Published 01/25/16

MBA students transcend the classroom through Global Immersion Experience

Bryant's Global Immersion Experience (GIE) can be transformational for the MBA students who take part.

The three-credit course includes travel and collaboration with partners abroad – field experience that introduces students to the economic opportunities and challenges of doing business abroad. A required group project with the host country builds on core constructs of the students’ first semester of academic study.

"We want our students to see how businesses succeed in a different culture."

The course requirements are rigorous. They include: readings and cases, a research project and written report, a presentation focusing on the highlights of the research project, and a comprehensive business opportunity report. The course culminates with a reflective paper on lessons learned.

This year’s MBA cohort, comprising 37 students and three faculty members, recently returned from Panama, where they met with representatives from Panamanian businesses including: Dell, Panamcham (Pan American Chamber of Commerce), Panama Pacifico, Global Bank, Colon Free Trade Zone, and Grupa Wisa.

This was the GIE’s second experience in Panama. Last year, students visited the Panama Canal and the Colon Free Trade Zone, had meetings at companies to learn about their supply chain infrastructures, and connected 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.

Jeffry Vendetti ’16 MBA of Franklin, MA, benefitted greatly from participating in the GIE.

“It was transformational. I got to experience not just the culture of a location but also the business side,” he says. “In class, I read a description of how a logistics company warehouse would operate. In Panama, I observed how such a factory functioned, which helped to expand and enrich my learning experience and knowledge.”

During the GIE, all MBA cohorts come together as one. Vendetti appreciates that the program helped him to build his network.

“Whether it was fellow students in other cohorts, business professionals we met, or Bryant alumni we interacted with, my network is definitely more useful now,” he says.

The GIE and the experiential learning it provides are “distinguishing features of our MBA Program,” says Dean of the College of Business Madan Annavarjula, Ph.D. “We want our students to see how businesses succeed in a different culture. If there are certain strategic elements that influence international business, we want them to experience that firsthand.”