In May 2001, Brigham Young University sent out its fourth group of undergraduate business students to Asian sites: Tokyo, Singapore, Vietnam, Beijing, and Hong Kong. Sponsored by the David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies and the Marriott School’s Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER), the Asia Study Abroad program is designed to build excellence in business education with an international perspective, while fulfilling BYU’s mission to “go forth and serve.”
The annual business excursion, which originally involved only graduate students, expanded in 1997 with the intent of teaching undergraduates the fundamentals of international business. An important step because, according to Bill Giauque, professor of operations management—“The world is getting smaller.” Not only has McDonalds seen the advantages of international expansion, but many other businesses are branching into new areas. Asia seems particularly advantageous—it’s relatively cheap as Giauque pointed out (labor is about two dollars a day), and it also represents an enormous market—approximately 1.2 billion people in China alone. Asia is an ideal place to study international business because of its variety of governments, economics, and cultures, according to Kristie Seawright, director of CIBER and founder of the program.
“We thought it would be best if students could learn about business with an international perspective onsite. And so that was the experiment: could we teach international business as well as basic marketing, basic operations, management, and strategy from an international perspective by taking the students to Asia. We found it to be more successful than we had anticipated,” Seawright said.
The program, which takes place during spring term, is open to students with a strong interest in business who attend BYU, BYU–Idaho, or BYU–Hawaii.