“The best education you’ll ever get is traveling,” wrote author Mark Patterson. World travel is fun and exciting for students, but it’s also an intense form of experiential, hands-on learning.
The Culverhouse College of Business at The University of Alabama not only offers the STEM and CREATE Paths to the MBA, where undergraduates in certain degree programs can earn an MBA with one additional year of study, but also offers exciting and educational study abroad opportunities.
Culverhouse instructor Harold Wright, founder of the STEM and CREATE Paths to the MBA, took Culverhouse student groups to two countries last summer—Cambodia and Portugal—to help them learn more about the business world and a little about themselves.
CAMBODIA: EXPLORING THE EAST
“Our first day in Cambodia,” Culverhouse student Chase Duncan recalled, “we walked through a street market in Phnom Penh. The heat, the market vendors with their various products displayed, the locals’ chatter, the smells of cooked (and raw) meats in the air—I remember all of it as we made our way through the crowds and market stalls.”
Wright and the students discussed supply chains, since Cambodia is a growing source of supply to China. They also met with She Investments, an incubator and business accelerator for women. “In Cambodia,” Wright explains, “that’s a big deal, promoting women’s employment rights.” The group spent three days and two nights on a riverboat, navigating down the Mekong River, making stops at villages and doing customer discovery work, and learning about the needs and everyday lives of rural Cambodians. And, of course, they saw the sights, like the temple Angkor Wat, which is considered one of the Wonders of the World.
PORTUGAL: INNOVATING IN EUROPE
Wright also took 20 Culverhouse students to the European Innovation Academy Competition, where budding entrepreneurs from a wide range of countries team up in groups of five over 15 days to develop a product and competitively pitch it to investors–actual venture capitalists, and seed fund managers.
CREATE Path to the MBA student Elizabeth Underwood said, “Studying abroad is an opportunity like no other…We got to meet leaders from Uber, Amazon, and Spotify, and collaborate with students from various backgrounds to create our own startup. Our experience in Porto was beautiful—from boat tours to chocolate tasting, it’s an adventure you’ll remember forever!”
Comprising just under 5% of the 400 total students in the competition, Culverhouse students were nonetheless represented in leadership on four of the top ten teams. Additionally, UA student teams were nominated for all three intellectual property awards and won the trademark award. UA student teams won two of the top market research awards as well.
Can you see yourself traveling the world as a Culverhouse student? Get the whole story at culverhouse.ua.edu/intro.