Executive MBAs Explore European Business

Executive MBAs Explore European Business

Forty-seven students from the Oregon Executive MBA program's Class 30 headed to Europe in May to spend nine days exploring international business in the Netherlands and Czech Republic.

A cherished tradition—and also a requirement—for students in the first year of the program, the global study trip offers a blend of site visits and panel discussions with high-level speakers. Past destinations have included Vietnam, Brazil, and Hong Kong.

The students' time in Amsterdam kicked off with an overview of business in the Netherlands. The head of strategy and development for Amsterdam's Department of Economic Affairs was one of the three panelists to share their insights. After the discussion, students connected with the morning's speakers during a networking lunch. Site visits included Giant Bicycles Benelux B.V., Hewlett Packard, and NetApp.

The global study trip's Prague itinerary was equally impressive. A talk from Brent Costner, MBA '03, Nike's general manager for Central Europe, tackled the art of creating and sustaining brand equity internationally. Other sessions covered the history and prospects of the Czech business environment. Site visits grew students' understanding of the evolution of the Czech Republic's tourism industry and the future of the country's manufacturing businesses.

"Global experience is essential for today's business leaders. Our annual global study trips provide our students with unparalleled access to high-level executives and world-class organizations across a wide range of industries," said Oregon Executive MBA Executive Director David Boush.

The global study trip also serves to further strengthen the connection between the students. Indeed, at least one successful new business started by two program alumni—Craftport, the international distributor of Oregon-brewed beer, wine, and spirits—is the direct result of the program's 2012 study tour to Brazil. (In an honor that dovetails perfectly with its international origins, Craftport was recently named the year's Emerging Oregon Exporter at the 2015 Celebrate Trade Gala.)

Between the fascinating destinations, eye-opening talks and visits, cohort bonding, and potential startup inspirations, the global study trip had much to offer each participant.

"I felt fortunate to be a part of this trip and have the caliber of speakers that we did for the study tour," said Bea Armstrong, MBA '16, director of development and communications for Deschutes Rivers Conservancy. "It was fascinating to compare the business environment between the Netherlands and Czech Republic, specifically in the startup and entrepreneurial sector."

Next year's destinations are Reykjavik, Iceland, and Dublin, Ireland.

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