This fall will mark our 40th international trip for the RIT Executive MBA Program. The international trip is a required portion of the curriculum and coincides with International Business and Finance courses. In addition to visiting companies, and receiving presentations on country-specific topics as a group, there are cultural visits to key points of interest. There is also the consulting project in which individual teams of three-four students each visit and interview executives at selected companies to enable them to conduct and complete their respective team projects during the trip. Teams make contact with a specific company in –country ahead of time. They research that company and industry in preparation for their consulting project.
In the past, the majority of EMBA trips were to Prague, Czech Republic. We had an established relationship with VSE (Prague School of Economics) and the students raved about these trips. After 14 years of going to Prague, we took a trip to China and had a great experience. After a few trips to China, we started a more formal analysis to evaluate new location possibilities and determine where we could provide the best experience each year. Since 2012, our trips have included:
- Istanbul, Turkey / Budapest, Hungary / Vienna, Austria
- Santiago, Chile
- Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
- Dubai, United Arab Emirates
- Warsaw & Krakow, Poland
Countries and cities are selected for topical relevance and to provide an opportunity to compare and contrast global challenges and opportunities facing multinational firms. Each of these destinations made a compelling case for a trip:
Istanbul & Budapest – Istanbul’s thriving economy contrasted that of Budapest which was still coming out of their former Soviet Republic era.
Santiago, Chile had the highest per capita income in all of Latin America and was very remote from most of the world.
Ho Chi Minh City was similar to China 20 years ago. Growth was astounding and the struggle of a communist regime trying to thrive in a capitalist world was compelling.
Dubai is often considered the Las Vegas of the Middle East but is
really more like London because it is such an important player in finance. This is a fascinating location to understand the rapid growth of capitalism in the Muslim world.
Warsaw & Krakow, Poland were on a phenomenal run of growth averaging 6% increase in GDP for nearly 40 years. These areas were manufacturing for much of Europe and served as the gateway to Eastern Europe.
As for this year’s decision, we have taken months to evaluate the following location options:
- Johannesburg, South Africa
- Stockholm, Sweden & Oslo, Norway
- Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
- Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
- Lima, Peru
- Manilla, Philippines
After extensive considerations, the destination that was selected is Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for the following key reasons:
- Averaging 6.5% growth for 50 years
- Economy ranked among the world’s best
- World Economic Forum ranked Malaysia #26 for global competitiveness (China ranked #27, India #52 and Brazil #58)
- Recognized as the 3rd best global location to retire
Every year that we announce the trip location to the class I am trying to read the room. I watch the students carefully for signs of disappointment and/or concern. The response this year was overwhelmingly positive and I’m excited to start planning all of the details that go in to this once-in-a-lifetime experience for our EMBA students.
Read firsthand student accounts of previous international trips:
Check out this alumni testimonial video about the RIT EMBA international trip experience: