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COB students
UTSA business students in Brazil course

COB students participate in Brazilian immersion course

By Wendy Frost
Director of Communications, College of Business

(Aug. 31, 2006)--This summer, six undergraduate students and two faculty members in the UTSA College of Business participated in a business immersion course that included a 10-day field experience in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

Student participants in the inaugural class were Geoff DeLaune, Ariel de la Cruz, Mitchell Feichtinger, Paul Rafael, Marvin Smith and Alberto Sotelo.

During the experience, the students were trained in Brazilian business practices and introduced to top-level corporate executives. Executives included the vice president of marketing for Globo Television, the strategic planning director of Whirlpool Brazil and the president of Embratel.

The course, Brazilian Business Dynamics, was taught by Victoria Jones, associate professor of marketing and director of the Business Studies for the Americas Program. Mark Suazo, assistant professor of management, also participated in the trip.

"This course gives students an introduction to the challenges of doing business internationally by comparing U.S. practices with those of Brazil," said Jones, who previously served as associate dean for international relations at Brazil's top business school. "My goal was for students to become familiar with the issues and complexities that affect international markets and to learn how to adapt management activities to the Brazilian market situation."

Prior to the immersion experience, students were presented with a two-day introduction to the history, culture and socio-economic conditions of the region. The students then participated in the immersion program in Brazil, which consisted of corporate visits, academic presentations by Brazilian scholars and cultural activities. After returning to San Antonio, the students did additional coursework that culminated in a business adaptation group project and an individual reflective essay.

"This trip was an opportunity of a lifetime for me," said Ariel de la Cruz, a finance major who also has completed a study abroad experience in England. "Brazilian businesses are known for exceptional customer service and adaptability. It opened my mind to the global market and allowed me to learn about Brazilian business culture."

The Business Studies for the Americas Program gives strategic focus to the UTSA College of Business for its Latin American activities. The program develops the academic and professional skills of students and executives and enhances faculty research.

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