Executive M.B.A. Program Incorporates Real-Life Global Experience

Dr. John Donovan, Dr. Lauren Eder and 11 Executive M.B.A. students traveled to Brazil to visit several companies and learn how they are operating in emerging economies.
Friday, October 11, 2013

Traditionally, Executive M.B.A. (EMBA) programs are designed to allow working business professionals the ability to earn the highly sought after Master of Business Administration degree, without missing a beat in their careers. At Rider University, EMBA students complete their requirements in 17 months, by attending convenient classes that allow them to continue working fulltime.

For the first half of the program, students attend foundational business classes with their cohort on Saturdays and occasional evenings setting expectations, in critical areas such as Accounting, Economics, Analytics and Marketing. These courses ensure that all students possess a clear understanding of essential business topics before moving on to more advanced courses.

At the midpoint of the EMBA, students immerse themselves in the culture of another country, during a 12-day expedition to a developing region that is experiencing rapid growth and a significant presence in the global economy. During the trip, students visit a variety of companies in industries as diverse as pharmaceutical, technology, banking and cosmetics, learning first-hand, many of the factors associated with doing business in an emerging economy. The experience also provides students with an international business perspective on which to build during the second half of the EMBA program.

“Our EMBA program goes beyond classroom education about business and culture by giving students firsthand experience interacting with international businesses,” said Dr. John Donovan, director of the EMBA program and associate professor of Management. “We’re providing an opportunity for students to meet and discuss business and culture with foreign executives in emerging economies such as Argentina and China.”

This past June, Dr. Donovan and Dr. Lauren Eder, professor in the Information Systems and Supply Chain Management Department, accompanied 11 students from Rider’s EMBA Class of 2014 to Brazil where they visited Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Iguassu Falls to experience not only the cultural differences between the United States and the South American nation, but also how companies manage in a thriving economy.

In Sao Paulo, the group met with representatives from Itau, Latin America’s largest bank, to gain a better understanding of the banking system in Brazil. They also visited Natura, Brazil’s leading manufacturer and marketer of beauty products, personal care and cosmetics. Dr. Eder said, “Learning about Natura’s success with its direct sales business model and a tour that included their manufacturing and supply chain operations were highlights of the day.”

Equally fascinating visits in Sao Paulo included a tour of Embraer’s aviation factory and also a meeting with the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA), the largest organization representing sugar, ethanol and bioelectricity producers in Brazil. In addition, the group met with the founder of Apontador, the leading geoservices company in Brazil, to gain valuable insight on innovation and entrepreneurship in Brazil.

Lastly, the group spent a full afternoon visiting Johnson & Johnson where they toured several plants and manufacturing lines in their medical devices, consumer products, and pharmaceuticals divisions. Dr. Eder said this visit was a highpoint of the trip because it was arranged by current Executive MBA student, Lindsay Martin, who works for Johnson & Johnson in New Jersey.

From Sao Paulo, the group flew to Iguacu Falls, one of the natural wonders of the world, situated near the border of Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina. The area is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Hiking along the falls and an exhilarating powerboat ride in the river provided a nice break from several days of business as well as a unique bonding experience for the group.

Dr. Eder said, “These trips are really transformative for our students. Traveling to an emerging country and learning about doing business there while experiencing the culture is a first for most of our students. The experience gives them an opportunity to understand firsthand what is involved in doing business globally.” Dr. Eder added that as a result of these experiences, several alums of the EMBA program have gone on to seek international positions to broaden their career experience.

Rio de Janiero was the next destination for the trip. After a full day of history and culture with visits to Corcovado and Sugarloaf, the group met with two more business organizations before returning home. The first was with the Prudential Life Insurance Company.

“What made this visit truly special was that Rider EMBA Alum, Heather Brown, ‘13, arranged and facilitated the visit.  She also participated in the meeting from her New Jersey office via teleconferencing,” Dr. Eder said.

The last visit was with the Brazilian Economic Development Bank, a government agency responsible for developing and carrying out national economic development policies. The group gained an important perspective on small business growth and development trends in Brazil.

“What is unique about this International Seminar,” Dr. Eder said, “is that it enables our students to integrate and build on their classroom knowledge and work experience within an exciting international context that they explore together during the travel portion of the course.”

For more information on the EMBA program, visit: www.rider.edu/emba.

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Students from the Executive M.B.A. Class of 2014 visited several companies in Brazil during their International Seminar trip.