A Business Education with International Experience
One of the most important success factors when conducting business at a global level is to understand the country with which you are working, from culture to history to politics. In 2009, Sara Cook, assistant dean of Viterbo’s Dahl School of Business and director of the MBA program, and Anita Wood, professor in the Dahl School of Business, traveled to China as the first step in creating a new international business course that would include immersion in the country of focus.
The fruits of much collaboration and planning came together when the course was offered for the first time in 2011. Professor Wood led both undergraduate and MBA students through the course as well as the trip. Not only was this the first business-focused short-term study abroad opportunity but it was also the first time Viterbo has gone abroad with graduate students.
Additionally, the Dahl School of Business decided to conduct a pilot of project collaboration between students in Wood’s course and Chinese students attending the school of business at the Henan University of Science and Technology (HUST), in Luoyang, China (sister city to La Crosse). Throughout the semester-long course, the students worked with each other to build relationships and complete research projects. Peter Johnson, president of Duratech, headquartered in La Crosse with locations in China, has been supportive and involved with the course from the planning phases. This provided the opportunity for several students to complete projects for Duratech. Student, Quentin Conklin-Little (pictured here at GE Healthcare, one of Duratech’s customers), gained a summer internship opportunity at the Duratech Beijing office.
When the Viterbo students arrived in Luoyang, they met their project partners for the first time. Professor Wood led a two-day workshop at HUST, which included an opportunity for the student teams to present their projects to both Viterbo faculty and HUST faculty. The pilot was a success, thanks to the impressive representation by Viterbo students, and ended in the drafting of future collaboration intentions between the Dahl School of Business and HUST’s school of business.
In addition to Luoyang, the two-week trip included stops in Shanghai and Beijing, where the students met with various organizations, including American Chamber of Commerce Shanghai; Ingersoll Rand; CITIC’s machining factory, one of the largest in the world; HUST’s hospital; former VP of Marketing for Nike; a legal firm and accounting firm, each specializing in assisting multinational enterprises conducting business in China; and more. These visits helped the students experience first-hand what they learned in the classroom and what they are likely to experience in the workplace.
Viterbo is proud to offer this business education opportunity to students. The course will be offered every spring semester, with the trip portion included every other spring. We also look forward to continued collaboration with HUST and our other friends in Luoyang, as well as local supporters such as Duratech. If you are interested in participating in or contributing to this unique experience for students, please contact Anita Wood at firstname.lastname@example.org or (608)796-3375.