A group of seniors from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business, took a capstone course in Ireland this May, gaining firsthand perspectives on classroom material. The course, which took place over 20 days in Dublin, included visits to business and political institutions as well as excursions to Galway, Connemara, Cong and the Cliffs of Moher.
“While we address global content on campus, when you are in a conversation with someone from a different country you are exposed to their perceptions, their history and their experiences,” said Eva Cowell, a lecturer in management who led the program. “Study abroad opportunities are not only for those who want to work in a global organization. The context of a foreign culture makes you more aware and inquisitive.”
For Wiley Stidham, a double major in supply chain management and marketing, the course in Ireland was his second experience studying abroad. He previously studied in Australia.
“Ireland has always been a country I’ve wanted to travel to,” Stidham said. “Over the course of our trip, we heard from guest speakers and visited businesses to get a firsthand look at what the business environment is like in Ireland. My favorite guest speaker was Stephen Chandler, a professor who spoke to us about Ireland’s economic history and the impacts of Britain’s exit from the European Union. We also heard from a pub manager, Finbar Smith, who told us about managing a small business in Dublin.”
Anna Louise Ayers, an accounting major, said a highlight of the program was visiting Dublin’s financial district.
“I was able to see the similarities and differences in the operation of companies between Ireland and the United States,” Ayers said. “I learned about how Ireland's history has affected its culture, and therefore, its markets.”
During their time in Ireland students were encouraged to assume the mindset of a senior executive and consider how they might apply their academic knowledge. They used case studies to emphasize effective strategies, critical thinking, challenging dialogue and presentation skills.