In May 2015, a group of MBA and MSGL students from the University of San Diego embarked on a 2 week study abroad program in Munich and Athens. The courses on offer were Legal and Social Environment of Business, Entrepreneurial Finance and Global Innovation Strategies. There were over 35 students in the program and I was fortunate to be one of them. It had been my lifelong dream to visit the 2 cities and to get that opportunity within my MBA program while earning up to 8 credits was definitely the icing on the cake.
Pursuant to my concentration and interests, I opted to take the Legal and Social Environment class along with Global Innovation Strategies. Our facility in both Germany and Greece were with partner universities of USD. In Munich, we had the opportunity to hear from industry experts as part of our learning experience where they elaborated on innovation in the German economy as well as sectors to focus on for the next twenty years. We visited innovation centers as well as innovation incubators for startups that gave us valuable insights in to how startups are formed and run efficiently. My fellow students were very impressed with a few of the startup ideas that we were exposed to along with taking valuable insights from the guest lecturers. We also got adequate opportunities to explore Munich and thereabouts, with quite a few of us managing to visit Dachau, Salzburg and Neuschwanstein Castle. Our trip also consisted of a visit to the BMWmanufacturing facility that was thoroughly enjoyed by both faculty and students alike. Munich was a great experience for all of us and we definitely had a wonderful mix of academic strategies and practical implementation of those strategies.
Athens was a great eye opener. We had all been aware of Greece’s financial crisis but to be, literally at ground zero, was a humbling experience. Our first exposure to the crisis came from the Dean of USD’s partner in Greece, ALBA, who gave us a very honest portrayal of the origins of the crisis and potential solutions. The solutions presented were very radical which made us understand how deep-seated the crisis really is. Our Legal and Social Environment class delved further into this by comparing the economies of several countries within the EU with Greece that made us more knowledgeable about the situation at hand. Greece is also a hub for startup businesses and the government is actually promoting startups in order for people to become self-employed that would actually help in the high unemployment in the country. Athens also provided a very rich gastronomical experience with almost everyone raving about the quality of the food and wine. A ‘scentsations’ tour of Athens was highly enjoyed by everyone where we had to use our five senses to take in the actual essence of Athens. A tour of the Acropolis was also organized by the study abroad coordinators which was a great experience for everyone. Greece was definitely an incredible experience for me personally as I could feel the history everywhere I went. After the culmination of the program, a few of the students went to visit some other islands of Greece for some days.
All in all, the study abroad in Europe organized by the Ahler’s Center was extremely educative as well as enjoyable. It was the perfect balance of touristy things along with learning valuable lessons from both the economies. A big thank you to Renata Berto for coordinating with such a large group of people so well and ensuring all of us that were there remained safe and had an absolute blast!
-Submitted by Swastik Mukherjee, a Full-Time MBA student in the International Business Track
Swastik’s MBA summer internship is with Tata Consultancy Services (Tampa, Florida office)