The Inaugural Group of Ahlers Center Fellows

During December 2014, the first group of Ahlers Center for International Business Fellows was named. Many students completed an extensive application and interview process last fall, and ultimately three were selected as Fellows because of their past accomplishments as well as for their perceived ability to succeed in the field of international business. This program will be offered yearly to international business (IB) majors and minors, and will give students a chance to further their academic development through experiential opportunities in this area. Once students are accepted to the program, they commit to participate in three international business related activities as Fellows. Upon completion of these activities, they are eligible to receive a scholarship during their final semester at USD. Further, once the students graduate from USD, the Fellows also commit to mentor future IB majors and minors in their efforts to build a global mindset at USD. Now let’s meet our first group of Fellows!

Kayla Meijer

Kayla Meijer

  • Junior at USD, majoring in international business with a focus on Latin American, and minoring in environmental studies.
  • Currently is President of the international business club
  • Upon graduation hopes to find a career in sustainability and business
  • Her passion for travel and culture initially lead her to pursue international business as a major and she hopes to continue finding ways to explore the major through the Fellowship program
Matt Oney

Matt Oney

  • Junior at USD, majoring in marketing and minoring in international business
  • Recently returned from Semester at Sea
  • Upon graduation, hopes to work for a large multinational company (ideally in an international setting) and then eventually transition to a small startup company
  • Is excited to take advantage of additional international opportunities to supplement what he has learned on two study abroad programs, and eventually connect to future majors and minors as an alum
I-Shen “Kelly” Wu

I-Shen “Kelly” Wu

  • Junior at USD and is double majoring in accounting and international business
  • International student from Taiwan who has been studying in the United States since 2009
  • Speaks three languages fluently – English, Mandarin and Taiwanese
  • Works as a student worker at the Office of International Students and Scholars, was co-chair of the International Orientation Welcome Team in 2014 and is also a member of the international business club at USD. These experiences have helped prepare her for international customer-oriented careers, a segment she hopes to pursue after graduation.
  • Peer mentor in the Link program where she advised freshman from minority backgrounds.
  • Is excited to take advantage of additional international opportunities outside of the classroom including study abroad, ABCs of international trade and an internationally-focused internship.

We look forward to working with this distinguished group of young students, and to helping them prepare to be outstanding contributors in their fields upon graduation!

Strangers in a Strange Land: Finding Love Abroad

In the fall of 2009, two young strangers, an Italian man named Nicolo and a Spanish woman named Anna, decided to embark on study abroad programs to the United States from their respective universities of Bocconi in Italy and EADA in Spain. Little did either know how much of a journey their time during their exchange programs would be.

Nicolo and Anna first met at their exchange student orientation hosted by the Ahlers Center, and soon developed a friendship while both living in Mission Beach and sharing a class and the same friend group. Two months later, the two multinational friends developed strong feelings for each other, and on their first trip to New York City during Thanksgiving, they officially became a couple. Fast forward five years, and the European couple are now happily married and living in Andorra.

Niccolo (center) and Anna (second from the right) in San Diego.

Niccolo (center) and Anna (second from the right) in San Diego in 2009.

Anna commented on her unexpected fairytale, “When I first met Nico at USD, I couldn’t have imagined that after almost 5 years I would be married to him… We have spent much of our relationship traveling and working together in countries such as Italy, Switzerland and Spain, and now we are living in the small but breathtaking Principality of Andorra. We are both so thankful to the University of San Diego for the study abroad opportunity that brought us to each other!”

Niccolo and Anna at their 2014 wedding.

Niccolo and Anna at their 2014 wedding.

International experiences bring so much more to the participants than what’s learned in a classroom or in tourist trap destinations; unexpected positive outcomes, such as the romance between Anna and Nicolo, can be hiding around every corner, waiting to be discovered. Although it may make you slightly nervous and take some courage, temporarily leaving your country on your path of higher education during international programs will expand your horizons and forever change your world in one way or another.

Do you have a similar story to share? Please comment below!

Buenos Aires: The Phoenix of Latin America – Glimpses of Checkered Past Through Irresistible Present

 

Written by 1st year International Track MBA Student, Swastik Mukherjee

Long called the Paris of South America, Buenos Aires is exactly that, and yet so, so much more besides. Granted, this is a city of wide boulevards and French-styled palaces, but it is one too of wildly exciting innovations and new styles. From the state-of-the-art museums like the MALBA, to the thrilling renaissance of the tango, Buenos Aires now buzzes with a contagious, creative energy and a brash new self-confidence. Sexy, alive and supremely confident, this beautiful city gets under your skin. Like Europe with a melancholic twist, Buenos Aires is unforgettable.

