Business Students Explore Classic and Modern Leadership in London

June 21, 2017

A group of 24 students from the Haslam College of Business studied a wide range of management styles during mini-term in London, England, in May.

Jacob Young, a senior majoring in supply chain management, said that the key management difference he observed was the emphasis in the British workplace on efficiency over effort.

“In the States, we have learned to work overtime to impress the boss and that just isn’t the case in London,” Young said. “When the work day is over, you are expected to leave your job. Those who stay around after hours are seen as not able to complete their work during normal work hours.”

Professors Russell Crook and Don Bruce led the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, students on the trip, exposing the group to cultural differences in the business environment and the United Kingdom’s current economic transformation.

“They learned about differences in healthcare systems, tax systems and most recently about how the exit from the European Union might affect the country,” Crook said. “If you ask any of our students about Brexit, they now have a much better understanding of the factors that led to it and what the expected and varied outcomes might be.”

Students heard from several experts while in the country, including Mary Kauffman, an audit manager with Deloitte in London, as well as a financial technology startup founder and a manager at the global reinsurance firm, Integro.

To help put British leadership styles in context, UT alumnus and historian Warren Dockter gave an overview of Winston Churchill’s life and influence.

“Learning about Winston Churchill gives students a better perspective on international business and how to manage different interests to arrive at outcomes which are good for everyone,” Dockter said. “Whether on the international stage or in the boardroom, insights into Churchill's management style will aid the students on their quest to remain innovative and entrepreneurial.”

In addition to hearing from various business professionals, students toured the London Metals Exchange, Lloyds of London, Somerset House, Windsor Castle, Bath, Stratford-upon-Avon, Oxford University, Stonehenge and the Churchill War Rooms.

Young said the trip was perfect for learning both inside and outside the classroom. “We had class time and tours that took us around London, but then we were able to explore these places ourselves,” he said. “The trip as a whole was an amazing way to dive head-first into a new place. This experience will live with me for a long time.”