Any business education is incomplete without hands on learning to compliment classroom discussion. Through three international trips to Italy, Argentina, and China, the Tulane MBA program offers students the ability to work closely with various companies and organizations in order to get an inside glimpse at businesses of varying sizes and industries. The class trip to China stands out as high point in the Tulane business education.
The international trips are designed to have different themes. In Italy, the various student groups worked with fashion and technology companies. In Argentina, we had the opportunity to work with political non-profit organizations during an inauguration year. Unsurprisingly, the China projects were focused on manufacturing.
Arriving in Xiamen – a “minor city” of three and half million people – we participated in a surprise case competition with business students from the local university. We received a warm welcome, and the Chinese students seemed extremely excited to get the opportunity to work with us. Hopefully we didn’t let them down!
The second full day in Xiamen was for on-site visits with each teams respective company. My team worked with a group from Top Lockers, a manufacturer of plastic lockers with customizable interchangeable parts. The full tour of the Top Locker facility revealed the extent of their operations. Top Lockers has two manufacturing buildings – one for locks and the other for the lockers themselves. We were given full access with a close up look at how the company builds, maintains, and ships its products.
With a new office in Los Angeles, Top Lockers expressed interest in making a splash into the American market. We had a very productive meeting with the company’s operations and sales executives. It was the culmination of a semester long project in which we were able to discuss our ideas for their team, build on our results, and hopefully help Top Lockers establish North American operations.
Our trip in Xiamen ended with a large banquet to which all of the partner companies were invited. The Top Lockers team was extremely grateful for our work, and was genuinely excited to get started on our ideas. It is such a unique opportunity to work so closely with a company, much less a large foreign manufacture such as Top Lockers. Very rarely are students given behind-closed- doors access to the inner workings of a large company. It was a great way to frame and apply classroom discussions. Any student would benefit from such an amazing opportunity.
MBA Candidate 2016