Seventeen Haslam College of Business students travelled to Queensland, Australia, this summer to study marketing and supply chain management. Participants lived and studied at the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) and took classes taught by Haslam professors John Bell and Diane Mollenkopf.
Mollenkopf, who has been with the program since its inception in 2007, chose Australia because she believes its cultural similarities to the United States allow students to gain a deeper understanding of the differences in world-view and business practices.
“When the culture is so foreign that students spend most of their time figuring out things like ‘Where is the bathroom?’ and ‘What am I eating?’ the experience can be a bit shallow,” she said. “This is a unique corner of the world to consider the implications for doing business, especially when [students] start to realize how economically tied this country is to Asia, yet how distant it is culturally from Asia.”
Students visited the Brisbane Port, Bunderim Ginger Factory, Woolworths’ Brisbane Regional Distribution Center and Lion Brewery to witness supply chain and marketing integration in the Oceana-Pacific region firsthand.
“The operations manager at Woolworths shared with us how little details such as changing the paint color on their trucks significantly impacted cost,” said Kathryn Jordan, a rising senior studying human resource management. Painting refrigerated trucks white, which reflects sunlight, cut down energy costs while remaining in brand.
Taylor Hillock, a rising junior majoring in supply chain and marketing, was impressed with Brisbane’s automated port, the only one if its kind in the world.
“To be able to see in person the state of the art AutoStrads in action as well as the massive sight of the quay-cranes was the opportunity of a lifetime,” Hillock said. “Real life scenarios and experience make what has been taught in lectures these past few years come together and just click!”
At Lion Brewery, students learned how historic shipping limitations led to regional brand loyalty in the Australian beer industry, and how companies have maintained that loyalty by partnering with regional athletic teams.
“The state beer for New South Whales is Victoria Bitters while QLD’s is XXXX,” said Daniel Elliott, a rising senior in supply chain management. “They pair these beers with the states’ rugby teams (Maroons are sponsored by XXXX and the Blues are sponsored by VB). This helps with brand recognition and the continuance of consumer taste history.”
Students also visited Fraser Island, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Australia Zoo and received guest lectures from USC faculty and aboriginal elders from the Gubbi Gubbi nation.