University Park, IL,
16:11 PM

Governors State Business Students Advise Brazilian Companies

Governors State University’s College of Business students are no strangers to globetrotting. Study abroad trips in recent years have taken them from China to the Czech Republic and everywhere in between. While study abroad trips had to be delayed in 2020 due to the pandemic, the college was eager to continue providing students the opportunity to engage in global learning experiences; while still protecting their students’ health and safety.

This semester, students enrolled in “Special Topics on Management” virtually teamed up with students at Brazilian universities to help Brazilian companies solve real-world business problems. Governors State Business Professor Tingting (Tina) He said the project allowed students to put what they learned in class to the test.

“The partnership offered students a real-life environment where they can work for a company to use the skills and theories they learned with real business practice,” Dr. He said.

For the first few weeks of class, He prepared the students with theories and tools to use in the project. Communicating daily through web-based platforms like Zoom and WhatsApp, the students were split into two teams with the Brazilian university to assist a reputable Brazilian company. One group worked on the talent acquisition process and the other on branding to sell technology products online.

For Diane Dalton, a graduate student majoring in business administration with an emphasis in finance, the experience helped her see her education come to life.

“The experience allowed me to use tools provided during my education to assist a thriving business create a winning strategy to meet its goals. I cannot say enough how honored I am to have worked with an amazing group of students from Brazil and America on what was a constantly evolving project,” Dalton said.

Having the students work with a Brazilian company helped them think of business in a global aspect.

“They were working in international business, which gives them more insight into the business world, and they got to know another culture and another culture got to know us,” He noted.

Throughout the course, the students immersed themselves in Brazilian culture. They discussed music and life and even learned Capoeira, an African/Brazilian artistic expression of dance, martial arts, acrobatic moves, and music. For Dalton, this enhanced the experience.

“Being immersed in Brazilian culture was enlightening, exciting, and an experience I will not soon forget,” she said.

The experience instilled confidence in the class as well and an entire world of opportunities. Accounting graduate student Milica Maras says the experience influenced her plans.

“Working with the Brazilian company has helped me develop my communication skills further. I am more interested in an international career and would love an opportunity to visit Brazil and even stay and work for a while,” she said.

Dean of the College of Business Jun Zhao notes that the college has organized a study abroad trip every year since 2012. The goal is to achieve the college’s mission to empower students with the knowledge, skills, and ethical perspectives needed to succeed in a technologically sophisticated global society. When the pandemic stopped international travel, Dr. Zhao knew the virtual international consulting project was essential.

“The insights they gain and skills acquired from this experiential learning opportunity are invaluable,” she said.

 For He, the class was the silver lining to the pandemic.

“While the pandemic closed some doors, it opened the door to some new opportunities and new ways of teaching we didn’t explore before. If we continue such programs, think of how many different insights and opportunities we can give the students.”