February 16, 2023

Students Go Abroad on Faculty-led, Short-term Programs After a Two Year Break

For the first time since 2020, undergraduate and MBA students at the Robert H. Smith School of Business spent the winter 2023 term participating in faculty-led, short-term study abroad programs. The Center for Global Business (CGB) organized and held five winter programs with destinations across Europe, South Africa, Singapore, Vietnam, and Brazil, focusing on a variety of topics like social entrepreneurship, supply chain, and emerging technology in global contexts.


The program, focusing on the role of emerging technology, environmental, social, and governance (ESG) topics, UK and European regulation, and the historical foundations in accounting and finance industries, drew 24 undergraduate students who traveled across London, Brussels, Paris, Florence, and Rome. Led by Clinical Professor of Accounting Jim McKinney, students discovered how vital a global mindset is in developing the accounting profession and industry’s leaders of tomorrow. Serene Li, an undergraduate Accounting and Information Systems student in her junior year, detailed that the experience “played a significant role in building a global mindset by providing [them] with exposure to cultures, perspectives, and ways of thinking.”

South Africa

Led by Jeanette Snider, adjunct professor, 20 undergraduate Smith students traveled to Cape Town, South Africa to learn more about social entrepreneurship and innovation in the contemporary South African context. The program offered a hands-on opportunity that, according to Meron Henok, a senior undergraduate student who participated in the program, says the experience “contributed to [their] professional development,” allowing them to “think outside the box” and “expanded [their] ability to think innovatively” as a social entrepreneur and leader. Students participated in opportunities for theoretical engagement and reflection through a series of seminars and site visits. During their excursion, students were tasked to experiment with a system’s building blocks to better understand what makes up the South African system.

Additionally, 30 MBA students ventured to South Africa with Associate Professor Bennet Zelner to delve even deeper into understanding the culture, policies, structures, values, and beliefs responsible for building up the framework for social entrepreneurship in South Africa. Students engaged in interactive experiential learning activities and participated in symposiums with local leaders of Cape Town. Nandita Ravishankar, a Flex MBA Management student, says the program helped contribute to building a global mindset by exposing them to new business perspectives. They were especially interested in how “each business spoke about South Africa’s history and how it made a difference in how they choose to operate.”

Singapore & Vietnam

In conjunction with the QUEST (Quality Enhancement Systems and Teams) Honors Program, Adjunct Professor David Ashley led the way for 28 students to explore Singapore and Hanoi, Vietnam to gain insight into how global businesses operate from logistical and supply chain standpoints. With the core of the program focusing on the challenges faced by emerging markets in Hanoi and mature shipping centers in Singapore, students examined the process of getting a product to a market and how the challenges carried through each stage of the supply chain. An undergraduate student who participated noted that the experience gave them the opportunity to “consider global context in [their] work” in addition to encouraging them to explore a new career path in product management and developing a future with global ties.


Led by Clinical Professor Paulo Prochno, 32 MBA students traveled to Brazil to explore the business environment and to gain insight into how culture impacts the operations of a country both domestically and internationally. The program offered a hands-on, experiential learning opportunity for students to collaborate on a team consulting project for industry-leading companies in Brazil. Nicholas Celedon, a Flex MBA student, says that the experience was “multifaceted” in the way that the program allowed them to realize that “understanding how a country’s economy operated sheds light on the political climate and global impact” and ultimately “helped mold [their] career trajectory.”

Josh Freedholm, a second-year, full-time MBA student, further details that the experience “enables them to take global impacts and integrations into account when entering the corporate world.” The program served as “a reminder to always be considering the potential that lies in the interconnectedness of worldwide markets.”

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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