Undergraduate students in the Opus College of Business have the opportunity to study abroad during the fall semester on a UST sponsored study abroad trip called the London Business Semester. A group of about 50 students travel to London during their junior or senior year accompanied by two OCB faculty members each fall to not only learn a new perspective of business but also to learn a significant amount about themselves, methods of getting around in foreign countries and to quickly convert dollars to Pounds or Euros.
As a ’01 London Business Semester alumna myself, I was interested to hear about the trip this fall. Professor Dave Brennan was one of the faculty leads on the trip and provided some interesting observations of business in London:
- London dominates England and the U.K. more than New York or any other city in the U.S. It is the largest metro area with a population of approximately 13 million or over 20% of the U.K. It dominates the country’s social, economic, political, athletic, entertainment and media environments. In comparison, the New York metro area has 18 million people, but is less than 6% of the U.S. population and is not the political capitol.
- Retailing in London is different than the U.S. There are fewer malls and more high streets or fashion shopping streets. There are fewer department stores, but some exceptional ones like Harrod’s. Specialty stores dominate the landscape rather than big box stores. Grocery stores are smaller and often located near tube stations, bus stops or near densely populated areas.
- American brands are limited in London. Some American companies buy local companies and keep their name while others intentionally name their product differently to sound more British. One standout product is Pringles. It is everywhere from supermarkets, convenience stores, gas stations, theatres (plays), etc. They also have a wide variety of sizes and different flavors including some for Christmas with sweets and spices.
- Food is purchased more frequently here. Why? Refrigerators are smaller, food lacks preservatives, and people prefer fresh. Organic is big – way ahead of the States. Eggs are free range, British and Irish beef touted (non-genetically modified feed or drugs as in the U.S.), and many more vegetarian options are offered in restaurants. (more…)