Wharton EMBA Students Talk about International Trips to Spain and Singapore

The second years are back from their International Seminar Trips to Spain and Singapore and it sounds like they had a great time. The week-long trips, which followed the core courses Competitive Strategy and Global Strategic Management, included many corporate visits interspersed with some social activities. Here’s what Wharton | San Francisco student Suki Toguchi, a member of the trip planning committee and manager at Ernst & Young in San Francisco, said about her class trip to Spain:

“We had a blast! Madrid truly exceeded my expectations. Our class really bonded over great food, drinks, late night cultural outings, exploring the city, and other interesting adventures.

I was quite impressed with the companies that we visited where we learned about the different strategies various firms employ to increase growth despite the global recession. We visited a spectrum of industries including high tech, fashion, and financial. We also visited various clean tech firms and learned about the exciting new ways to use wind and sun forces to generate energy.The trip will remain as the highlight of my Wharton experience. Although we’ve only known each other for a year-and-a-half, the Spain trip cemented the relationships we’ve built as a class. And though most of us are ready to graduate, we will miss the opportunity to hang out with each other. As the famous song goes, ‘We are family!’”

East Coast second-year Executive MBA student Amar Duggassani, who was on the trip planning committee for his class and is EVP of hotel gaming business solutions for the Rainmaker Group in Atlanta, described the  Singapore trip as a great time as well. Here’s what he said:

“When we’re in Philadelphia, we’re running to classes and always have something due the next morning so we don’t have that same kind of leisurely face-to-face time together. While Singapore was a learning experience, it was equally a great bonding experience for us a class. It was also good for the spouses and partners who came along to be able to see what we go through on a day-to-day basis and how we all interact.The company visits were great, but one of them for me was extraordinary and that was to the Marina Bay Sands Resort. While the resort itself is in some ways similar to projects they did in the U.S. and other parts of the world, the dynamics between the Singapore government and business were quite interesting. It’s one thing to sit in class and study how government and businesses operate in other parts of the world, but to see it in real life, there couldn’t be any better place than Singapore to see how that plays out. It’s almost like being in a real live case that we are part of and was a very memorable experience. “

Fellow planning committee member Sarah Sullivan, a program analyst at the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, D.C., agrees that the trip to Singapore was a success. Here’s what she said:

“The week flew by and it was a ton of fun to spend that time with my classmates. It was a great chance to bond and get to know each other better. And I really liked Singapore. It was fun, but also easy, convenient, safe, and clean – a great spot for a group of 115 people travelling together.

One of the highlights of the corporate visits was our tour of the training facilities at Singapore Airlines. It was incredible learning about the company because it was started by the Singapore government and operates 100% international flights because there are no domestic flights in the country. My other favorite part was the visit to the Discovery Channel where the general manager for Southeast Asia sat at a table with our group and really dug into their regional and global strategy and answered all of our questions.On the social side, I really enjoyed our alumni reception at the beginning of the week. It was nice to dress up and meet Wharton alumni living in Singapore. And then a bunch of us went out afterward for a great night of karaoke.

I really do feel much closer to my classmates as a result of the week we spent together. We were already a close knit group before, but now we are that much closer. The friendships and camaraderie have definitely moved up a level.”