CONTACT: GEORGE MCCRORY
300 Plaza Centre One
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0012; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: April 4, 2002
MBA students travel to Brazil
Executive MBA (EMBA) programs at the University of Iowa's Tippie College of
Business are intense. Students complete courses in a compressed format, and
the demands on their time from their personal, professional and academic lives
present numerous challenges. This spring, another exciting component was added
to the EMBA experience. Forty-one second-year students from the Tippie College
of Business' two executive MBA classes traveled to Brazil for a one-week international
business experience that complements their curriculum.
"This experience provides our students with a new way of looking at the
world," said John Fraser, director of the Executive MBA Program. "Not
only do they gain insight into a different culture, language, cuisine, and
business practices, but they also formulate a model of how one should conduct
business in another country. It's extremely valuable."
The itinerary for the March 10-15 trip began in Sao Paulo, a city with
a population of 18 million. A partnership between the UI and the Business
School Sao Paulo provided students with lectures taught by Brazilian-based
business faculty. These lectures focused on such topics as Brazil's business
environment, electric power industry, market for imports, foreign trade agreements,
and how Brazil fits within the global economy.
"This trip re-emphasized the detail and planning that is required
if a business is serious about establishing operations in another country,"
says Karen Willett, a senior electrical engineer at Rockwell Collins. "There
are so many cultural differences. It was a wonderful experience."
In Sao Paulo, students gained a first-hand view of international business
practices by visiting several corporations. Businesses included Syngenta,
a leading global agribusiness; Computer Associates, which provides software
solutions for e-business; and EMBRAER, a manufacturer of regional jets.
Prior to the trip, the students broke into 10 teams, and each selected
one business to visit during the week. Students were responsible for solidifying
all details, including making initial contact with the business, scheduling
a visit, working through any language difficulties, and gaining an understanding
of the company and the business challenges it faces.
The companies ranged from businesses that manufacture
gears and transaxles of automotive and agricultural machinery to those specializing
in the design, manufacture and sale of electrical equipment. For many, this
experience was a highlight because it gave them a first-hand look at the challenges
American business people face when trying to establish business relationships
in foreign countries.
For Greg Cornish, a senior engineering manager at Square D, a visit
to Schneider Electric Brazil was an exceptional opportunity, especially since
Square D is a subsidiary of French-owned Schneider Electric. "There is
an international dimension to this company that I was previously unaware of,"
he states. "In addition to visiting the Brazilian headquarters, we also
toured a manufacturing plant in Guararema, outside Sao Paulo."
The trip ended in Rio de Janeiro, where students attended a lecture
on the business culture and environment of Brazil by Janaina Cardoso, an expert
in linguistics and Brazilian cultures. In addition to touring the city of
six million, the students were able to enjoy a performance of traditional
folk music and dance at Plataforma. The whirlwind trip only allowed for one
day for the students to be tourists. In addition to visiting the famous statue
of Christ atop Corcovado Mountain, several students took advantage of an opportunity
to hang glide from a mountain down to the Rio beaches.
The trip participants included 11 students from the Executive MBA Program
in Iowa City and 30 from the Dual Degree Program
These students are earning both an executive MBA from the University of Iowa
and a master of engineering degree in systems engineering from Iowa State
University. This unique program was created to fill the need of area businesses
that wanted to provide talented engineers with educational opportunities that
would not only advance their engineering expertise but also would expand their
business and leadership skills.
Nineteen students in the Dual Degree Program are from Rockwell Collins,
which was instrumental in developing the program. Plans are being developed
to offer the Dual Degree Program again, with a tentative start date of January
2003. Classes for the program are presented in the University of Iowa's Cedar
Rapids Area Education and Conference Center.
Enrollment in the Executive MBA Program (http://www.biz.uiowa.edu/mba/current/exec/)
begins each fall. While the Iowa City program has been going strong for many
years, this fall will mark the first year that the Executive MBA Program will
be available in Des Moines. Classes will begin this fall in a newly completed
executive classroom at the Junior Achievement Krause Center.
Information on Executive MBA programs is available by calling (319)
335-1039; by emailing email@example.com; or visiting http://www.biz.uiowa.edu/mba/current/exec/.