Time has never passed as fast as it has done since I began working on the MBA International Study Tour. I started planning the trips in October of last year, and March 10th seemed like light-years away.
Now here we are, only days before the group of 81 MBA students head off for their 8 day intensive trip, which is part of the MBA module ‘Doing Business In Emerging Markets’. This year, one group will be going to China while the other group is going to Brazil. The China group will be spending their time in Beijing and Shanghai. The Brazil group will be visiting the cities of Rio Di Janeiro and Sao Paulo. This is Smurfit’s seventh MBA Trip to China and the third year we will be visiting Brazil.
During the trip, the students will be meeting with a vast and varied group of International Businesses and Institutions. These include CELAP, Treasury Holdings Shanghai, 3M, JWT, Motorola, FIA Business School, Deloitte and Tesco, but to name a few. They will also attend a number of social outings, and for the China group, this includes the St. Patrick’s Day Black-Tie Ball in Shanghai.
At first, the task of co-ordinating two international trips for over 80 people was extremely daunting. However, as the first couple of weeks passed, I became more confident with the task in hand. The strong relationships that Smurfit has built up over the years with the various International businesses and institutions became very apparent to me. The companies whom we have visited before were delighted to have us visit again and likewise, we are delighted to be returning. The strong relationships between the MBA Team, the businesses and Legacy Ventures, made working on the trip a pleasure. The reputation of Smurfit also meant that setting up visits to new businesses was warmly welcomed.
The great itineraries for both Brazil and China are surely going to guarantee an excellent, once in a lifetime opportunity for the MBA students to develop their knowledge of International Emerging Markets, expand their professional networks and of course strengthen the bonds of the friendships formed since they joined the MBA Programme.
I have thoroughly enjoyed working on the organization of the trip. It gave me the chance to communicate with the students on a regular basis and get to know them (even if it was just to give out to them for not meeting deadlines!) I can safely say I won’t know myself when the students depart on Saturday. Although I will miss working with Legacy and everyone involved in the International Tour, after one incident (or maybe two) of waking up in the middle of the night wondering if had forgotten someone’s visa or given out the wrong flight details, I will also enjoy the fact that the preparation is now over! Working on the trip taught me a lot of new and amazing facts about China and Brazil, it helped me to build new relationships and expand my business network. Overall, it was a great experience.
So now, it is just days until the students depart, I’d like to wish each and every one of you every success on your journey. Make the most of every opportunity, get involved as much as possible and most of all, ENJOY! I look forward to hearing all about it on your return. Safe travels.
– Avril Donohue, MBA Programme Assistant