Italy: Global Business Experience course provides an international perspective on business, culture, and education

Student group wearing yellow safety vests Students who want to advance their degree during the summer may have to choose between summer classes and vacations. Students in the Ilitch School of Business’ Italy: Global Business Experience course don’t have to make that choice.

The class was started by associate professor of global supply chain management John Taylor in 2011 and initially took students on company visits in Eastern French Canada. The class evolved over the years, and the trip moved between Poland, China, Brazil, Germany, and Holland. Now students can choose between two weeks in Italy, or two weeks in central Europe, traveling between Poland, Germany, and The Netherlands, and next year they may have even more options.

“We wanted to live up to the global supply chain management name,” says Taylor. “This trip provides learning opportunities for students in every program. During company presentations they learn about market analytics abroad, planning international production, international logistics, sustainability practices and how they are being implemented around the world. Other topics too, such as the European Union, geography, and exchange rates.”

Claire Stevens, a rising junior from Harrison Township majoring in Finance, certainly plans to bring this experience to her future job interviews. She first heard about the trip from Alpha Kappa Psi, a professional fraternity of which she is a member. Stevens traveled to Italy a week before the class began with several other members of the class.

“I’ve never been abroad before, and traveling is something that is very interesting to me. I really wanted to immerse myself in the culture,” says Stevens. “I wanted to take this opportunity while it came because who knows when I’d ever get this opportunity again.”

Although majoring in finance, Stevens feels that the global supply chain management education she received in Italy compliments her finance studies and helps her to consider new perspectives.

“It was really nice diversifying my knowledge and learning a bit more about supply chain,” says Stevens. “The educational experience that you get going on a trip like this is unmatched. You see everything firsthand and if you’re someone who’s interested in global business and incorporating that experience into your work at home and everything you do, it’s unmatched.”

When they weren’t touring factories and corporate headquarters, the class toured museums, ancient cultural sites, and explored their host cities.

“I really enjoyed my experience in the Vatican City,” said Stevens. “We saw the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, that was a really cool experience. Exploring the art and architecture of Rome was something I always dreamed about.”

Students can register for the trip as they would for any other class and can apply for study abroad scholarships to help offset the cost. Two students in this year’s class had their trips partially funded by the Rebecca Joy Butler Memorial Endowed Scholarship for Study Abroad.

Although this program has passed for the year, interested students in any program can plan to register for next summer’s class, and have the experience of a lifetime.

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