School of Business Students Study Abroad in ChinaSchool of Business Students Study Abroad in China

The School of Business has opened a portal to China, and several students are planning to walk through it to find internships next summer.

Jackelyn Branco ’14 – one of eight students participating in this year’s two-week summer abroad program in Beijing and Shanghai – is using LinkedIn and Facebook to stay connected with contacts she made in China. Her goal is an internship in finance, international business or economics.

“I found this trip to be a great resource to gain international exposure and cultural awareness,” said Branco. “I believe in today's global economy it is extremely important to learn and gain business exposure in China.”

This academic initiative allowed students “to learn about the achievements and challenges that China, the second-largest and an emerging global powerhouse, has experienced in its economic growth and international business development strategies,” said faculty organizer Hormoz Movassaghi, professor of finance and international business. He had traveled to China in summer 2011 with a similar program for School of Health Sciences and Human Performance students.

At Dean Mary Ellen Zuckerman’s prompting, business faculty began to plan this study abroad program last fall. The opportunity fits with the School of Business Goals and Initiatives (2009-2013) and the Ithaca College Strategic Plan, both of which seek to educate a global citizen.

“This trip to China was transformative for our students, as overseas experiences often are,” Zuckerman said. “Having the chance to learn firsthand about the Chinese economy, culture and people was an amazing and important experience for our students.”

Movassaghi taught two courses on “China: Business, Culture, Economic Development and Role of Government.” The eight students earned one credit for taking the course in spring semester and two credits for the subsequent study abroad, May 23-June 4.

Students spent five full days in both Beijing and Shanghai – getting briefings at the U.S. Embassy; visiting six Chinese companies and joint venture operations with foreign corporations; and taking seven cultural excursions, including the Bird’s Nest and Water Cube, sites of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and the Great Wall. They also met with Chinese students and IC alumni.

In Beijing, they saw Capital Steel (China’s third-largest steel producer) and Motorola Mobility Technologies. Shanghai stops included the General Motors manufacturing plant and Jones Lang LaSalle, which provides global commercial real estate services.

For Branco, a business administration major concentrating in international business and finance, the company visits provided lessons in business practices in China – especially legal issues, the establishment of joint ventures and government’s role in business.

“This trip has also educated me on the importance of cultural adaptation and awareness,” she said. “Being in China, you have to become accustomed to their culture and practices. This was one great thing I learned. No matter where you go in the world, whether it be for business or for pleasure, you need to be able to accept and embrace the country’s culture.”

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