Traveling seems much more common for students completing their undergraduate degrees. For your MBA, you are most likely working full time, have a family, and are finishing yet another degree. Where does travel fit in? Can it even fit in? Two weeks sounds like a long time away—especially after the holidays. In my case, I only missed eight days of work to complete a full credit graduate class. Post-travel, I’ve been able to work on my paper at my own pace which is so different than any class I’ve taken since undergrad.
In an MBA program, you are taking classes with a lot of seasoned professionals from many different paths of life whether online, in person, or a mix of the two. When taking a class with International Business Seminars, you have the ability to travel with professionals from across the country and visit companies in person. For me, it felt like I combined almost a years’ worth of classes into a short two-week period. Why? Because the people you talk to at these different companies will talk about different aspects of how the company operates from marketing and sales, I.T., operations, accounting, all the way to finance.
What Happens There?
The minute you land you are part of a small family. IBS is one of the most professional and put-together companies I have ever worked with. Every question you could possibly have will be answered before you leave the U.S. You have a very detailed itinerary for each company, city, and country you will be visiting. But don’t worry—there is plenty of free time. Usually, your company visit will be in the morning or early afternoon, and you’ll have a designated area to find lunch, and you will have the afternoon and evening free! On top of visiting world-renowned companies (such as Coca-Cola, Intel, or BMW) you will have time to enjoy the food and local culture of the city you are in. There are usually amazing opportunities described ahead of time, too, for your free-day activities such as paragliding, rafting, tours of local areas, etc.
How Do I Get the Most of My Experience Abroad?
Ask Questions. At the end of your experience, you will deliver a paper summarizing your trip (with additions based on your program/university). Before you leave, take a look at the itinerary and figure out the core of each business you will attend. For companies that are a little hazier ask more questions when you’re there in person. If there’s a company you are very excited about, ask the crucial questions that you know you can’t find online. There is no experience like sitting at a table or standing in a room, with executives from a company whose brand you are truly loyal too, and believe in, to hear them reiterate the quality and support of their product.
What Are the People Like?
It depends on your program! Personally, I am one of the younger students in my MBA program, so I didn’t mind being in a mixed group of undergraduate and graduate students. In undergrad, I traveled to Europe for 21 days with IBS, so I knew for my MBA, I wanted to visit Asia (Vietnam & Thailand). We had a very professional group with students from all around the U.S. You get the chance to meet all the students through different group dinners and activities, too. You also rotate roommates each time you enter a new city. It’s great because you can always find a group who wants to do something a little different. In Paris on our free day, another girl and I went to Disneyland Paris together, while when in Thailand, practically our whole group visited the elephant sanctuary together. My advice is to invest fully in the experience to get the most out of your trip.