Atlanta, Ga.—Mercer University's Executive MBA Program will visit businesses and companies in Europe instead of Asia this month. This is due to recommendations from the World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control concerning SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) to limit travel to affected areas of China and Hong Kong.
Executive MBA students and faculty members will now travel to Paris and Geneva for a nine-day stay to meet with executives of various international corporate offices.
"The original plan for the trip was to visit Hong Kong and Shenzhen, a city 50 miles north of Hong Kong in mainland China," said Frank Ghannadian, Ph.D., associate dean and finance professor at Mercer's Stetson School of Business and Economics in Atlanta. "Based on the recommendations from the WHO and CDC, travel to countries with the virus SARS is not in the best interest for travelers."
Because Mercer's Executive MBA Program requires a study abroad component during the summer between the students' first and second year, the trip could not be rescheduled. However, Mercer's global contacts through its Center for International Business and its various faculty members with international relations allowed the Executive MBA Program to quickly switch gears and complete their hands-on learning experience in another location.
"Plan changes happen in the real world all the time," said Executive MBA student Tim Chang of Alpharetta. "This is a good practical scenario of management dealing with unforeseen changes, and though I am disappointed we are not going to Asia, it is a good learning process for faculty and students."
In the past, Executive MBA students have traveled to Russia, Holland, Scotland, England and China. To prepare for the trip, students study international law, finance, management and marketing.
"The international trip is to learn business practices from lectures and workshops presented by managers from various companies," said Ghannadian. "This summer, we will visit Coca-Cola France's headquarters, Coca-Cola Enterprises Bottling Facility, Credit Suisse, the International Committee of the Red Cross and Red Crescent, the World Intellectual Property Organization and more."
Mercer's MBA program will also study abroad in Amsterdam and continue in Paris and Geneva with the Executive MBA students. Both groups will use the experience to complement their knowledge of business.
"The fundamentals and processes of preparing for company analysis are the same regardless of the [international] location," said Chang. "The key is to see how theory meets reality. I believe the exposure of foreign corporations will provide a multi-dimensional perspective of business."