LSU EMBA Students Learn about the Global Economy, Travel to China
To be successful in today's economy, business leaders need to understand the economic, social, political and cultural forces that shape the way business is conducted in various parts of the world.
This past semester, LSU E. J. Ourso College of Business faculty and Flores Executive MBA Program students spent a week and a half in China to learn more about the country's history, culture, geography and global business practices.
Photo courtesy of Noah Hebert
In order to better prepare current and future business leaders, LSU Flores MBA Program students annually participate in business study trips to Brazil, China and India.
These trips are part of the program's "Doing business in Brazil/China/India" overseas immersion experience, which is fueled by the vision of E. J. Ourso College of Business Dean Eli Jones, who three years ago declared "globalization" as one of the key strategic initiatives in the college with emerging markets as the key focus.
Edward Watson, associate dean for graduate programs in the E. J. Ourso College of Business and director of the Flores MBA Program, works closely with Jones; Ye-Sho Chen, director of emerging markets for the E. J. Ourso College of Business; and MBA faculty and international partners to prepare each trip as part of the "Doing business in Brazil/China/India," which includes four trips per year – two to China and one each to India and Brazil.
"We are seeing these international study trips are becoming quite important in our students education," Watson said. "Many of our students chose the Flores MBA Program because of these trips. These trips have become a competitive advantage relative to other MBA programs in this region."
According to Watson, MBA faculty participate on these trips so "all MBA faculty can share in this experience with the MBA students, and can leverage these trips to help them internationalize their own MBA courses. Our faculty have also leveraged these trips for research purposes as they have connected with our academic partners abroad during these trips."
"The EMBA trip to China far exceeded my expectations and proved to be a learning experience of a lifetime. We had access to high ranking Chinese government officials in Beijing, the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong and champions of industry in between. The group learned by immersing ourselves into Chinese culture as well as conducted in depth conversations and interviews with politicians and industry leaders. The students gained a greater understanding of what is necessary for the U.S. to compete on the global stage and how to conduct business in China."
- Kirk Fisher
"I thoroughly enjoyed my visit … it was an excellent learning experience that I would not have had on my own. I have a different outlook on the world and how it does business. From what I have seen, I truly believe that at the pace they are moving, I will see China become a true equal to the U.S. in my lifetime."
- Christopher Bailey
"This was the opportunity of a lifetime for me. I really enjoyed seeing the people of the great nation in the normal states of being in the villages and back alleys. I think their work ethic and intense motivation to provide speaks volume to the success of the country has had in such a short period of time."
- Ben Mabile
For Executive MBA, or EMBA, students, an international residency in China is part of the program curriculum, with the cost of the trip included in the program's tuition. Many full-time MBA and Professional MBA students take the trip each year also, and those students pursuing an emerging markets specialization may take all three trips during their MBA studies.
MBA students pay for the majority of the cost of the trips with additional support from the Flores MBA Office and the LSU Flores MBA Alumni Association, who annually hold "Louisiana Looking Up" to raise funds for student travel. The most recent "Louisiana Looking Up" raised $50,000 to support these learning experiences.
"These trips tend to be very eye-popping, jaw dropping experiences," Watson said. "The students are exposed to global business practices across many industries and in many different sized companies. They get to meet with a very diverse group of decisions makers."
This past semester, Watson and another MBA faculty member, Richard White, along with a group of EMBA students spent a week and a half in China to learn more about the country's history, culture, geography and global business practices.
"Today, it is absolutely essential for our students – especially business students – to appreciate the challenges and opportunities of living and working in a global economy," said White, Marjory B. Ourso Professor for Academic Excellence and associate dean for academic affairs in the E. J. Ourso College of Business. "The world keeps shrinking, the pace of change quickens, and the better our students can understand these phenomena, the better they can compete and excel."
Many MBA students – full time, executive and professional – take advantage of the E. J. Ourso College of Business' international study opportunities through the college's Emerging Markets Initiative.
"LSU's E. J. Ourso College has a really good thing going here with its globalization initiative, and the Flores MBA Program has taken it the distance," said Noah Hebert, an LSU EMBA student who participated on the trip. "I feel blessed to have gotten the opportunity, but I am very proud to have represented the Tigers abroad."
During the trip, students meet with various business leaders and decision makers across many industries to learn more about business challenges and career opportunities within the global economy. Students visited businesses in China including the Junhe Law Firm, Shaw, Control Risks, 3M, Waste Management and Hans Laser, along with the Central University of Economics.
"We all have amazing memories to last a lifetime, but I gained a real perspective on China, the people and the general business environment," Hebert said.
The trip also includes cultural outings to important areas such as the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square.
During the "Doing business in Brazil/China/India" overseas immersion experience, students meet with various business leaders and decision makers across multiple industries to learn more about business challenges and career opportunities within the global economy.
Photo courtesy of Edward Watson
Hebert said that his favorite parts of the trip included seeing the Great Wall in Beijing and the amazing skylines in Shanghai and Hong Kong, but he felt the business visits were fascinating.
"Hans Laser in Shanghai taught us that most designer blue jeans are faded with lasers, while Waste Management's visit included a new trash-burning energy facility that took all the way to the East China Sea coast," he said.
The China trip is structured into the EMBA curriculum as a course titled "Understanding International Management Challenges." The focus of the course is learning theories and management of international operations and the development of environmental, operational, strategic and decision making perspectives.
"We designed this program knowing that our graduates will be leading multi-national organizations at some point in their career, or they will be running companies that are expanding overseas," Watson said. "Our international MBA study trips to China, Brazil and India are definitely having an impact on our students' lives and careers. Driven by our dean's vision, guided by the knowledge and experiences of our faculty and of our international partners (both academic partners and third party international services partners), we have carefully designed and executed international study trips that are making a difference."
Herbert said that the major thing he got out of the trip was a perspective on globalization overall.
"There's a lot of fierce competition, but there are also huge opportunities abroad. Knowing these first-hand is a huge advantage," he said.
The China trip is structured into the EMBA curriculum as a course titled "Understanding International Management Challenges," which stresses learning theories and management of international operations and the development of environmental, operational, strategic and decision making perspectives.
Photo courtesy of Edward Watson
The EMBA curriculum is designed for working professionals who would like to earn their MBA, while continuing their current employment. Each class of students progresses through the curriculum together and are encouraged to learn from each other through traditional academic work and shared experiences.
Students in the EMBA track improve business management and organizational skills; develop analytical problem-solving and critical-thinking skills; integrate emerging technologies into their careers; develop a network of high-performing colleagues outside their company; master cutting-edge business tools and methods; enhance leadership skills; save money – tuition costs also cover books, parking, meals, international study trip and other services and earn an LSU Flores MBA, all while continuing their careers.
The EMBA track is intended for the working professional with a minimum of five years of business experience. It constitutes 17 months of study over two academic years, with classes held on alternate Fridays and Saturdays. Two one-week periods of concentrated study are also included. Recent EMBA students have represented companies such as Turner, PPG, Shaw, Albemarle, Entergy, Waste Management, as well as small businesses and public sector organizations.
The EMBA's 42-hour core curriculum consists of 14 core courses covering all major business fields and includes three elective courses that cover special topics of interest. The flexible curriculum allows students to specialize in their chosen field but still reflects the core business principles needed for success.
For more information about the LSU EMBA, visit http://www.bus.lsu.edu/academics/mba/emba.asp.
LSU also offers full-time and professional MBA programs. For more information about these, visit http://www.bus.lsu.edu/academics/mba/.