Santa Clara University

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V. Gaonkar:
This has been a life-changing experience for me both professionally and socially. The trip provided an opportunity to experience the lifestyle, infrastructure, people, culture and professional environments in Asia, especially in Singapore. The lifestyle and infrastructure there are similar to the US, with some subtle differences. I also got a chance to visit Hong Kong where my experiences re-affirmed the ones from Singapore.

 

I get motivated by people like Steve Reid from Glass Egg Digital Media, Ryan Hubris from V Home Group, and Binh Thai from AstraZeneca, who have successfully moved to a different part of the world. They all wanted to explore the opportunities across the world rather than concentrating just on the US. This has led to bigger and better things for them.

 

The trip has proved my notion that the “power” center of the world is shifting from west to east towards Asia. With two potential superpowers in China and India and countries like South Korea and Singapore, this part of the world is bound to take the leadership in global economic development in the next 50 years.

 

At the end of trip, I am motivated enough to think about moving to either Singapore or Hong Kong in the very near future.

 


S. Tien:
Going on the Asia trip, I expected to experience the different cultures, learn about the companies we visited, network with my classmates, see sights and have fun. While the work we did prior to the trip was extensive, it was highly beneficial for the trip. It really helped create a smooth transition into the culture of the countries and prepared us for the companies we visited. I found the cultures of each country to be very different from each other. We went from a nationalistic, homogeneous, and modernized country in S. Korea, to a multi-ethnic, law-abiding, economically mature country in Singapore, then to a developing, agricultural, opportunistic, third-world-like country in Vietnam. For all the companies we visited, every company was more than gracious with its time and gifts. From a fun perspective, the networking with my classmates and our Professors' exceptional effort and execution with the logistics created an enjoyable, stress-free environment. The food was exceptional, in particular the Singapore Chili Crab. The weather was unbearably hot and humid, which we never got used to. Personal cameras were constantly flashing left and right like we were the paparazzi. We all now have gained a better perspective of Asia and some of us are even considering working there. Overall, the trip was great experience and one I wish future SCU MBA students will get to relive.

 

C. Weir:
The 2008 Asia Trip well exceeded my expectations.  The pre-trip work, professors, contacts, and classmates were the essential ingredients to the trip that accelerated the learning process.  The main benefit of traveling to Asia with Santa Clara business students and professors is that you are in a learning environment.  Everyone on the trip was excited to learn and added value to discussions.  The gaps between company visits and meals were spent reflecting on visits and discussing cross-cultural differences.
 
Being able to share this experience with 21 people is truly special.  In two weeks I became very close with many of the students and now feel bonded to them.
 
Before this trip my international business experience was a blank sheet.  I am now able to carry an intelligent perspective on the Asian business environment and this has truly expanded my horizon.  I have rich understanding of the opportunities and difficulties companies face in the international market.  I highly recommend adding future trips to your MBA curriculum.  It was a truly invigorating and life-changing experience.


 

C. Tran:
This trip to Asia was unlike many of the other trips I’ve taken to Asia because it has broadened my understanding of the history and culture of each of the countries we visited and how those aspects influence the business world. Our trips to the companies allowed me to learn first-hand from the employees and directors of the firms on the challenges and, more importantly, the growth opportunities for the firms and the countries as well. I was very impressed with the economic prosperity gained by Korea and Singapore in such a short period of time, and radical changes being made in Vietnam to reach the same success. This trip has helped reconfirm for me why Asia will be the next powerhouse of the global economy in the near future.

 


The opportunity to meet various expatriates was quite interesting as well, as it has increased my interest in working abroad in the future. Overall it seems as if the professional and personal rewards have compensated for any cultural challenges or initial barriers.

 

In my personal experience, the evening MBA program does not provide enough time and opportunity for students to bond with one another. The study-abroad program helps serves that very need. After spending 14 full days with fellow students, I had the wonderful opportunity to learn about everyone’s background, opinions and perspectives, and even develop personal relationships. The leisure time allowed us to do some great shopping and try the exotic specialties of each country. I find the study-abroad program one of the most memorable experiences in my MBA program.

 

S. Byers:
I found out a lot about myself on this trip. People always say that Americans are not very conscious of the rest of the world. I used to think that I did not fall into that category. Yet while we were in each of these countries I constantly was behaving or thinking like an "ugly American". There were several times were I could tell that our group had violated some local custom that should have been easy to observe. At many of the company briefings I found myself thinking that some business practice being discussed was "not how we would do it in the US." The trip opened my eyes and made me realize that doing business in another country really requires some work to understand the local customs and practices.

 

International business will only become more important in the decades to come. Going on this trip has given me a distinct advantage over other MBA students who have not had the chance to travel overseas on such an adventure.

 

O. Leung:
What HP presented to us was like a Harvard Business School case.  Korea is facing a slow economy, high inflation rate, high unemployment rate, deep polarization in the society, high domestic brand loyalty from Koreans, and the fast growth of the digital convergence market.  The business analytical skills acquired from the various marketing and management courses in the MBA program gave me the ability to analyze and understand the firm’s short term, medium and long term strategy, and cross-cultural management issues.




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