International Management Practices Course to Include Spring Break Travel Component to Cuba — Pairing Classroom Studies with Experiential Learning

Kogod students on the 2016 Cuba study abroad trip.Photo: Kogod students on the 2016 Cuba study abroad trip. Credit: Heather Elms

Kogod School of Business 10/9/17 by Seth Shapiro |Each time Heather Elms, Associate Professor of International Business at Kogod, has traveled with her students to a foreign country for an international experience course, she takes pride in their level of preparedness. She’s been told repeatedly that the AU students “ask good questions” and “really understand what’s going on” in the countries they’re visiting.

“[That’s because] we emphasize the academic content,” Elms says, stressing the importance of studying each country’s business conditions in the classroom prior to traveling. Before students in the spring 2018 IBUS-244 International Management Practices course travel to Cuba this spring break, they’ll have spent the semester learning about differences between Cuba’s business environment and management practices and those of other countries.

Since the students understand Cuba’s history and its present business climate, they’re better positioned to analyze and appreciate what they see—particularly since they will need to synthesize their takeaways into a final research paper and presentation.

“Kogod has been focused on experiential programs for a very long time,” Elms says. But for those experiences to be truly beneficial and transformative, she emphasizes that students need to put in the preparation to make the most out of them.

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