Study Abroad Experience at USD

Time flies so fast that I cannot believe I am already a second year MBA candidate at USD. There are so many highlights of my MBA life in San Diego in just one year. But here I want to share my experience studying abroad in Europe. As part of the MBA, I joined the practicums in January and during the summer. Both of the experiences were so amazing and eye-opening. I already miss the time my peers and I spent in Germany, Portugal and Spain. My initial purpose of applying for the program was to increase my international experiences and to work towards my career goal of starting up my own business. The study abroad program indeed catered to my needs and brought tremendous value to my academic as well as business development. Actually, I believe what I gained is much more than that. It is an excellent opportunity to learn more about my peers and explore more about myself.


1. “USD MBA” logo we made on the beach in Mexico when we had our orientation

During the trip to Munich, we spent two weeks working on a project for BMW motorcycle. It aimed to develop a marketing strategy and expand its market share in China. This was the first time I went to continental Europe. Germany is famous for its beer and bratwurst (we need to fix the break here, but will have to do it once the other changes are accepted) and of course the automotive industry. The opportunity to work for BWM is absolutely incredible; I was impressed by all the company visits and unique opportunities to speak directly with the senior management of BMW. Additionally, we worked closely with local students and constantly communicated with our professor about our findings. Our schedule was intense, but the entire trip was very well organized with a good combination of academic study and amusement. After two weeks in Munich, I am above all amazed by both the unique cultures of south Germany and the USD practicum abroad.


2. After giving our final presentation for BMW motorcycles in Munich


3.Typical working night at the hotel for the BMW project

Spain has always been a country I dreamed of visiting. I am so satisfied that I finally had a chance to explore this country and realize this dream.  Beyond experiencing Spain, I took the intensive Entrepreneurship class and finally overcame the challenge of my solo venture model design and pitch deck. In fact, I feel it is not easy for an international student like me to complete the venture project by myself in just two weeks. It is quite a challenge, especially since we had very tight schedule in Lisbon and Madrid. The day and night working in the hotel lobby will be a memorable experience. With all the effort, I was successful on the final and learned many practical details from the class: how to seek funding from angel investors, how to evaluate an innovation in entrepreneurship, and what I should appropriately present in a professional pitch deck, etc. The experience was not only extremely valuable to build my knowledge and skill set in entrepreneurship theory and practice, but it also boosted my self-confidence.


4.Great dinner in Lisbon, Portugal “Time out Market” after a full-day schedule


5. Google-Campus Madrid, Spain

Additionally, my favorite part of the experience was the visit to IE Business School in Madrid, Spain, where we met with the Area 31 site specifically designed for entrepreneurs at IE. The faculty showed us how the entrepreneurs work and how they connect to each other in the business environment. Currently, entrepreneurship drives economic change and innovation, while at the same time expanding opportunities and empowering citizen initiatives, particularly in emerging countries around world, such as China. Thus, it is critical to learn how our world’s youth faces the barriers added to the challenges regarding capacity, financing, and gaining market access. An important aspect of an MBA curriculum is to not only gain textbook knowledge, but to also gain practical knowledge and see how it connects with the real world. By discussing with faculty and students from various backgrounds, I got a bigger, more complete perspective on the world of business.


6.Entrepreneurship class in USD Madrid campus


7.Last night in Madrid after our closing dinner

Up to now, participating in the MBA program has helped me grow as a person, enhanced my vision, and filled my knowledge gap to be prepared as I pursue my career goals. I will definitely recommend all MBA candidates to take advantage of the opportunity to explore the world and yourself with your peers. This will be one of the most astonishingly wonderful experiences to enhance your MBA studies.

Post submitted by Amanda (Hong) Gao, a second-year MBA candidate in the Full-Time MBA Program: International Business track.  Prior to USD,  Amanda worked as Sales and Marketing Manager of Hong Kong Airlines in Beijing, China.