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M.B.A. students gain international insights

As part of its commitment to produce dynamic and globally aware leaders in business, Lehigh’s M.B.A. program has forged a partnership with the University of Nottingham that offers intensive international opportunities for graduate students.

Last month, a group of Lehigh M.B.A. students enrolled in the course “Martindale International Experience: China” boarded a 14-hour flight to learn about business in the context of Chinese society. And prior to the trip to China, M.B.A. students from the University of Nottingham Business School were hosted by Lehigh’s M.B.A. program for an international experience of their own. Nottingham has campuses in England, China and Malaysia.

“I haven’t worked with a lot of American companies before, so I was always curious to see how they function, how it all works, and what the lifestyle is like,” says Kunal Shetty, a student at Nottingham who has worked in technical marketing and sales in Dubai. “In a lot of ways, apart from just knowing about a company, I would say it was rewarding seeing the work ethic, the culture that exists in every company we’ve gone to. The atmosphere has been brilliant.”

The Nottingham students’ 10-day trip was an opportunity for immersion in much of the American cultural and business experience. They visited the New York Stock Exchange, took a private tour of the United Nations Headquarters, and enjoyed a day-long tour of Washington, DC. During their time in Bethlehem, they interacted with executives of local businesses including Air Products and the Sands Casino, and interacted with business faculty and current Lehigh MBA students.

An eye-opening learning experience

The Lehigh trip to China offered similar opportunities to learn and explore—the students visited Shanghai, the Great Wall and enjoyed cuisine at several restaurants throughout the region. In addition to cultural exploration, the students learned a great deal of the logistical and managerial challenges associated with supply chains during the eight-day experience.

“We visited a few Chinese businesses while we were there, which was a neat experience to get some of their insights,” says Matthew Tripoli, an electrical engineer who develops and manages renewable energy projects for PPL Corporation. “We also visited Dow Corning, which is an American joint venture that actually has a research and development facility in China.”

While in China, the Lehigh delegation took a flight to Ningbo, a port city where one of Nottingham’s two international campuses is located. While in Ningbo, they visited several factories, including one that manufactures parts for luxury automobile manufacturers such as Audi and BMW. 

For Sabrina Zerphy, senior vice president and chief financial officer at Solar Technology in Allentown, the trip confirmed some of the things she already knew about China, but also made her aware of things she didn’t know. She and her fellow students were exposed to a variety of different business environments.

“The experience was really awesome and really eye-opening,” says Zerphy, an eight-year veteran of the United States Navy who served as a Commissioned Surface Warfare Officer and an Intelligence Analyst. “We were focused on the manufacturing and operational side of all these businesses, and we saw a wide display of types of manufacturing.”

Earlier this year, 10 Lehigh M.B.A. students traveled to Nottingham as part of an academic exchange sponsored by Lehigh’s Martindale Center for the Study of Private Enterprise. There, they met with political officials and business executives, and with Nottingham students. They studied corporate social responsibility, leadership, finance and government involvement with business in the United Kingdom.

Posted on Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Nottingham students pose with Lehigh founder Asa Packer during their visit this summer.
Joseph Manzo, professor of practice in accounting, leads a session for Nottingham students.
Just Born Co-CEO Ross Born shares his business insights with Nottingham students.
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