The Value of Global Business Environment Immersion – Katie Knott, MBA Student

As a second year MBA student, I have had the incredible opportunity to travel abroad to both Europe and Asia for study abroad experiences that I will never forget. While each trip was unique, both programs allowed me to step out of my comfort zone and to immerse myself in cultures different than my own, to meet new people and to learn from those around me. These trips have truly been the highlight of my time here at USD.

This year, I spent spring break in Tokyo, Japan where I took a class called Corporate Governance with industry professional Professor Barrett. Throughout our week in Tokyo, our class visited various companies, including the Financial Services Agency, IR Japan and the Tokyo Stock Exchange, to learn about Japanese business culture and the current state of corporate governance in Japanese corporations. In addition to learning from our guest speakers during our site visits, we also had the opportunity to visit Meiji Jingu, the largest Shinto shrine in Tokyo, attend a traditional tea ceremony at Kiyosumi Gardens and take in the sprawling city sights from atop the Tokyo Skytree Tower. The whole week provided me with various opportunities to try new things and to form new friendships.

Last summer, I traveled to Lisbon, Portugal and Madrid, Spain for a two week adventure that had us visiting local companies, touring cultural landmarks and attending classes at the USD Madrid Center. During this program, I had the opportunity to take two elective courses about innovation and design thinking which introduced me to an entirely new way of thinking. While visiting local companies, we had the opportunity to experience the business cultures of Spain and Portugal firsthand while interacting with local leaders who utilized design thinking in their day-to-day work practice. During this trip, I escaped the reality of my everyday life in San Diego and fully immersed myself in the culture of Europe alongside my classmates, who quickly became lifelong friends.

As today’s business landscape becomes more globally focused, I feel like I have been given a unique opportunity to experience the business environments of Europe and Asia firsthand. These trips have allowed me to learn from those in different countries and to better understand the importance of understanding and interacting with cultural differences. As a corporate communications professional, cultural sensitivity is of utmost importance in understanding how to convey a message across global divides. I am eternally grateful for my study abroad experience and am confident that the lessons I have taken with me from these experiences will be valuable as I continue to grow throughout my career.

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