With bated breath we waited, 124 students eager to explore the global business world. To everyone else, it was a cold Tuesday night, but to M.S. in Commerce students anticipating global study adventures, we could almost feel the desert winds of UAE or humid Hong Kong breeze on our faces. Professors and staff were in high spirits as they assembled at the front of the room. Smiling widely at his captive audience, Professor Peter Maillet, Associate Dean of Global Affairs, began to outline the purpose of the Global Immersion Experience (GIE) course and the six tracks offered to the Class of 2018.
First introduced was the GIE track to Latin America, led by Professor Jeremy Marcel. For those interested in one of the fastest-growing economic regions in the world, this course to Colombia, Peru, and Brazil would be a study in contrasts with small, local markets, and larger industries.
Professor Ira Harris, M.S. in Commerce Program Director, proposed an equally intriguing course to Europe. Students start in Sweden, then travel to Poland, Germany, and the Czech Republic, finishing in Spain. With such a diverse set of locations, the common threads of entrepreneurship and innovation to combat political and social issues apply to all the locations.
Project Management Professor Saonee Sarker pulled us across the world with her track to India, UAE, and South Africa. Three very fascinating countries independently, these seemingly different locations have many business similarities: a focus on IT, innovation, and rapid growth.
The discussion continued East with Professor Trey Maxham’s course to Southeast Asia. This track includes Thailand and Malaysia, followed by Vietnam and Singapore, countries of great contrasts, from the speed of development to the wealth of each nation, promising an interesting study into these variant economies.
Professor Maillet then introduced his course to Greater China: Taipei, Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. These cities have all shared vast economic growth over the last few decades and are host to technology and innovation leaders.
Lastly, Professor Jim Burroughs’ announcement of a brand new track brought excited whispers and wide eyes as students imagined themselves in Australia, New Zealand, and Indonesia with the newest track offering: Oceania. These countries share much in common with the Western world but live in relative isolation.
At the conclusion of the GIE reveal, one thing was clear. No matter where we end up studying, the experience will be incredible. Every track includes approximately 20-25 company visits in three weeks, historical and cultural visits, and opportunities to connect with UVA’s global alumni network. At a time of thanksgiving, we are both grateful for this program and the unique opportunities it offers.
– Haley Hickey, Class of 2018