Under the Mexican Sun: Faculty Development Trip, Spring 2015

Lucky were the faculty members that attended the Spring 2015 Faculty Development Trip in Encenada, Baja California, Mexico this month: not only did they get social-networking-worthy views and activities, but they were able to visit a company and three wineries, one of which is focused on sustainability, as well as listen to various speakers’ presentations on such topics as regional economic development.

The faculty group at the Monte Xanic winery with speaker Dr. Hans Backoff, the winery's founder and part owner.

The faculty group at the Monte Xanic winery after an interesting conversation with speaker Dr. Hans Backoff, the winery’s founder and part owner.

The trip started with a company visit to Augen Optics, an Ensenada-based international design and manufacturer of ophthalmic lenses and a presentation by the company’s Executive Director. The technologically-advanced company is vertically integrated, with its own team of engineers, scientists, and researchers for every stages of development and marketing. The visit to Augen Optics was followed by lunch and a presentation on economic development by Gabriel Cabañas (USD ’88), who is the Senior Business Development Specialist in the Office of North America Investment for the Development Secretariat of the Baja California State Goverment.

Company visit to Augen Optics

Company visit to Augen Optics.

That evening the faculty attended a reception that included local alumni and faculty from CETYS Universidad Baja California, including Dr. Scott Venezia, Dean of the College of Business and Management.

The second day began the tours of the wineries in the Valle de Guadalupe, the largest wine-producing region in Mexico. The first winery visited was Viña de Liceaga with a presentation by its owner and general manager, Myrna Liceaga. The three-decades-old winery uses the rich crop varieties in the Mediterranean-like climate of the region to produce high-quality wines. The winery visit was followed by a lunch with speakers Carlos Valenzuele and Enrique Rangel from the Secretaria de Turismo (Tourism Department of Baja California, Mexico).

The second winery visited was Monte Xanic with a presentation by the company’s founder, owner, and oenologist Dr. Hans Bacoff. Established in 1987, Monte Xanic currently produces over 50,000 cases annually under its four brands and is committed to serving the community and promoting innovation in their industry through research and technology.

Finally, the faculty visited Clos de Tres Cantos winery, owned by founders Joaquin and Maria. Created in 2014, Clos de Tres Cantos is centered on sustainability and protection of the land and uses unique concepts and goals to achieve it.

Winery visit to Viña de Liceaga

Winery visit to Viña de Liceaga

Dr. Jollineau and Dr. Bowen at the winery visit in Monte Xanic.

Dr. Jollineau and Dr. Bowen at the winery visit in Monte Xanic.

Tour of Clos de Tres Cantos, a sustainable winery, with the owners Joaquin and Maria.

Tour of Clos de Tres Cantos, a sustainable winery, with the owners Joaquin and Maria.

In all, the faculty who attended this development trip learned more than just about business innovation and the wine industry; they explored how concepts and theories taught in their classrooms are being applied in businesses large and small – especially by our neighbors just to the South.

From Asia to the United States and Back: An Intersession 2015 Experience in Hong Kong

Over Intersession 2015, I-Shen “Kelly” Wu, Ahlers Center Fellow double majoring in  International Business and Accounting, studied abroad in Hong Kong. An international student from Taiwan already studying abroad in the United States for her degree, she decided that she wanted to see and experience the cultural uniqueness and financial hub that Hong Kong has to offer. Kelly said, “Before my trip, I made the wrong assumption that there will be few cultural differences between Taiwan and Hong Kong. I went through a culture shock when I experienced the hustle and bustle of metropolitan Hong Kong. The way of life, how people value time and money, and the culture were all so new to me! Even within a similar geographical region, there is a radically different way of doing business and methods of approaching a client.”

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Kelly exploring the famous ruins of St. Paul’s in Macau.

Once inside the classroom, her learning continued: “In the three-week long course taught by USD’s Professor Alan Gin, I learned about international trade, investment, and the usage and analysis of foreign exchange rates; I also studied international economic policies and the operations and challenges for multinational enterprises. I was able to conduct a foreign exchange rate analysis and prediction of currency, as well as understand and discuss critical arguments for and against international economic policies within the issues of globalization.”

The study abroad group in Guangzhou, China.

The study abroad group in Guangzhou, China.

Besides the academics of the program, the students went on a company visit to a multimillion-dollar department store in Shenzhen, took a comprehensive tour of the city, had excursions to Macau and mainland China, and attended an alumni reception. “One of the highlights of the program was the Hong Kong USD Alumni Reception. Not only did we get to meet USD alumni who are currently working or residing in Hong Kong, we also got to meet other USD MBA and MSRE students who were also studying abroad. It was a great event to socialize with alumni to understand how they ended up in Hong Kong,” said Kelly.

The undergraduate students at the Alumni Reception.

The students at the Alumni Reception.

Overall, Kelly’s study abroad experience was eye-opening and extremely beneficial to her future career goals. Kelly reflects, “The experience of the program was incredible. I was fortunate to go with a group of amazing fellow students, and be supported by warm and supporting faculty and staff onsite. My study abroad experience in Hong Kong 2015 was definitely one of the most enriching and memorable times of my life! I believe my newly acquired awareness of cultural nuances, education in international economics, and my connection with USD alumni have made me a stronger candidate in pursuing an international career.”