Follow these business students as they grow their global footprint.

Entrepreneurship in Barcelona
Kaitlin and view of Barcelona.

As an MBA candidate working as an analyst with an oil and gas company, Kaitlin Laflamme never considered a path into entrepreneurship. “I wanted to open up my options and move into management eventually. A great way to segway into that is getting my MBA; pairing my experience with further education.”

The Maymester course to Barcelona really piqued her interest. Organized with help from @Barcelona SAE, instructor Jim LoPresti brought graduate students to one of the most active entrepreneurial cities in Europe. The capital of Spain’s Catalonia region, Barcelona is the most popular place for startups in the European Union. Catalonia also makes up 24% of Spain’s GDP and is the 5th most attractive region for international investors. “It’s all about leveraging opportunities,” Kaitlin reflected. “The more exposure and new experiences you seek out, the more you can learn about your skills and interests. For me, getting my MBA has been a chance to explore new paths, and this trip to Barcelona was part of that.”

The objective of the program is to inspire students with the vision and opportunities inherent in international entrepreneurship and to immerse them in Barcelona as a thriving and viable seedbed for pursuing an entrepreneurial venture. The course explores how differences among national contexts create specific types of entrepreneurial opportunities.

The mornings included lectures on a variety of topics focusing on building opportunities, avoiding common mistakes, and executing ideas successfully. Students followed up with guest lectures and visits to tech hubs and startup incubators. @Barcelona Activa was one of the most popular. Kaitlin and her cohort were able to engage with a number of entrepreneurs in the space, learning how important it is to share failures as well as successes.

“You don’t have to do it alone, there is a community of people ready and wanting to help,” Kaitlin remembered of the experience. “Sometimes you don’t necessarily need to have your own business, but be an ‘intrepreneur’ within your company, come up with new ideas and things your company can pursue.”

The students also had some time to enjoy themselves. A market tour, guided tours of the city, and a visit to the beach brought some work-play balance. One of Kaitlin’s favorite moments was a Catalan cooking class; a great way for the group to connect. “We learned more about their culture and national identity, which is very important to them.”

As she looked back on the experience, Kaitlin was grateful for the opportunity to broaden her horizons and challenge her personal assumptions. “The complexities of Barcelona were different from anything else I’ve ever experienced. Don’t let assumptions be a deciding factor on the choices you make. The world is your oyster, don’t let others limit you.”

By Alex Linares

A Window on China

As one of the CU Denver Business School’s longest-running study abroad programs, the Window on China trip has returned from the 23rd consecutive annual Maymester trip. Led by Dr. Ji Chen, the trip takes students through Beijing, Shanghai, and Nanjing to study China’s economics, business, political, and cultural environment.

The Great Wall of China“Before departing to China, I was a little apprehensive about what to expect as it’s always been a mysterious destination to me,” said Tessa Wilson. “I think the biggest surprise was the amount of green space, parks, trees and flowers. China is planning for the future with their commitment to carbon reduction and renewable energy and implementing solutions to the rapid urbanization occurring. From the neighborhoods of Beijing and green of Nanjing, to the glamour of Shanghai and authenticity of Shenyang, I was very impressed with the small window of China I had during our two weeks.”

In addition to an immersion in Chinese culture, students had the opportunity to learn from guest lectures, field trips, and seminars with experts on each day’s topics. They visited US-China joint venture operations as well as other foreign-invested companies and had the chance to interview business leaders.

A group photo from the Window on ChinaJacob Spector, a part-time professional MBA student who works full-time at S&P Global, was eager to learn more about business operations in China. Many business visits stood out to him, including a multinational conglomerate, a Chinese real estate and civil engineering firm, a financial brokerage and a small eCommerce company. “We got to speak directly to C-suite level officers, executives and sometimes the founder of the company. Our group left China with a much better understanding of Chinese business which couldn’t be taught in any classroom lecture or college textbook.”

Although Jacob loved the unique business education he was exposed to, it wasn’t his favorite part of the trip. “One night, after a full day of business visits and still in our business attire, our group sought some Shanghai A photo of the skyline from a Ferry Tour in Shanghainightlight and ventured up to a fancy rooftop bar. We lost track of time and ended up having to rush through the city to catch the final boat tour of the evening for a closer look of new Shanghai’s skyline afloat the Yangtze river. The views were incredible, and it ended up being a perfect night.”

