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Online MBA Program Takes a Journey to South Africa

"I would like to compliment the professors on this trip. This journey to South Africa was a great opportunity that certainly exceeded my expectations"

Online MBA and EMBA students traveled to South Africa this summer for their global practicum. The group was led by Dr. Richard Hayes, Dr. Yong Zhang, Dr. Paul Martorana and Dean Patrick Socci. Students visited a number of companies in Cape Town and Johannesburg, and met with top-level executives such as the senior vice president of Philips and CEO of Philips Africa, a multinational corporation committed to delivering meaningful innovations that enhance the lives of Africans; the head of human resources and marketing of Cape Union Mart, a large upscale retail chain in South Africa, and the founder of Waterford Wine Estate. The group also met with the chief executive officer of Yum Brands in Johannesburg, the largest food/ beverage producer in South Africa, and visited Mediclinic South Africa, a major private hospital network, where they attended presentations by its chief financial officer and chief clinical officer. The program culminated in an exciting two-day trip to the Entabeni Game Reserve where they experienced a traditional safari.

"The global practicum is an essential component of the Online MBA Program. It serves to integrate a practical experience-based component in the global, strategic aspects covered in the program's courses. This practicum provides the necessary cultural and corporate immersion that is so essential to an MBA education today," commented Dr. Kaushik Sengupta, director of the Online MBA Program and chair, Department of Management and Entrepreneurship.

For EMBA students, the trip is preceded by a team-taught, six-credit international practicum class covering important concepts in international business, with a focus on the country visited. Students view the trip as one of the highlights of the program, as it illustrates current business practices as well as cultural differences among countries. According to Barry Berman, EMBA director and the Walter H. "Bud" Miller Distinguished Professor of Business, "The trip is designed to contrast the business environment either within or between countries. Previous trips have been so successful that past graduates have chosen to attend new trip destinations."