You will join faculty and members of organizations at host sites to explore complex business topics. These two-week experiences bring together topics associated with the specific theme — and build on previous themes — in a real-world setting. Two of the trips are to international destinations.
October 2015: Santiago and Valdivia, Chile
The cohort will examine how power-producers (hydro and other electricity sources) with headquarters in Santiago are responding to the Chilean government’s five-year energy plan. Students will then visit local Mapuche business efforts in south-central Chile, focused around Valdivia, to see how small-scale businesses are affected by those actions. The aim is to contrast large-business needs with entrepreneurial efforts among indigenous peoples.
January 2016: San Antonio and Austin, Texas
The Interstate 35 corridor that connects San Antonio and Austin has been promoting itself heavily as a hub of innovation, with local economic development agencies reminding businesses that new ideas are not only to be found in Silicon Valley or the East Coast. The Bentley MBA cohort will examine how local development agencies support businesses that are in ‘target industries.’ By doing so, we are looking for insights into the interactions between government agencies, industry groups and individual businesses.
Past years' trips include visits to Ghana, France, Greece, South Africa, Turkey, and Atlanta, Georgia, to name a few.
March 2016: Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa
Students will be working with the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS) in Johannesburg to get a sense of the South African economy and labour conditions. Students will talk with entrepreneurs in townships there, assessing the workings of their businesses and talking through strategy as they have done in years past. The cohort will also be working with the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) in Cape Town on issues posed by local South African businesses.
WATCH: Studying abroad as a graduate student, from the class of 2014
The field-based collaborations involve multiple stakeholder groups or organizations, and focus on issues relevant to all business sectors. Students are not working to solve a problem, but working to address an issue — generally one for which an actionable solution does not exist. The goals are to emphasize the proper approach for evaluating these persistent issues and to illuminate students' skills and limitations, both of which are core elements of being a competent leader.
The faculty member’s role in the collaboration is helping students apply key lessons and concepts gleaned from previous themes.