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USB M.B.A. Students Reflect on International Study Module

Dogfish Head Brewery
Dogfish Head Brewery

New York Stock Exchange
New York Stock Exchange

U.S. group with Professor Johan Smith
USB group with
Professor Johan Smith

Wall Street
Wall Street

White Haven
White Haven

It is clear from the impressions of the University of Stellenbosch Business School’s (USB) M.B.A. group on their recent study tour to Salisbury, that the trip made an indelible mark on their lives. The USB M.B.A. students were guests of the Franklin P. Perdue School of Business and traveled to New York City.

For Hein Olivier, this was his first trip abroad. After being cramped in an airplane seat for 16 hours, he said: ‟The stiffness made way for excitement when the captain announced the decent to JFK Airport.”

Even though the U.S.B. M.B.A.’s International Study Module focuses on lectures and company visits at a foreign business school, the students also made time for sightseeing. Favorite attractions included New York’s famous bridges, the Manhattan skyline, Statue of Liberty, Ground Zero, Times Square and Central Park.

However, it was their visit to the New York Stock Exchange that seems to top their list of highlights. According to Loyiso Sibali, this has been a ‟truly magnificent experience.” He also said: ‟To be able to walk around the trading floor and engage with the traders is an experience that very few people will ever have.”

Regarding the main purpose of the USB M.B.A.’s International Study Module, Pieter de Villiers commented: ‟Our tour was the perfect blend of lectures, guest speakers and company visits.”

Voicing the view of many of his fellow travellers, he continued ‟We were inspired by passionate entrepreneurs who shared their stories and experiences – from Sam Calagione from Dogfish Head Breweries to Mike Scarborough from Scarborough Capital Management Incorporated. Their talks were thought provoking and inspiring –mdash; promoting debate and ideas – and promising to find a way to bring America’s fine craft beers to South Africa.”

USB M.B.A. student Tagara Hove saw entrepreneurship as the hallmark of being American: ‟#8223;This is the land of the brave, where freedom can be explored in its many facets, including being the master of one’s own destiny. The basis of the American dream is that any man or woman has the ability to transform innovation into economic goods.”

The entrepreneurial spirit of Calagione and Scarborough, as well as Jim Perdue of Perdue Farms, Inc., made a lasting impression on the group. This is what they have said:

Estienne Schroeder: ‟Each followed a different approach to make his or her business successful in a specific industry – Sam Calagione started his company in his living quarters while Mr. Scarborough’s difficult upbringing drove him to be successful in everything he did. Jim Perdue runs a family business passed on through generations and lives high family values.”

Du Preez Grobler: ‟One thing that stood out about Sam Calagione was his ability to get the best out of people and to empower them to be the best they can be. Scarborough is an extraordinary man with the vision and commitment of a great leader. While Jim Perdue’s main business principle is the wellbeing of his employees.”

Hein Olivier again shared: ‟From the first words that Sam spoke, I remember thinking that his story and way of doing business summarized our whole M.B.A. program – from marketing to finance, it was great to see theory applied in real life.”

Another member of the group, Suzaan Groves, summarized the experience as follows: ‟I believe that the valuable experience we got from the visit to Salisbury is mainly due to the cooperative relationship between the school, community and the businesses in the area.”

For Groves, the success of a nation mostly has to do with its people working together as a team – and every so often a feisty risk taker with a big dream, as she told her friends and family after the trip, ‟with the buzz of New York’s streets still ringing in my ears.”

The USB M.B.A. students all commented on their hosts’ generosity and ability to add different and insightful perspectives that contributed to a meaningful Salisbury experience.

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