Buenos Aires

Avenida 9 de julio, one of the major wide boulevards in Buenos Aires, Argentina

The above snippet is what I took with me to Buenos Aires, on my first study abroad session with The University of San Diego in January 2015. Upon my arrival, I realized how big of a challenge the language barrier would be. I did not know a word of Spanish and the prospect of spending 3 weeks in a country without being able to communicate was scary rather than daunting.

But little did I know that this city does indeed have an intoxicating effect on its visitors. The language barriers were overcome with gestures and smiles, the inability to read street signs or knowing the difference between “caballeros” and “damas” were balanced by the infectious love and hospitality of the locals of Buenos Aires. Who could tell that one of my best days in the city would be one when I would meet six people from Brazil who did not know a word of Spanish or English. This is why we travel, this is why we do an international MBA. To know that what we perceive as differences aren’t differences at all; they are opportunities. Opportunities for us to grow and learn and cherish and admire.

Getting the opportunity to take the Social Entrepreneurship class in Buenos Aires was an eye-opener. Learning about the different bureaucratic styles of government and the ways to do business and the ways to tackle the severe headwinds that entrepreneurs face made me realize how much we take our lives in the United States for granted. Visiting the recovered factories where people work on meager stipends and seeing the efforts they make to keep the people happy and engaged was also a humbling moment. At one point, you stop asking questions of standards of safety and quality and realize that those questions are irrelevant to their aspect of life. These people are working to make ends meet, not to have global levels of quality or safety. Life as we know it, is not how they live it.

Visit to Sume Materiales

Global Entrepreneurship for Social Change Class Visit to Sume Materiales

For the practicum, I had an excellent team that combined four unique individuals with different industry experience and backgrounds. We were working with Wal-Mart Argentina and the project that we were assigned to was complex and challenging. But the team rose to the challenge and figured out very quickly what was expected of us as deliverables. The team fed off each other’s strengths and ensured that the final product was over and above what the client had expected and thus ensured the client’s satisfaction and possible further interaction in the near future.

USD Students gaining some international consulting experience at Walmart Argentina

USD Students gaining some international consulting experience at Walmart Argentina

Being on a trip such as this, I was joined by a wonderful group of people, friends from my cohort and some new faces from the evening and second year MBA. Suffice to say, we bonded pretty well. We bonded over steaks and Malbecs, empanadas and cervezas, financial models and feasibility analysis and the collective goal of making the best of our time in Buenos Aires. (Read this post to find out more on how to make the most of your experience in Buenos Aires) With a group of high-thinking and highly ambitious students and individuals, the recipe was ideal for ultimate success or disaster. I am glad to say that it was the former. There were differences that crept in but none that we could not resolve amicably. Our local administrator helped make sure we were regularly informed of things that are happening in and around town along with info on study sessions, group meetings, currency exchange and local hotspots to check out for dinners and drinks.

Typical Argentine dinner: steak, wine and good company

Typical Argentine dinner: steak, wine and good company

My experience in Argentina can be summed up in three words: enlightening and privileged. It taught me a lot, both academically as well as personally. It was a privilege to be in Argentina, doing the class and the project with a great bunch of people that I would love to work with again.

Swastik

Swastik Mukherjee on the right and Joe Bird – MBA students at Suma Materiales company visit

Practicum Experience

Company: Wal-Mart Argentina

Project Scope: The project entrusted to us was complex yet intellectually stimulating. The main points were:

1) Analyze current accounts payable process and suggest improvements.

2) Use the suggested electronic invoicing process and make it leaner.

3) Come up with a financial and economic feasibility model for the electronic invoicing go-live

Solution presented: Compared the old process to the new and eliminated 5 days of non-value added work in order to implement the new process. Also analyzed cost savings and revenue to come up with a NPV analysis with an IRR that exceeded expectations of Wal-Mart finance personnel. In short, we presented the worst case, management case and best case scenarios and we decided that the project is a go with huge windfalls.

Students Final Presentation at Walmart Argentina

And the room was full of executives… Student’s Final Presentation at Walmart Argentina

What about you? Have you also been to Buenos Aires? What would you recommend for students who will be studying there next year?