Experiential / Reality-based Learning / December 3, 2021

Maryland Smith Students Provide Social Impact for Brazilian Companies

This fall, the Center for Global Business (CGB) partnered with campusb, an organization specializing in international education transcending classroom walls and geographical boundaries, to bring the Positive Impact Internship to Maryland Smith undergraduate students. This program connects students with Brazilian companies to work on real business problems with a social impact focus, offering professional development experience by solving real company cases over six weeks. CGB sponsored 10 Maryland Smith students and four Bowie State University students from underrepresented backgrounds with a full scholarship to participate in this hands-on global learning opportunity.

Maryland Smith undergraduate students were teamed with students from around the world to partner virtually with six Brazilian companies in the state of Rio de Janeiro. These include BeBrasil, a startup for sustainability in the cosmetic industry, with recyclable vegan products; Abissal, a sustainability consulting company; TriCiclos, invested in creating a circular economy; Ekoways, which teaches responsible, environmental tourism and travel; Movin, a minimalist, ethics-conscious fashion brand; and SER, a multidisciplinary consulting firm focusing on social and environmental impact and local development.

Smith student Lidia Gonzalez, class of 2023, who worked with Abissal, undertook a project to minimize construction waste. Gonzalez’s team suggested an information campaign, including an app where construction workers could document ways they save construction materials daily to share with their coworkers, complete with a rewards program. This project was timely for Gonzalez, who said, “This topic [environmental sustainability] is extremely important to me.”

Not only did Gonzalez and her international teammates develop hands-on consulting experience, but they also learned to work across global boundaries. “I feel fearless,” said Gonzalez. “I am a shy person – I felt shy to talk because of my accent, but I became more confident about myself and the work I do. We were different, totally strangers, but we made such great friendships, so I realized it’s not bad to show [people] who you are.”

Learn more about other experiential learning opportunities at the center.

This program was supported in part by a Title VI grant program known as CIBE (Centers for International Business Education) administered 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 part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, specialty 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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