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EMBA Students Study Global Economy Up Close in Russia and Czech Republic

August 08, 2008

LeBow College of Business Executive MBA (EMBA) students recently traveled to St. Petersburg, Russia, and Prague, Czech Republic, after their last classes had ended and just a few weeks before their June graduation. The trip was the capstone experience of the EMBA program, providing a real-life learning opportunity where students were able to study global management and economies in transition first-hand.

The students traveled to St. Petersburg first, where they toured TechnoPark, Coca Cola, and Cisco and learned from esteemed Russian businesspeople about the Russian economy and doing business in Russia. The students also had the opportunity to visit a technology incubator in St. Petersburg and meet the Russian entrepreneurs who were resident there.

One highlight of the trip to St. Petersburg was a dinner with Russian MBA alumni of the St. Petersburg EMBA program of University of Vlerick-Leuven Gent. The setting was lovely: The restaurant was actually a glass-windowed-boat with a beautiful view of the river, and because of the White Nights, it was twilight the whole evening, said Charlotta Thunander, assistant director of executive MBA Programs at LeBow College.

"Over dinner students and their Russian counterparts exchanged ideas," said Thunander. "The students learned from each other about the opportunities and challenges of ambitious professionals working in an economy that is going through rapid transformation."

The rich history and accessibility of Prague's cultural sights made a deep impression on the EMBAs. There, the group toured T-Mobile, Skanska, and a company called BENES a LAT, which manufactures aluminum, zinc and plastic products. BENES a LAT was located two hours outside of the city, so the students had an opportunity to see the Czech Republic's beautiful countryside.

"The company's owner was a young, energetic entrepreneur who is passionate about his company, though he expressed frustration over governmental regulations," Thunander said. "He enjoyed exchanging ideas with LeBow College's EMBA students and asked questions about American business practices."

Kevin Sievert '08, account executive, CSC Global Business Services, said the experience put his classroom learning into context. "Russia and the Czech Republic have dynamic economies that are constantly growing and adjusting to compete globally," he said. "To study and visit businesses, in St. Petersburg and Prague as part of my Executive MBA provided not only a bridge between the classroom and office, but a new appreciation for the global business challenges they represent and face."

"This experience re-defined my view of these countries, their economies and their business competitiveness. I was impressed with how the economies had transformed to perform and compete globally, while managing their domestic interests and resources to sustain long-term growth"

The EMBA capstone experience serves to increase self-awareness and guides students in leveraging their innate talents in combination with the skills and knowledge from Drexel's EMBA program. It complements the program's functional core of knowledge; emphasis on enterprise management, technology management and strategic leadership studies; and Industry Perspectives component, which includes lectures from top practitioners.

Watch EMBA alumna Mary Caraccioli's report from St. Petersburg for CN8's Money Matters Today.


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