“A Window on China turned out to be a profound experience and one of the best trips of my life,” said Erin McMackin. “The people were friendly and welcoming. The cities were stunning. The best part of the whole trip was being able to experience it all with people from the country itself. We were able to visit places, have experiences, and eat foods we would not have experienced otherwise. I will never forget my time in China and hope to return soon.”

By Kathryn Robinson

London Calling
London Calling is the perfect opportunity for undergraduate and graduate business students looking for the chance to explore sports and entertainment on an international stage. This year, students gained high-level access to exciting global organizations in the sports and entertainment industry – including the Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio, Wimbledon, and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.

Lauren Helfman, a part-time Professional MBA student, always wanted to participate in a study abroad program. With a degree focus in International Marketing, Lauren knew the London Calling trip was the perfect fit for her. “I loved the sports and entertainment focus of the program and the opportunity to visit and explore a new country,” said Lauren. Along with the rest of her cohort, she was able to live and learn for two weeks this past May in England’s most populous and cosmopolitan city.

As Lauren reflected on her trip, she is grateful for the variety of businesses they were able to visit. “My favorite part of the trip was the Harry Potter Warner Bros Studio Tour. I’m a big fan and it was amazing seeing all the sets and artifacts,” she said. They also got to spend a whole day in Brighton, where they got a football stadium tour, bet on horse races, and explored the Brighton Pier.

“We went on a variety of tours to stadiums and theatres, including Wimbledon, London Stadium, rugby and soccer stadiums, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and the National Theatre. We also got to meet with companies like BT Sports, the British Film Society, and the Theatre Trust,” explained Lauren. These visits with industry experts gave her a better idea of international business and a new perspective on what it takes to work in the sports and entertainment industry. When asked what advice she has for other students thinking about studying abroad, Lauren said, “It was an absolutely amazing experience and I highly recommend it. You won’t regret it.”

By MacKenna Stang

London: Risk Management & Insurance
This summer Christina Carbajal flew overseas to one of the most iconic cities in the world, London. Initially inspired by her sister, whose degree was also in Risk Management, Christina was drawn to the insurance side of business which eventually led to her dual major, Risk Management and Finance. Christina felt that the Risk Management and Insurance (RMI) Program helped steer her the in right direction when it came to choosing her career.

Since 2014, the RMI program has offered a unique Global Risk Management course to develop the next generation’s expertise to understand how risk is transferred globally. This opportunity exposes students to begin networking and thinking globally. This unique Maymester course starts with a series of class lectures, dynamic guest lectures, and discussions and then leads over to the one week international trip to London. It follows the insurance transaction from Mainstreet USA through the standard markets, surplus lines markets, and reinsurance markets.

During this week, Christina was exposed to the local culture of London and the world’s leading insurance companies such as AIG, AON and Zurich. “Taking the knowledge we learned from school and then going to London gave us a real life connection to the class,” said Christina. Something that stuck out to Christina was when she observed that being a broker or an underwriter in London was different than being a broker or an underwriter in the United States. “Our visit to Lloyds of London was the most interesting part of the trip because it’s so iconic,” said Christina. Lloyds of London is known as the foundation of the insurance industry with industry experts from over 200 countries and territories. Lloyd’s is the world’s specialist insurance and reinsurance market. Most of the business written at Lloyd’s is still conducted face to face in the world-famous underwriting room at the world headquarters in London.

“My biggest takeaway was seeing how things work differently in another country, but are also interconnected within the U.S.,” she said. Christina is grateful for the amazing experience the Risk Management and Insurance (RMI) Program at CU Denver has made possible for her and other students to explore the scope of global risk. She is also grateful to the industry partners that subsidized the cost of the trip to allow students to participate at a reduced cost.

Global Risk Management, RISK 4209/6209, will be offered to students again for Maymester 2020. Contact Lori.Genuchi@ucdenver.edu for more information.

By Amy Bernabe-Jimenes

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