Two-week worldwide tours enable MBA students to take hands-on approach to global business

AUSTIN, Texas—To explore opportunities in global markets, 241 MBA students from the University of Texas at Austin’s McCombs School of Business will set out March 5 for a series of two-week global study tours to China, India, Eastern Europe and other locations around the world.

An increasing number of MBA programs offer study tours, which feature intensive meetings with executives, strategists and government leaders. The McCombs trips are distinctive for their hands-on approach. In addition to learning about foreign practices, McCombs students will complete and deliver consulting projects for companies doing business in their host countries.

U.S.-based managers at 3M, for example, are looking to McCombs students and their counterparts at the University of Cape Town in South Africa to help get 3M’s overhead projectors and large screens into the South African educational market—no easy task in a country where many schools lack the infrastructure to support such technology.

Students started their consulting projects in January using video conferencing, e-mail and chat rooms to collaborate with partners abroad. Consulting clients include American Airlines, Banco de Brazil, ConocoPhillips, Dell, Dunkin’ Donuts, Intel and Motorola, among others.

For 2004, McCombs offers seven tours focusing on a range of topics:

  • Australia: technology entrepreneurship, biotech, the automotive industry
  • China: telecommunications, technology
  • Eastern Europe: the European, strategic positioning, foreign investment
  • India: outsourcing and offshoring, information technology
  • Russia: business practices in the new Russian economy
  • South Africa: nonprofits and the developing economy
  • South America: economic development and foreign investments.

The McCombs School has traditionally prepared global managers through exchanges with 20-plus partner business schools, such as ESADE in Barcelona, Spain, and ITESM in Monterrey, Mexico.

The study tours enable students who cannot spend an entire year abroad to have an international experience. This year, more than half of all second-year MBA students will participate in the tours.

Nationally, study tours are a growing trend among MBA programs. While many schools organize trips abroad, however, only a handful, including McCombs, the Marshall School at the University of Southern California and the Kellogg School at Northwestern University, offer global programs that involve hands-on projects for companies.

“We believe this is a unique program that offers a powerful international business management learning experience,” said Amanda Pollock, program coordinator.

The study tours are part of McCombs Plus, a professional development program for MBAs at The University of Texas at Austin that combines consulting projects with sessions on overall leadership skills in communications, teamwork, ethics and global business.

To learn more about McCombs Plus and the global study tours, visit the Plus Program Web site or contact program director Steven Tomlinson at 512-471-5654.

For more information contact: J.B. Bird, McCombs School of Business, 512-471-3314.