Tag Archives: International Business

Global Business Strategy Seminar: Leading Across Cultures for Business Interactions and Teams

Note: The seminar dates are separate and these are not ongoing events.
*USD Alumni and students receive 15% discount. Contact Erin Kellaway at ekellaway@sandiego.edu

In the current global business environment, leaders at all levels of the organization interact with peers, clients, subordinates and suppliers from a wide variety of countries. Some of these interactions take place domestically while others are clearly cross-border. In either case, understanding the cultural values that underlie behavior is critical to leadership success. This seminar is designed to develop a level of cross-cultural awareness that will enhance global leadership skills. This applies to not only leading multicultural teams (virtual and face-to-face) but also dealing with clients and suppliers from all over the world. Additionally, the seminar will be invaluable to those who will be in leadership positions as expatriates. The sessions will be primarily interactive utilizing small groups discussions, experiential exercises, cases and self-assessments.

Learning Objectives:

Identify tools for assessing cultural differences
Describe one’s own cultural profile and how it affects one’s perceptions of and behavior towards others
Identify the potential impact of cultural values on how people communicate
Use cultural values to understand and lead multicultural teams
Describe unique challenges of leading multicultural virtual teams
Recognize the characteristics that contribute to success as an expatriate leader
Utilize a self-assessment tool to identify leadership skills related to expatriate success

Total Seminar Hours: 9

**For more information about the Ahler’s Center for International Business and their event, please contact: 

Erin Kellaway | ekellaway@sandiego.edu | (619) 260-6809

Kelly Wu: OISS Student and Staff Highlight

Name: I-Shen (Kelly) Wu

Country: Taiwan

Major(s): International Business and Accountancy

Language(s): Taiwanese, Mandarin-Chinese, English

“Perfect weather, city with a rich and diverse culture, strong business program, and the Coronado Bridge. These are the things that initially attracted me to the University of San Diego before I decided to become a student here at USD.

As a high school graduate from an American high school in Sacramento, fortunately, the transitioning to college as a foreign student was a lot easier for me then a lot of other fellow F-1 international students. However, I wasn’t very active and engaged with the USD community during my freshman year because I was lucky enough to find a close group of good friends in the first couple weeks of school. I spent my first year focusing on my academics, while observe the culture of USD and explore the opportunities and resources that are available on campus.

15245973296_89d2d0c767_zStarting with my sophomore year, I was ready to be more engaged and to try new things. I was a member of the International Orientation Team for three semesters, which welcomes students and scholars from all over the world. From physically helping them to move into their dormitories, to sharing tips and advice of attending University of San Diego as an international student, I was able to really bond with these students and share the excitement and anticipation for their new life here in the United States. I was in the Link mentoring program as a peer mentor that advice and guide minority freshmen students. I also took part in a Business Mediation Competition in Georgia, which gave me the opportunity to train in mediation, negotiation, and conflict management and put it to practice. Last but not least, I am a student worker at the Office of International Students and Scholars, which sharpens my organization and communication skills.

The one piece of advice I would like to share with all incoming students is to take advantage of all the resources and opportunities offered here at USD, you will be surprised with how much you can learn outside of the classroom.

14069500294_938337dfec_zStarting with my favorite office on campus- the International Center. The office offers various informational workshops specially designed to help international students with post-graduation preparations, on topics such as International Résumé & Cover Letter and Working Visas & Employment. For planners like me, it is never too early to have that résumé ready in hand and understand the procedures after bachelor degree. The International Center also offers fun and cultural social events for students to enhance their experience here at USD. My favorite event has to be the annual international EXPO fashion show. This cultural fashion show features students and staffs dressed in traditional outfits and walk the runway with traditional music in the background. I was a model for Taiwanese outfits for two consecutive years representing my country. It was a lot of fun as I will never have a chance to be a model with my petit height otherwise.

Another great resource here at USD is the Career Services, I didn’t get to know about them until my junior year, and I wish I could have start utilizing their help earlier. They are very helpful with resume reviewing, career advising, and even mock interviews. For many international students, there is always the stress of the need to find a job or internship upon graduation in a limited time period in order to stay in the United Sates and continue to live the American dream. By starting early and gain some working experiences as an undergrad student can make your job search after graduation so much easier.

In terms of academics, it can be tough in the beginning for those who are not familiar with the education system in the United States. One of the areas I struggled the most in the beginning of my study were academic writing. When it comes to essay writing, there are many required formats and techniques that are different from my home country. It took me a while to be able to understand what the professors want. In the U.S., they like to see critical thinking in your paper, and clear citations to all references is important to avoid plagiarism. Luckily, there is a Writing Center on campus that assists me with grammar, and help developing and refining ideas for papers of any class/topic. I find it really helpful for all students who do not speak English as their first language, to make sure that the ideas you are trying to convey is well presented in you’re writing.

Now I’m in my second semester of my junior year, what attracts me about the University of San Diego is the engagement and enthusiasm of the professors, the resources and opportunity available to students, the diverse yet inclusive community and the encouraging atmosphere for growth and self-discovery. Finally… the beautiful campus and unbeatable weather.”

-I-Shen (Kelly) Wu


Kelly has also studied abroad in Hong Kong during Intersession 2015. More regarding her experience from the US, Hong Kong, and back can be found here.

