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Master of Management Program Travels to Munich, Germany

The current economy of globalization has driven the value of international business perspectives to new heights. Ties between local companies and international firms continue to grow, enabling culturally aware employees to become leaders in their fields. Recognizing this opportunity, the Aquinas College Master of Management (MM) program intends to cultivate such leaders through a new study-abroad program in Munich, Germany.

As the Director of Graduate Management Programs, Brian DiVita was instrumental in the organization and leadership of the inaugural 2013 trip to Munich. He explained that the program has had continued interest in globalization, and wanted to expand its offerings in this regard.

“In taking a look at where we could actually stand out,” DiVita said, “one of those areas was to offer a study-abroad experience focusing specifically on international perspectives in management. With that in mind, we decided to incorporate that as an option for our capstone class.”

The MM program’s capstone class, Strategic Management and Policy-Making, is an eight-week course that culminates in a week-long trip to Munich. DiVita highlighted the duration of the trip as a major selling point, especially for working professionals. “Pretty much anybody can sneak out for a week if they need to,” he said. “And even though the Wi-Fi in Germany may not be as spectacular as it is in the United States, it still exists and you can still get your work done.”

Once in Munich, students learned about German management and professional culture by touring the inner-workings of companies such as BMW and Gore-Tex. DiVita emphasized that understanding business from this international perspective is key for current students.

“You have to remember,” he said, “many people may have never travelled abroad before. I think a lot of folks are shocked to hear that there are seventy firms locally that have operations in Germany or conduct business with German operations, which is a significant amount. So this has been a very nice opportunity for [students] to enhance their perspective and innovative thinking.”

While the week may have been filled with intensive facility tours and strategic presentations, students did receive many opportunities to enjoy the region’s local culture. Excursions were made to Hohensalzburg Castle in Salzburg, Austria, as well as several area museums. The group also explored Munich’s nightlife, dining in the city’s many notable restaurants.

Julia Patzelt is a current student in the Master of Management program, and will finish her graduate studies in fall 2013. She participated in the Munich trip, describing it as an incredibly positive experience.

“Academically, professionally, and personally, this trip was a big synthesis of the program,” Patzelt said. “It really gives you a chance to apply what you’ve learned, get a little deeper, learn new things, and bring it all together. As a capstone it was phenomenal, more valuable than any library study we could have done. It sets this program apart from anything else in this region.”

DiVita is confident that the Munich program will continue to grow in the future. Current numbers support his hopes; the 2014 trip quickly filled to capacity, and registration is well underway for 2015.

Student responses bode equally well for the future. “My perspective on the program is shared by the people we went with,” Patzelt said. “They loved the program. They come from very different backgrounds professionally and personally, but they all loved it. All got a ton out of it, and all would do it again in a second. We couldn’t be more thrilled with how it turned out.”

For more information on the Master of Management program and the Munich trip, visit the Master of Management website.