Studying Abroad: Wharton EMBA Students Prepare for their International Trip

Their choices included China, India, Brazil, Argentina, and Spain. But when it came time to vote on where they would go for their International Trip next month, the second-year EMBA students at Wharton|San Francisco voted for Spain and the trip committee has been busy planning for it ever since.

The week-long trip marks the culmination of a semester-long focus on how businesses develop and implement strategy in a competitive global context. It follows the two-course core sequence, Competitive Strategy and Global Strategic Management.

Second-year student Suki Toguchi, a member of the trip planning committee and manager at Ernst and Young in San Francisco, explains, “It’s about applying what we have learned to analyze and understand companies.” Her class is planning to visit 12 companies during the trip such as Banco Santander, Teva Pharmaceuticals, San Miguel Brewery, as well as attend a private equity forum.

When they aren’t visiting companies, Toguchi says that there will be plenty of class dinners, visits to discos, and even a soccer game. “This is the most exciting event for our class,” says Toguchi. “We’ve heard a lot from alumni about how the international trip is a chance to really bond with our classmates and reinforce the networking that already exists. I’m looking forward to that bonding, especially as the program is nearing the end and this will be a very memorable part of our experience at Wharton.”

Second-year students at Wharton’s Philadelphia campus have also been busy planning their international trip, but instead of Spain they elected to visit Singapore. Planning Committee member Amar Duggassani, EVP of Hotel Gaming Business Solutions for the Rainmaker Group in Atlanta, explains that he voted for Singapore “because it represents a microcosm of a global community with different cultures in a big city-state environment where government takes an active role in business.”

He added, “We’ll be starting my company’s operation in Singapore next year so I also wanted to have exposure to that business environment and really understand the cultural issues and see how business is run over there.”

During their week-long trip, students will visit companies such as Air Products, Temasek, the Discovery Channel, Johnson & Johnson, Accenture, IBM, Google, and Dell. On the social side, they also are planning lots of dinners and activities, including a night tour of the Singapore Zoo and visits to Kuala Lampur and Sentosa Island. Many students are planning smaller group trips before and after the official class trip to places such as Bali, India, and Vietnam.

Fellow trip planning committee member Sarah Sullivan, a program analyst at the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, D.C., adds, “Being able to spend a week together is what I’m looking forward to the most. It will be a time to work hard and play hard!”