of Business Communications Feature
CIBER Sponsors Student Opportunities Abroad
The Illinois Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) is committed to empowering students, faculty, and business professionals to meet the globalization challenge of the 21st century. The center's mission is to offer high-quality teaching, research, and outreach programs that help advance their global knowledge and cross-cultural skills. In the summer of 2002, CIBER facilitated a study trip to China and two internships, one to Brussels and one to Hong Kong.
Beijing and Shanghai were the destinations of the Illinois CIBER study trip to China in May 2002. Fifteen students took advantage of the opportunity to learn about doing business in China. During their trip they looked at issues related to culture, economics, management, politics and marketing.
The class prepared for the study trip by taking MBA 405, International Business, with Professor Tailan Chi in the 2002 spring semester. When the semester ended, Professor Joe Cheng, Illinois CIBER director, and Professor Chi, led the group to China where they visited U.S. subsidiaries and Chinese-owned companies, met with managers and government officials, and attended lectures at Chinese universities.
The students were special guests of the CP Group, a Thai-based conglomerate that was among the first foreign companies operating in China, at the grand opening of an upscale shopping mall in Shanghai. On weekends they went sightseeing to the Great Wall, the Ming Tomb, and the Forbidden City.
"This was a once in a lifetime experience for me. I was able to do and see so many things I would have never experienced if I went by myself." one MBA student commented. "We definitely got to experience aspects of China that are not open to most tourists." Another student noted that he felt all the participants had a better understanding of the investment situation in China after the trip.
Illinois CIBER and the College of Business International Trade Center supported two students on overseas internships during the 2002 summer. William Wingard, MBA/MARIR candidate, worked for the State of Illinois Western European Office in Brussels, Belgium, and Jayson Schmitt, an undergraduate accountancy major, worked in the Illinois Trade Office in Hong Kong.
"A truly exceptional summer intern" is how Bart Smit, managing director of the State of Illinois European Office, described Wingard (left) who researched over 550 German and Swiss companies to update a database on subsidiaries in Illinois. Wingard created a marketing strategy for the UK, France, and Italy. He was involved in many trade-related activities and tourism promotion.
Wingard said he was able to utilize many of the skills he learned in the first year of the Illinois MBA Program. "My work experience in Brussels definitely brought together my MBA experiences. I have gained tremendously from my internship in Brussels." he said.
"I feel like I am contributing to the Illinois economy," emailed Jayson Schmitt (at right with Norman Li, managing director of the State of Illinois Trade Office in Hong Kong) about his experience in the Illinois Trade Office in Hong Kong where he helped match trade inquiries by Chinese companies with suppliers in Illinois.Schmitt went to Guanzhou on a business trip and represented the office in a trade show in Hong Kong.
He loved Hong Kong, especially the diverse menu of ethnic foods available. He was able to explore the islands on weekends and make new friends and business contacts. The experience caused Schmitt to revised his career goals to include obtaining a job in Hong Kong when he graduates. "It was the best six weeks of my life," he said enthusiastically.