CCU's annual MBA trip visited a new location this year: New Zealand. The ten day trip provided students with behind-the-scenes views of everything from a livestock improvement corporation to an outdoor gear distributor. Along the way, students gained a deeper understanding of how international business is conducted and developed important networking contacts.
“Students were truly blessed and overwhelmed by our trip to New Zealand,” said Dr. Mellani Day, dean of the Business and Technology Division for the College of Adult and Graduate Studies, and a leader on the trip. “We believe someone with an MBA from CCU
should be able to theoretically lead any organization in the world, and this trip is a part of that mission.”
The trip participants included students from the class Leading in Intercultural Business Environments, along with a few visitors. The group of 15 enjoyed New Zealand hospitality, including unparalleled access to CEOs and the drivers of business. “Everyone rolled out the red carpet for us, so to speak,” said Day. “The CEO of New Zealand’s only oil refinery gave us a tour of the entire plant and hosted a lunch for us. Everywhere, people were gracious and attentive.”
The trip coincided with Global Entrepreneurship Week
, and, due to the location of New Zealand in relation to the International Date Line, the week quite literally began in New Zealand with a celebration in which the CCU team participated.
“Going on this trip gave me an appreciation for global enterprise,” commented Tim McTavish, one of the MBA students. “We were able to meet businesses that rely heavily upon strong international partnerships and sell to multiple international markets. It shows even relatively small businesses can have a global impact.”
Perhaps the most familiar impact from New Zealand came when the team met with Zeta Carr of the New Zealand Film Commission. She spoke of the release of The Hobbit, which follows on the success of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and the branding efforts to market New Zealand as “Middle-Earth.” Part of the push includes releasing stamps and an upcoming minted coin. New Zealand Air’s security video even features characters from The Hobbit.
The group also connected with local missionaries after visiting a church. Weymond and Gill Fong are working to import handcrafted jewelry, made by women in the Philippines, to New Zealand. Their efforts will empower Filipino women and offer them economic freedom. The Fongs spoke with students about business channels and marketing strategies. “Some students developed ongoing relationships with Weymond and Gill,” recounted Dr. Day. “It demonstrated that there is no corner of life exempt from these business applications. Clearly, even missionaries are reliant on leading a business and understanding business concepts.”
Students were exposed to a robust variety of business models: agriculture, tourism, government, retail, education, media, and legal institutions all offered unique lessons and perspectives on how business works. Students even saw the workings of a commuter ferry that ran between New Zealand’s North and South Islands -- and enjoyed their closing night dinner on the ferry.
“About half of the students had never traveled internationally before this trip,” remarked Day. “Students left with a broader worldview and a better understanding of how countries impact one another. Now, students understand new markets for products or sources for parts -- and have a framework for how to do business in a foreign country.”