The Villanova Executive MBA program includes a firsthand look at international business during an international trip in the spring of the program’s first year. This immersion is the culmination of the Global Management course and is led by the professor, Dr. Jonathan Doh the Herbert G. Rammrath Endowed Chair in International Business and the Director of the Center for Global Leadership in the Villanova School of Business. This experience is designed to build off of the lessons learned in the classroom and provide students with a broader understanding of the complexities of doing business in an emerging economy. In-country, students visit with local and multinational companies, engaging in detailed discussions of the country’s economy and current business climate. Time is also dedicated for exploration of the country’s cultural attractions. The cost of the trip is included in the overall tuition cost.
The location of the international immersion is announced each year in the first module. Some past experiences have included:
- Budapest, Hungary and Istanbul, Turkey
- Beijing, China
- Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- Sao Paulo, Brazil and Buenos Aires, Argentina
Villanova EMBA students with an engineer from Arenas Blancas, Nicaragua
Class X Systems Thinking Project, Nicaragua
At the core of Villanova’s Executive MBA program is the application of theory to real-world practices. Taking this mission to heart, five EMBA Class X students chose a unique focus for their Systems Thinking Capstone Project: Arenas Blancas, a small town just outside of Waslala, Nicaragua. William Charlton, Phillip Grinnell, Kimberly Joyce, Michael Miller, and Daniel Waits were first introduced to Arenas Blancas by a group of Villanova undergraduate students who were working on an engineering project to set up a micro-hydro electrification system for the community. EMBA professor Jonathan Doh urged the undergraduates to present their story to his Executive MBA class.
These five EMBA students were intrigued by the project and began assisting the undergraduate students with building a sustainability plan for Arenas Blancas. The EMBA students traveled to Nicaragua to get a better understanding of the breadth and depth of the project, and to experience its culture. “We were grateful and extremely appreciative that Villanova supported our visit to Nicaragua. It allowed us to experience the culture and community directly and really try to implement what we had learned in our Systems Thinking class. Not many Executive MBA programs would sponsor their students to do this type of project independently,” says Michael Miller.
"We wanted to make sure that our plan would have positive long-term effects on their community."
Daniel Waits recounts their week-long immersion: “We hiked up to the water sources with the lead engineer of Arenas Blancas, and discussed their needs and capabilities. We wanted to make sure that our plan would have positive, long-term effects on their community.”
Since their return, the EMBA and undergraduate students have been working together to create a sustainability plan for Arenas Blancas based on their findings. The team hopes that their plan will thrive in Arenas Blancas and influence other systems in the area.