Globetrotting: How Study Abroad Fits in the EMBA Program

Neeley is all about real-world skills, connections and experience – which make an international trip a crucial part of the program. 

Even students who already have significant international business experience find they learn a lot from the trip.

Before the trip: Learning the background

The international trip is part of a course about leading in a global environment. Classes preceding the trip provide context for the countries and companies we’ll be visiting: the risks, opportunities and challenges, as well as the impact of differences in legal, political, cultural, social and institutional frameworks. 

The class is broken up into teams, and each team chooses a specific industry to research for the trip – anything from energy to wine. Each team then reaches out to their existing networks to set up meetings with companies in those industries in each country we visit. This means digging further into your network and forging new, international connections even outside of TCU alumni.

During the trip: Touring companies and meeting executives

The 10 to 14–day trip is meticulously planned to pack in as much as possible. In addition to the industry-specific meetings your team plans, we tour multiple companies – multinational and local – as well as cultural sights and financial, educational and political institutions, so we see firsthand how everything fits together. Our small class size means you’ll have the opportunity to talk one-on-one with leaders from many of these organizations.

And it’s not all work and no play. Our evenings are free (though we often enjoy dinner together) and there is planned recreation (like vineyard tours and once, a graffiti walking tour in Valparaiso, Chile) as well as free time you can spend doing anything from camel riding to getting a massage. Some students extend their trips for more activities, like hiking Machu Picchu in Peru.

After the trip: Putting it into action

On the last day in each country, the class sits down with Dr. Linda LaCoste, who teaches personal leadership development, and Dr. Suzanne Carter, who teaches strategy, to reflect on what we’ve seen and learned. Then we come together again at Neeley, where each group makes a presentation about their chosen industry – its varying challenges and opportunities across all of the countries we visited. Each student also writes a 10-page paper on what they learned personally – an in-depth analysis on what surprised them and changed their perceptions about each country.

This really weaves it all together and helps us process everything we’ve learned into a framework of strategic leadership and international business.

An added bonus: Many students say the international trip is what really brings them closer together as a class.

Where we’ve been:

Each class may visit up to three countries. So far, those have included:

  • Argentina
  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • China
  • Germany
  • Great Britain
  • Greece
  • India
  • Panama
  • Peru
  • Spain
  • United Arab Emirates 

Learn more about our curriculum.