For a group of students at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business, an opportunity to spend three weeks this summer studying in Barcelona, Spain, provided insight into the principles of developing and managing a global marketing strategy.
Brian Bolden, a rising senior majoring in business analytics with a collateral in international business, chose the program in Spain after other Haslam students told him about their experiences in the country.
“I learned so much more by being in the country as opposed to just studying it in class,” Bolden said. “Learning about a culture in the classroom is not even comparable to actually being in the country, speaking the language, eating the food and soaking in the atmosphere of the geography and the weather.”
Kelly Hewett, associate professor of marketing, says the students were tasked with writing a strategic marketing plan for entering a new international market. They had to solve problems in unstructured environments with incomplete information and use the key aspects of Spanish culture, history, regulations and economics to devise effective marketing strategies.
“The students had a rare opportunity to learn in an interactive manner,” Hewett says. “They interacted with Spaniards on visits to local and international companies, where they met managers and took part in cultural exercises. They were able to ask questions and observe actual behavior and business practices.”
Living in Spain for three weeks also gave the students perspective on daily life experiences.
“Even simple things like doing laundry, grocery shopping or taking public transportation are different,” Hewett said. “The immersion helped them see what it might be like to live, work or even introduce a product or business in Spain.”
Haley Morris, a marketing major and rising senior, chose to study in Barcelona because of other Haslam students’ accounts of the program.
“I learned a lot about the city and the culture,” Morris said. “My favorite parts of the program were the group activities and excursions. We were able to go do and see so much.”