Why international immersion trips are a must in grad school

Students posing during supply and value chain trip to Vietnam
Graduate students visit Lazada, a company owned by Alibaba Group during the Supply Chain and Value Chain trip to Asia in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

To be a competitive job candidate in today’s world, it’s crucial to have a global mindset. Many graduate students are interested in working in international business after graduation, and all of Portland State’s graduate business programs are designed with the global value chain in mind. Our programs offer unique international trips as part of the curriculum to facilitate networking with companies in other countries. These trips involve company visits where our students can tour headquarters and world-class manufacturing facilities.

International trip options:

  • Supply Chain and Value Chain in Asia
  • Business Development in South America
  • Social Innovation in Colombia 
  • International Finance in Europe

Why today’s business leaders need a global mindset

Globalisation is ever-present in our increasingly connected world. Building an awareness of global, economic and cultural diversity equips our graduates to excel as business leaders in their field. During the international experience trips we offer, students are fully-immersed in global business and are equipped with the skills to succeed in future international business endeavors. The experiences gained on these trips allow students to learn how business leaders outside of the U.S. think, as well as identify cultural differences in business between countries. In addition to increasing international business acumen and awareness of different economic conditions, our students strengthen their intercultural communication skills, which are crucial to succeed in today’s business landscape. 

Sam Smith, a full-time MBA candidate, attended the Business Development trip to South America because he was “on the fence about the Athletic and Outdoor Industry Certificate and the Global Supply Chain Management Certificate, and this trip satisfies the requirements for both certificates.” Smith also considered the benefits of being part of a smaller group: “our group was only eight students so I got a ton of face time with the companies and was very engaged in our class time with Dave and Jeanne.” Dave Garten and Jeanne Enders are the faculty that led the trip this year. Faculty led programs make our international experiences more integrated than a pure exchange program. Courses are designed to immerse students in global culture while providing a tailored program that complements the graduate curriculum. 

Students posing at Kingston Family Vineyards
MBA students visit Kingston Family Vineyards after preparing a Stanford Business case study  in Chile as part of the Business Development trip in South America.

Continuing the international experience

In addition to the professional networking that occurs during these trips, our students get value out of the opportunity to broaden their perspective and be fully immersed in another culture. Sreyrith Seng is an example of an MBA alum who was inspired to work abroad after she attended the Supply Chain and Value Chain trip. 

“It inspired me to look into opportunities within my company to work abroad! I just recently accepted a short term assignment overseas in Hong Kong. I will be there for three months and will be working in my role as project manager to help deploy one of the first regional medical product for Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and Hong Kong markets. I’ll come back to resume my position after in the US.”

During her international experience, Srey learned active-listening and non-verbal communication are just as important in personal relationships as they are in business. 

“My effectiveness as a project manager is dependent on the relationships I build with the stakeholders involved, and being able to communicate effectively is critical to generate support from both management and the field that is impacted by the work.”

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