June 30, 2006

Field seminar takes business students to Europe

by Sun Min

CARBONDALE, IL. -- Who would have thought that climbing the Eiffel Tower would be part of the college experience in Southern Illinois? For a group of business students, the City of Lights became a classroom when they recently toured Europe as part of a field seminar offered by the College of Business and Administration at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Over a 14-day period, three MBA and 16 undergraduate business students went abroad to study international business practices. The program is part of an SIUC marketing course designed to combine international marketing concepts with actual field visits to businesses and organizations. Maryon F. King, associate professor of marketing, teaches the course. King and Suzanne A. Nasco, assistant professor of marketing, escorted the students.

The class stopped by the Ketchum Public Relations firms in Paris and London, Hewlett Packard offices in Grenoble, France, the World Trade Organization in Geneva, the Bank of England in London and the Olympic Village in Torino, to name a few. The participants also got a glimpse of the ESC Grenoble Ecole de Management in Grenoble, a school that sends its students to study at SIUC every summer.

Nasco participates in the program because she believes in lessons beyond the textbook. "We want to show that what we tell them in class is actually what's happening in the real world in the United States and abroad," she said.

Nasco and King offered several weeks of coursework before the group set sail and during the trip, company representatives provided lectures on culture, taxation and the European Union. The purpose of the class is to broaden the students' understanding of the new global marketplace.

"There are no longer international boundaries to doing business," Nasco said. "With the Internet and with so much international trade, it's shortsighted to think you're going to work in a one country environment, so I'm teaching my students not only will their companies or clients be international, they can't assume everyone is American."

For the first time, some students this year received financial aid for the trip. Nasco hopes the program continues to grow so that more students can explore the possibility of "studying and working in different cultures," she said.

Meeting or exceeding the expectations of students is among the goals of Southern at 150: Building Excellence Through Commitment, the blueprint for the development of the University by the time it celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019.