The study abroad experience came alive for 22 juniors and seniors at the John Cook School of Business when they journeyed to Panama in January for the "Emerging Markets Field Study."
|SLU students painting a playground during a recent study abroad trip to Panama. Photo by Ron Moore|
For nearly two weeks, students gained a first-hand, practical understanding of business competition in emerging markets - specifically Panama. In addition, they had the opportunity to experience another culture and share their commitment to SLU's Jesuit mission of service to others.
During their 13-day excursion to Central America, the students were based at the City of Knowledge, a campus in Panama City that includes an international center for education and encourages innovative, entrepreneurial and sustainable development within Panama.
Amparo Kollman-Moore, an alumna of SLU's Executive Master of International Business (EMIB) program and former head of Mallinckrodt's Latin American operations, headed up the trip.
Currently an adjunct instructor for the University's Boeing Institute of International Business, Kollman-Moore led the students through an interactive course featuring guest lectures, corporate and cultural excursions, case studies, a team research project, student presentations and a service project.
Kollman-Moore takes great pride in sharing the course and her experiences with such an eager and very bright group of students.
"The transformation of the students from mere observers before the trip into aware participants of how to do business in an emerging market is my greatest satisfaction," Kollman-Moore said.
|A member of the Embera Village shares his culture with undergrad business students. Photo by Ron Moore|
Through corporate visits to the National Maritime Authority, the Panama Banking Association, Banco Genral, DAMCO-MAERSK, the U.S. Embassy and Grupo Rey, students explored the differences in managerial, financial and marketing practices in economies at different levels of development.
For Meredith Chalk, a senior majoring in international business, those visits were significant.
"Getting to go into the different businesses was a great hands-on approach to learning what business is like in an emerging market," Chalk said.
In addition to the corporate visits, students experienced the culture of Panama through a weekend trip to the Anton Valley to observe the impact of geography and the environment on Panamanian culture. They also traveled by canoe to the Emberá Village to witness how the indigenous village continues to survive despite the surrounding industrialization.
In keeping with the Jesuit mission to be men and women for others, the trip concluded with a service project for Fundación ProEd, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting Panama's schools through the development of teachers. The students cleaned and painted a classroom and playground in the hopes of leaving their SLU mark on a country that had taught them so much.
Senior Christina Lu said that although the trip was less than two weeks, the study abroad session in Panama was the most intense and practical course she had experienced.
"This absolutely expanded my worldwide view as a student majoring in international business," Lu said. "During the trip, we were exposed to the historical and modern side of Panama City which helped us understand the strategic role of the country."
|Diego Pachecho, Michael Robertson and David Black at the Anton Valley Mud Bath. Photo by Ron Moore|
"Through several corporate visits, I was surprised about the unique monetary policy of Panama and its rapid growth as an emerging market," Lu added. "Along with country presentations from fellow students and the instructor, I learned about the business and political environments of major Latin American countries."
"Studying about those countries while being in that environment gave me the opportunity to absorb cultural and social norms that are practical for my future career."
To learn more about the international business program and study abroad opportunities, visit the Boeing Institute of International Business website or call (314) 977-3898.