EMBA Students Explore Global Business Like Never Before

EMBA students during a business visit to the BMW plant in Cairo, Egypt.
EMBA students visit the BMW plant in Cairo, Egypt.

This spring 25 EMBA students put their jobs on hold in the Western United States to participate in the first-ever EMBA foreign business excursion to the Middle East. They returned with a broader perspective of global business and some new stamps in their passports.

Just a few months before graduation, all EMBA students simultaneously take part in a 15-day foreign business excursion. While the largest group of the 64 students went to the Middle East, 22 went to Asia and 17 went on the Europe business excursion. During all excursions students visit with small to multinational businesses in addition to learning about and touring cultural and historical sites.

Will Parco, an EMBA student who works full time with Layton Construction, was one of the 25 who made the groundbreaking journey to the Middle East.  

"It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," Parco says. "I wanted to see how they do business in a part of the world I'd never see otherwise."

For Parco it was interesting to note the differences and similarities of construction operations in the United States versus Dubai, United Arab Emirates, by visiting Al Habtoor Leighton Group, one of the Middle East's leading construction management firms.

"They deal with very intricate architectural designs; however, some of the technology is a few years behind what we use. Consequently, greater care needs to be taken to reduce the frequency of having something built wrong in the Middle East," Parco says. "But management-wise it's the same principles: managing quality and scope, controlling costs and doing it safely."

Although the foreign business excursion has been a consistent part of the EMBA program for almost 20 years, the destinations change in sync with the areas of increasing development in global business.

"The excursions have evolved with the times," says Tad Brinkerhoff, director of the EMBA program. "The excursions are more diverse and innovative to fit what students should be exposed to in the current global environment."

In addition to taking away a better understanding of cutting-edge global business, another objective of the EMBA excursions is for the students to form stronger connections to their peers.

"When you travel through the Middle East with a group for two weeks, you create a special bond," Brinkerhoff says. "This perpetuates the goal of having students leave the program with a strong network."

EMBA students returned to the Beehive state with a greater understanding of global awareness and how to embrace the similarities and differences.

"It was an eye-opening experience," says Steve Klingler, senior vice president of direct sales for Basic Research and an EMBA student who participated in the Asia foreign business excursion. "It was a tremendous complement to all that we've learned in the classroom during the past two years. I felt like I was learning all the time. Even during free time there were constant new observations."

The Marriott School is located at Brigham Young University, the largest privately owned, church-sponsored university in the United States. The school has nationally recognized programs in accounting, business management, public management, information systems, entrepreneurship and recreation management and youth leadership. The school's mission is to prepare men and women of faith, character and professional ability for positions of leadership throughout the world. Approximately 3,300 students are enrolled in the Marriott School's graduate and undergraduate programs.

Media Contact: Joseph Ogden (801) 422-8938
Writer: Sarah Tomoser