Each spring, Darden students have the opportunity to enroll in a Global Business Experience (GBE). This year's opportunities led Darden students to India, Spain, South Africa, China, Brazil, and Argentina and continued the strong Darden tradition of experiential learning.
I had the privilege of travelling with thirty of my peers to Brazil. With stops in the Amazon, Sao Paulo, and Rio de Janeiro, it was definitely learning-by-doing-and-seeing at its finest. Layer thirty inquisitive and bright minds on top of face time with academic professionals and corporate executives within Brazil and you have a recipe for a wholly unique global experience.
While the GBE was distinctive in many ways, it was during this trip that I really recognized the value of the Darden core curriculum. In one day in Sao Paulo, we had a discussion on Brazil's opportunities and challenges that aligned perfectly with what I learned in my Global Economics and Markets class, followed by a dialogue on cultural differences reminiscent of my Leading Organizations class. This was capped off by a tour of a manufacturing facility, bringing to light many of the kaizen concepts we'd covered in our Operations class. The Brazil GBE provided a great avenue to synthesize the core curriculum.
Of course, education doesn't always have to be visiting companies and sitting in classrooms. I've included just a few of the items from the Brazil itinerary below, but suffice it to say words (and pictures) are a horribly inadequate substitute for the experience.
Meeting of the Waters (confluence of Amazon River and Rio Negro):
Municipal Market Negotiations Activity:
Exploring Rio de Janeiro (view from Christ the Redeemer):