the coordinator for the Center for Global Business, writes about the 2020 RMIT USA Business and Culture Immersion program hosted at Maryland Smith.
From January 7-17, 2020, the Center for Global Business at the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business hosted the 20th annual global immersion study tour for 36 graduate students from longtime Maryland Smith partner, RMIT University. The annual program includes two weeks of site visits to various industry partners around the region, seminars conducted by Smith School faculty, excursions to national and local cultural sites, and an introduction to higher education in the U.S.
The program began with a welcome from Rebecca Bellinger, executive director of Smith’s Center for Global Business. “It is always a pleasure to host the RMIT students,” said Bellinger. “This year marks the 20th anniversary of the program, a testament to the program’s success and our strong partnership with RMIT University. Given the rise of populist and anti-globalization sentiment around the world and resulting social strife and conflict, it’s important for higher education institutions to continue these collaborations that bring people from different places together to find commonalities and break down barriers. This is a core value of both the center and the school, and we are committed to continuing programs like this in the future.” "
Highlights of the program included site visits to the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the Harley-Davidson Vehicle Operations faculty in York, PA, and the Nestle ice cream factory in Laurel, Md. These site visits enhanced the students’ understanding of U.S. and global business trends and allowed them the opportunity to connect concepts from the classroom with real-life applications.
Of the program, one RMIT EMBA student, Dolly Cutinho, said, “The last two weeks have been nothing but eventful! The two weeks with Maryland Smith has been really insightful. I have gone through seven lectures thus far and each of those lectures has added value to me as a person. All of the professors have been really engaging and insightful. They have touched on topics that help us in our corporate worlds and also topics that are globally relevant that relate very much to Australia as it does for America. The icing on the cake has been our industry visits to Harley Davidson, Nestlé, and Guinness Brewery.”
RMIT students visited Nestlé in Laurel, Md., where they got a factory tour complete with a tasting.
Paul Cerotti, director of global tours and the master of commerce program at RMIT, shared, “Our time abroad in Washington, D.C. and the greater D.C. area, was filled with knowledge, a broader global mindset, and constant questioning of what it means to be American and in turn global citizens. There were sensational friendships formed, lots of laughs with our peers and teachers, while also creating lifelong learning that goes beyond shaping the future of our careers and businesses. St. Augustine said ‘the world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.’ In two weeks we have read a great deal and written our own book of a very rich and immeasurable global study tour. Our globalization index and mindset have reached a new zenith. We look forward to a new tour and group in 2021.”
The program is just one of the facets of Maryland Smith’s longtime partnership with RMIT. Students at either institution can participate in the semester exchange program. To learn more about the other partnerships maintained by Maryland Smith, please visit the partnership website.