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China Trip Gives MBA Students a Personal Perspective on Asia's Largest Economy

March 31, 2014
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After touring a steel mill and auto plants, viewing Beijing's skyscrapers and meeting Chinese executives, MBA student Scott Gordon has a better understanding of Asia's largest economy. "There is a lot of upside potential in China, which has an incredibly diverse business sector," he said. “I learned things that no classroom could teach me.”

Gordon was one of 26 MBA students who spent spring break in China, on a 10-day itinerary that included business visits to Baosteel, Beijing Hyundai, Black and Decker, Blu Dot, and MJ Group, among others.

The trip was the centerpiece of a two-credit graduate course, "Business in China: An In-Country Experience," organized by the University of Miami Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER).  "We offer a variety of international trips every year," said Niccole Iglesias, assistant director. "We want to give our students a better understanding of how business is done abroad.”

The 2014 China trip was led by Michael Werner, director of Accounting Master's Programs. "This was our third trip to China with MBA students, and it was phenomenal in every way," he said. "Many of our students had never seen heavy manufacturing facilities before, and touring a Black and Decker factory the size of two football fields can take away some of the mystery."

For Cristina Del Toro, MD/MBA student, one of the highlights was a visit to CreditEase, a microloan company that helps farmers in rural western China. 

She also enjoyed touring a "one-stop" private health clinic, MJ Group.   "In the U.S, diagnostic imaging and lab tests are usually done only when there's a medical need," she said. "Here, the patients are paying about US$800 for a full medical work-up that could identify potential health problems at a very early stage."

In addition to seeing Chinese businesses, the MBA students were also able to sample regional cuisine, learn about local cultures and see China's most prominent landmarks. "Being able to take a river cruise in Shanghai and ride a toboggan down the Great Wall were two of the highlights of our trip," Del Toro said. "I learned so many new things from this course. It was really an unforgettable experience."

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