Published 06/04/15

MBA students connect with Panamanian businesses through Global Immersion Experience

GIE presentation A week-long trip to Panama with fellow MBA students was the “incredible experience”  of a lifetime for Leah Babat '15 MBA.

Babat, of North Kingstown, R.I., was one of 29 students who traveled to Panama as part of Bryant’s distinctive Global Immersion Experience (GIE). In Panama, they met with representatives of local companies to expand their understanding of business and cultural practices outside of the United States.

"If there are certain strategic elements that influence international business, we want them to experience them first-hand."

The GIE and the experiential learning it provides are "distinguishing features of our MBA program,” says Madan Annavarjula, Ph.D., associate dean of the College of Business. Immersing students in a country's culture, business practices, and language enriches their understanding of international business practices while expanding their consulting skills.

“We want our students to see how businesses succeed in a different culture,” he added. “If there are certain strategic elements that influence international business, we want them to experience them first-hand.”

The students visited the Panama Canal and the Colon Free Trade Zone, met with companies to learn about their supply chain infrastructures, and met with representatives of international banks to learn how finance operates in Panama. They also shared with Panamanian firms the results of their research into business opportunities with the United States in the areas of outsourcing, manufacturing, supply chain infrastructure, and free trade vs. fair trade.

Traveling abroad can change students’ lives, says Associate Professor of Marketing Teresa McCarthy, Ph.D. The GIE's “incredible blend” of business and culture helps participating students understand “what it takes to do business abroad.”

Babat agrees. "The trip led me to consider the possibility of living and working in another country,” she says.