Ana Soloviov: SIBC Project Brings Students to South America

From Inside USDAna Soloviov, a sophomore Industrial and Systems Engineering major, spent her spring break in South America. A native of Chisinau, Moldova, Soloviov was one of five USD students educated about beverage products created and sold by Guayaki, a Fair Trade company. The trip was through the USD Student International Business Council (SIBC) and its Guayaki project.

I joined the SIBC as a freshman. What attracted me most was the organization’s mission to promote peace through commerce. There are multiple projects within this club, each one helping non-profit companies or having a socially positive impact on the world.

The positive energy of the Guayaki project leader, Cathy Kelly, led me to it. Our goal is raising awareness of the tea products made by the Guayaki Fair Trade Company. We set up a table each Wednesday and give away free samples of fresh-brewed Yerba Mate tea. Learning more about the properties of this magic drink, I realize how much energy it gives your body without the side effects of coffee. I couldn’t stop sharing this idea with friends and other students at farmers markets. At the end of my first semester, Cathy asked me to become a leader.

For the past three semesters, while sharing the leadership position with Cathy, her sister Denise and currently Beau Seguin, we’ve made great progress. Our team has grown and the Guayaki supply in the refrigerators at Tu Mercado quickly empty. The number of events where we represent Guayaki has increased exponentially. I’ve created a good base of resources, including annual reports, spreadsheets of positions, journal of minutes and photos.

The reward for our hard work was to travel with four other USD students — Beau Seguin, Katrina Warren, Kate Reid, Alexis Rinker to South America. We visited the plantations of Yerba Mate and the indigenous people helped by Guayaki. We successfully visited multiple plantations and tasted the local culture.

This trip would not have happened without Cathy and Denise, who are from Paraguay, guiding us during our stay. In 10 days, we visited four countries — Panama, Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil — and drove more than 1,600 miles. Almost nothing went as planned, but unexpected is always best.

We took a four-hour taxi tour to the Panama Canal between flights, went to its museum, drove through the reconstruction of the old town and learned how much the country is developing.

In Paraguay we stayed at the Kelly’s family house and were introduced to a common tradition of drinking terere (cold Yerba Mate) served from aguampa (gourd, filled with loose leaf) by pouring iced water into it and sipping through a bobmilla (filtered straw). We drove to Encarnación, by the Argentina border, and got crushed mint and other leafs for ourterere. On the way to visit the ruins of the Trinidad(pictured, right), a World Heritage site where one of the first missionaries was built in the 17th century, we stopped on a side road to pick as many guavas from a tree as possible. It was delicious!

We crossed the Parana River to Argentina and stayed at the Kelly’s family ranch in El Timbo (Corrientes) for two nights. We experienced farm life by milking a cow, watching as our lunch lamb was killed, rode horses with Gauchos, swam in a muddy river bordering Brazil and explored fields of Yerba and Eucalyptus plantations. We visited local leather shops and toured plantations and factories from two Yerba Mate companies, including the world’s largest mate production plantation (Taragui has more than 10,000 hectares of mate and another 10,000 for other types of tea). We visited the Guayaki company office and plantation, which is smaller and less industrialized than big companies. It’s also organic and traditional as they handpick all leafs.

The biggest attraction was Iguazu Falls, considered the world’s most beautiful and the biggest by the number of falls (more than 270). El Garganta del Diablo is the throat of the falls where the vast majority of the water plunges. The accompanying rainbow was more than three-quarters of a circle, butterflies stayed on your fingers and crocodiles, toucans (pictured, left) and other birds made the falls in the rainforest seem like paradise. We also visited the local zoo, which gave us more insight into local biodiversity.

We wanted to cross the border back to Paraguay by ferry, but it was down for three days due to the Easter holiday. We settled on a 40-minute drive through Brazil. We passed through one point that borders three countries (Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil) and stopped at a gas station and discovered how tasty Brazilian coconut water is. That night we couldn’t find our destination and, instead, stopped in the middle of nowhere. But when I looked up, I was shocked by the amount and size of the stars. We could clearly see the white smoky area of the Milky Way! When we arrived at our destination, we toured the rainforest, walked on a hanging bridge over a river, ziplined and went canoeing.

My first trip to South America was an awesome experience. I learned a lot about local culture, especially how much it’s linked to Yerba Mate with Paraguayans drinking cold terere and Argentineans drinking hot mate, the equivalent to Americans drinking water. On the business side, I realized big investments involve big risk and require a long-term foundation, but that pursuing something you’re passionate about on a small scale gets you further and make you happier. I learned some Spanish and had a lot of fun with my friends. I’m grateful to USD for funding such organizations as SIBC, which supports such socially ethical companies as Guayaki and encourages students to take leadership roles.

After this trip I value each sip of my Yerba Mate even more because I know how much time and effort it takes to grow (10 years), store (one year), package and ship to the U.S. I saw the common struggles of Third World countries to fight corruption (Argentina) but I realized only hope and belief could rescue a country to regain its pride and will to change the future (Paraguay). I can now relate this to my country, Moldova, and to personal life in general.

— Ana Soloviov

Photos courtesy of Ana Soloviov