Computer Information Systems

CoB Abroad

International Trips Provide Perspective on Global Business


 
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Students from JMU’s College of Business (CoB) became world travelers this summer, broadening their horizons while gaining a glimpse of how business is conducted in other parts of the world. 

The CIS in Europe study abroad program, led by CIS lecturer Carey Cole, gave 15 students the opportunity to study at the European University Viadrina in Frankfurt (Oder), Germany. In addition to taking two CIS courses, the students visited several European cities, historic sites and businesses.   

Highlights of the trip were visits to the Berlin offices of Deloitte and KPMG, two companies that recruit at JMU. Students listened to lectures on topics such as cloud computing and had the opportunity to meet one-on-one with a KPMG partner. The group also visited Deloitte’s Greenhouse, a unique environment for clients and employees to break away from “business as usual” to develop creative solutions to business problems. The students got a chance to develop their own problem-solving skills, working in teams and using materials such as feathers, Play-Doh, pipe cleaners and Legos to develop a model of the optimal work chair.  

“I hope that the students gained an appreciation of the fact that business and personal activities can be different in the United States and Europe,” Cole says. “In many cases, the students interacted with others that spoke English, but in other cases, they did not. Even so, they still found ways to communicate and relate to others. Overall, based on this international experience, I am hoping that the students become better rounded individuals and future information systems professionals with a more global perspective.” 

Marketing professor Mert Tokman led 18 students in the new study abroad program, “International Logistics in Panama and Colombia.” The group visited some of the world’s major logistics structures such as the Panama Canal, Panama Pacifico Logistics Park, and Colon Free Trade Zone, as well as the headquarters of Dell and Under Armour. The course included an international social entrepreneurship project that involved raising money for an orphanage by selling handicrafts made by Panamanian indigenous tribes. The trip culminated in a visit to Cartagena, Colombia where JMU students teamed with students from Universidad Tecnologica de Bolivar (UTB) to develop an avocado-based product made in Colombia and distributed in the United States. 

“Working in teams with students from a completely different culture provided our students with invaluable skills to overcome cultural and language barriers and allowed them to apply the knowledge they gained about international logistics and global supply chain on a specific project,” Tokman says. “Their experience to overcome cultural barriers went beyond merely getting through the days, but also included working with other cultures towards a common goal--creating a priceless opportunity to establish skills like adapting to change and solving problems. The knowledge they gained about international logistics and supply chain management is the icing on the cake--the cake was the real life skills they developed during this trip.”

Published: Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Last Updated: Wednesday, August 3, 2016

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