News at Smith

Spotlight on Smith MBA Global Business Programs

Feb 20, 2015
Experiential / Reality-based Learning


During Winter Break of 2015 a total of 112 Smith full-time and part-time MBA students traveled abroad on faculty-led global business courses to the United Arab Emirates, Singapore and Japan, and Chile.

While taking a tour of the Yahoo headquarters in Singapore or while discussing export and marketing strategy at an entrepreneurial vineyard in Chile, students applied discipline-based knowledge acquired in the classroom to analyze real-world problems faced by companies in global business environments. With each course having a different academic focus, students were able to build expertise in their field of interest and network with colleagues, faculty and international company executives in their field.



“I was able to extract useful information from every single meeting planned on the trip while also expanding my network in the region as well as make new connections with soon to be Smith school alums.” – Angela Rowles, EMBA 2015, participant on UAE global business course

In Angela’s words
“I recently attended the UAE Global Business course visiting Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Sharjah.  I am in the entertainment industry and have recently worked with live event promoters in this region.  I was hoping the trip would give me further insight into doing business in the Middle East.  It did just that and so much more.  The scheduled visits to developers and investment companies provided very valuable information on where the region was headed in terms of tourism and entertainment.  Visits to Etihad Rail and Jebel Ali Free Zone offered insights into the future plans for ease of shipping and traveling within the region.  The itinerary was organized in a way that I could take advantage of free time to schedule my own meetings outside of the planned business visits. I met with an event planning company about hosting one of my company’s performances during the summer festival in Dubai as well as made connections with Etisalat, a telecommunication company that is interested in sponsoring live events.”

JamesAfter spending a lot of time talking to [Chilean brewers] and sharing ideas, we actually decided it would be interesting to work on a recipe together.  We are currently working on a collaboration to release in both countries towards the end of the Summer or early Fall. – James Holzapfel, DC Weekend MBA, participant on Chile global business course for DC Weekend 1st year students

In James’ words…

 “I love beer because it brings people together from different places in the world and different walks of life. This past Fall, two friends and I were given an opportunity to start a brewery on the eastern shore of Maryland. While the craft beer movement has exploded in the US, it is still a new frontier in South America. The opportunity to go abroad to Chile was not only interesting to me academically and culturally, but as an opportunity to find new beer markets and talk to people currently working in them about how they function. Throughout the trip, I tried to go to different breweries around Santiago. However, most of them were so small that the endeavor proved challenging. Our trip coincided with beer festival week in Santiago though. During a free afternoon, I set out to talk to talk to more Chileans about what they like to eat and drink and meet more fellow brewers. Interestingly, although Chile is known for its wine, most of it is exported and Chileans prefer to drink light beer. The beer I liked the most was from a brewery called Spoh, which consisted of three younger guys much like my endeavor with my two friends.”


Walmart“A highlight of the study abroad program to Singapore and Japan included a series of activities conducted with MBA students and faculty from Tokyo's Waseda University. “ – Martin Dresner, Professor and Department Chair of Logistics, Business & Public Policy, faculty leader of Singapore & Japan global business course

In Professor Dresner’s words…

“Ten students and one faculty member from Waseda joined our study abroad bus for our visit to one of Walmart Japan's distribution centers in the Tokyo metropolitan area.  At the center, we were divided into four groups, each led by a Walmart manager, for a tour of the facility. Following the tour and a Q&A session with the Walmart managers, we headed back to Waseda.  At Waseda, we had a chance for a quick tour of the campus which is quite historic, and then received a lecture from a Waseda faculty member on retailing and distribution in Japan, and more specifically, on the performance of Walmart in the retail sector.  Finally, we had a broader discussion led by a second Waseda faculty member on business practices and economic conditions in Japan.” 

The faculty-led short-term global business courses are a 4-credit Smith Experience course series that are open to all 2nd year full-time and part-time MBA students.

These programs include:

  • On-campus courses that prepare students pre-departure and upon re-entry
  • On-site company visits
  • On-site applied learning that will help students to immerse themselves into the host culture both within and outside of the business realm
  • Opportunities to collaborate effectively with people in or from a different cultural environment, specifically in negotiation, conflict resolution, management, and teamwork.

Each Spring the Office of Global Initiatives announces new global business courses and destinations, which are subject to change each year.

For more information visit the Office of Global Initiatives website.

-Lauren Beilin, Program Manager, Office of Global Initiatives, Robert H. Smith School of Business


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.