A trip to London in May presented 19 Haslam College of Business undergraduate students with an opportunity to learn about global business at a relevant time. The United Kingdom will hold a referendum on June 23 to determine whether to exit the European Union, an event that will affect markets throughout Europe and the world.
“Students had an opportunity to see firsthand the significance global events have in business,” said Russell Crook, an associate professor of management who chaperoned the trip. “These things are very difficult to recreate in the classroom. Being there truly does make a difference.”
The trip included site visits to the Bank of England, CNBC and the London Metal Exchange, as well as guest presentations by Nick Heller, the CEO and founder of Fractal Labs, Robert Leaf, a storied public relations professional with more than 40 years of experience, and alumni who live and work in London.
“At least a couple of opportunities will open up for the students as a result of being in London and networking with professionals there,” Crook said.
Rebecca Rose, a rising senior studying supply chain management with an international business concentration, said the trip was an eye-opening experience from the perspective of cultural diversity.
“There were people of all cultural origins speaking multiple languages every day on the tube,” Rose said. “Although the U.K. and U.S. share similar business practices, I did notice some cultural distinctions. In America, there is a culture to work longer, harder and faster as a way to get promoted quicker and make more money. In the U.K., people tend to get their work done as efficiently as possible to go home and be with family and friends.”
The trip wasn’t all business, though. Students had time to visit Stonehenge and the prime meridian in Greenwich Village, have tea at Kensington Palace and see the Victoria and Albert Museum along with Buckingham Palace and Big Ben.
“London is such an exciting environment,” Rose said. “People are constantly coming and going, and the food and people you encounter at the local market are unlike anything in the U.S. The U.K. was never really on my radar, but now I can’t wait to go back!”