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Global Business, Newsroom, OCB Commentary, Study Abroad

Observations from Across the Pond: UST London Business Semester Fall 2012


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. Continue Reading
Global Business, Newsroom, OCB Alumni, Study Abroad

Study Abroad Matters: An Alumnus Looks Back

This post comes from The Global Business Education Initiative.

Patrick Fogarty, a graduate of the University of St. Thomas, recently completed his degree in business administration, legal studies in Business, ethics and business law. He is currently employed by General Electric Capital Corporation as a global sourcing analyst. This post is the story of his global study experiences–which helped lead him on his current path.

While at the University of St. Thomas, I had the pleasure of studying abroad three separate times. Each experience broadened my global awareness and appreciation for other cultures. I culminated my undergraduate experience with Management 480, Strategic Management in London, England and Ireland. I chose to participate in this course thinking that it would be the perfect way to transition from college to a full time job – which is exactly what happened. Now that I am a year into my career, I am able to reflect on what influences this particular experience had on my perceptions while operating in the “business world.”

We live in an ever-changing, global economy. Businesses operate differently than they did in the past. Continue Reading

Newsroom, OCB Alumni, Study Abroad

Study Abroad Matters: Be Open,Take Chances

This post comes from The Global Business Education Initiative.

Elizabeth Heisler recently  graduated from St. Thomas with a double major in human resources management and business communications and a minor in communications and journalism. She now works for Target as a sales floor executive team leader. This post is the story of one experience–a particular class–which helped lead her on her current path.

The summer before my senior year I took the Management 480 class abroad. We spent time in London, England where we also took a cultural immersion class. Then we journeyed to Cork, Ireland. I had never been out of the country before and was both nervous and excited about the adventure. But, from playing bat-n-trap (a sort of cross between baseball, cricket and trap-shooting) with the locals at a 300-year-old pub to kissing the Blarney stone, this experience was one of a kind and my only regret is that I did not participate in more study abroad opportunities. Continue Reading

Global Business, Newsroom, Study Abroad

German Business Students to Negotiate at St. Thomas May 2013

A partnership between the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business and the Fachhochschule  Trier in Germany offers their students a unique experience. Students meet peers from other countries; discover cultural differences and commonalities; study international business, trade laws and ethics; and apply that knowledge in contract negotiations.

Check out our recent blog posts from an MBA student on her experience negotiating in Germany.

Hauptmarkt public square is Trier's main marketplace

Trier is the oldest German city, with an approximate population of 105,000. It is located in the very west of Germany on the banks of the Moselle River, near the Luxembourg border.

Business students from the Fachhochschule Trier will visit St. Thomas next spring (May 27 to June 1) to engage in simulated contract negotiations with St. Thomas students as part of International Business Law and Business, Law & Ethics courses (BLAW 303 & BLAW 615). Site visits and meetings with executives from multinational organizations will provide insight and exposure to legal, business, contractual, ethical and cultural issues that business professionals face in international business.

Read more on The Global Business Education Initiative blog.

Newsroom, Study Abroad

Going for the win-win

It’s been said that if the first genetically modified food product (GMO) explored in the European Union had been a banana with extra nutrition for developing countries, the entire perspective on GMOs would be different.

Instead, crops with insecticide and herbicide properties were discussed. Because of concerns about how these plants might affect the community and local ecosystem, they never caught on in the EU, regardless of their ability to increase crop yields (and probably profitability). Why alter agricultural production methods simply to cater to the wishes of foreign Big Businesses many Europeans wondered, especially when the long-term effects of GMOs are so unknown? In contrast, the majority of corn and soybeans grown in the US are genetically modified and few think twice or worry about their potential affects. Continue Reading

Newsroom, Study Abroad

Tales from Abroad: Negotiations are Hard

This post is by Lindsey Buhrmann, student in the Evening UST MBA program currently taking part in a UST MBA study abroad trip. Lindsey has been chronicling her trip on her blog, Lead Changes and we will share a few posts here with you.

The first thing I’ve learned is that negotiations are hard. Our goal is simple: develop a contact to import granola bars into the European Union with respect to the cultural norm in much of the EU that says food that has been genetically modified is bad.

While this might not seem like a big deal to many Americans who are generally unaware of genetic modification (who can dislike something when few are even aware it exists?), it is a huge deal for our German counterparts. The Germans, students from Trier, have come to Brussels to meet us in “neutral territory” to begin discussions about the contract (which isn’t even a real contract, but an international negotiation exercise for both groups of business students). In a few days, we will travel to Germany and complete the contract. Continue Reading

EveningMBA, Newsroom, OCB Commentary, Study Abroad

Follow the Sun

This post is by Lindsey Buhrmann, student in the Evening UST MBA program and comes from her blog, Lead Changes.

Smooth Sailing in MinneapolisThree weeks ago I didn’t realize that Sydney, Australia, is a 16-hour time difference from Minneapolis, or that Minnesota/London office hours take place during “my morning” and “their afternoon.” In short, while I was aware of life and commerce outside of “The Land of 10,000 Lakes,” I didn’t need to operate in a global environment on a daily basis.

I recently started a new job at a large multinational organization, which means my days are now spent working in a global environment. It’s exciting and a bit humbling to see how business is done on an international scale and I get so energized communicating with, assisting and learning from my colleagues around the world.

Continue Reading

Newsroom, Study Abroad

The Challenge and the Opportunity of 3 Study Abroad Trips

IMG_0204When Evening UST MBA student Molly Brusman will graduate this summer she will have taken complete advantage of the study abroad options offered in the program. In 2010, she traveled to London to study risk leadership, this past J-Term she went to Hong Kong to learn about global financial services and next month she departs for Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg to round out her experience studying business, law and ethics in the European Union.

Brusman, who started her degree in the fall of 2008, has a concentration in management. As an RN and a patient care manager at Allina Hospitals she manages two clinical units and leads a team of nurses.

“I jumped at the opportunity to travel for the cultural experience and because it was a different way to complete a class,” she said. “Normally you work all day and you’re tired coming into class. With a study abroad, you devote all of your focus and energy to the trip.” Continue Reading

Newsroom, OCB Commentary, Study Abroad

Easter Greetings from the Opus College of Business

Springtime at the UST Bernardi campus in Rome

Springtime at the UST Bernardi campus in Rome

The University of St. Thomas is closed for the Easter holiday from Friday, April 22 through Monday, April 25.  We will return on Tuesday with new blog content.  In the meantime, we hope you’ll enjoy these Easter-related posts taken from bloggers at the UST Rome campus over the past few years:

Reflections from Rome

Easter Celebrations

Easter Week in Rome

EveningMBA, Newsroom, Study Abroad

Study Abroad–“The Necessary Pinnacle of the Graduate Experience”

This post is by Julie Schulte, an Evening UST MBA student who participated in several UST J-Term Study Abroad trips and shares here her reflection on the value of her experiences.

BenIn today’s environment it is critical that business leaders have a global perspective.  This cannot be done by reading alone; it must be experienced firsthand.  There is less and less distinction between domestic and international issues in business and the boundaries are becoming more blurred.  It is a fundamental reality today that we all live, work and compete in a global environment.

There are a multitude of benefits that a study abroad experience can provide an MBA student: having a good understanding of the global community; being aware of the risks and opportunities this may provide; and being comfortable operating in the global environment to name a few.

I believe that there is a unique aspect to the study abroad program for working professionals enrolled in the Evening UST MBA program—the study abroad experiences were the necessary pinnacle of the graduate experience for the working MBA student. Continue Reading