By Cheryl Toomey, University Relations Graduate Assistant
UTC College of Business students are getting a rare opportunity to see the world. Two classes will be offered in the spring semester and one in the summer that will center around ten day trips abroad.
“I think, in today’s environment, the world truly is getting flat, it’s a global economy, so to expose students to international business and different cultures and what that means for business is really critical for their education,” says College of Business Dean Robert Dooley.
“Business and Culture in Vietnam” and “German Culture and How to Do Business in Germany” will be offered in Spring 2014.
These classes are a particularly great opportunity for those students who cannot spend an entire semester abroad.
“In the College of Business, we have been trying to expand the international program offerings for our majors, but for many of our students, doing a traditional semester long study abroad program is not viable,” says Dooley. “They’re either working full time or they can’t take that much time away to go overseas. So we’ve been exploring some opportunities for them to do more short term study abroad programs.”
These classes will involve related course work prior to and following the trips abroad.
Dooley has been traveling to Vietnam with students since 2002.
“Vietnam is one of the fastest growing economies in Asia. So that’s kind of the next wave in terms of economic developments,” says Dooley.
Dr. Frank Butler will be teaching the Germany course. Butler worked in Germany for three years and is fluent in German.
“We’re focusing in on getting an understanding of how to do business in Germany. We tend to teach a very ethnocentric, U.S. focused version of running a business, and we’re trying to get the international component in,” says Butler.
The trip to Germany is in partnership with Ostfalia University in Wolfsburg, the headquarters of Volkswagen.
“Germany is critically important to the economy of the European Union right now, and considering the relationship with Volkswagen, it makes a lot of sense in terms of strengthening our partnership there as well as here,” explains Dooley.
Butler also taught the International Management class that traveled to Mexico in summer 2013 semester.
“We had students that went with us last August to Mexico that had never been out of the country before, so I think it was a good way to expose the students to a foreign country in a way that they would not have easily gotten otherwise,” says Butler.
Jim Walpert, an M.B.A student, went on the trip to Mexico.
“It broadens your horizons. These days, it’s a global economy. This gives you a base to learn about how other countries and other cultures do business. A lot of companies have people come from overseas to work and this helps you understand their culture, not just business culture, but personal culture as well,” said Walpert.
Students interested in taking one of the classes must apply. Undergraduate majors with a junior standing and a 2.5 average are eligible to apply, as well as graduate students. Applicants are required to complete a one-page essay detailing why the trip would be beneficial to them. Applicants are no longer being accepted for the Germany and Vietnam trips, but students interested in the repeat trip to Mexico in summer 2014 semester should begin considering it now.
“I think it’s just a great opportunity for the students and for the cost it’s probably one of the most inexpensive yet fulfilling ways of seeing another country. You know you couldn’t really do all of what we’ll do just on a vacation. There’s so much more to it, the fact that we get to get into the businesses, meet with business leaders over there, get the structures from their teachers firsthand about some of the things they would face doing business there. I just think it’s hard to beat the experience in that time frame,” says Butler
“Chattanooga really has become a global city, so I think this is a natural extension of UTC looking externally to global business,” says Dooley.