TCU MBAs Take Education South of the Border


The Neeley School of Business’ international study trips enable students to see business through a global lens. Students are able to talk with global executives to get a better understanding of various aspects of international business, including marketing, manufacturing, distribution and more.

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TCU MBAs in Chile

Business in Chile
In January, one group of TCU MBA students traveled to Chile to learn the ins and outs of Chilean business from senior execs at local companies and multinational firms across a variety of industries, including communications, packaged goods, financial services, mining, tourism and viticulture. The 10-day trip took students to cultural sites and businesses in Santiago, Pucón, Valparasio and Viña del Mar.

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Students meet with alum Omar Mata, Consulting Partner, Deloitte

Among the businesses visited in Santiago was Deloitte, where students had the opportunity to interact with alumnus Omar Mata MBA ’02, consulting partner who leads the finance transformation and shared services practice for the Americas. 

Shane Beckley, MBA ’17, says he selected the Chile trip for a number of reasons. “My military career took me to Europe and the Middle East several times, thus, I wanted to spend time in a completely different culture and place,” he says. “I was interested in the companies we would get to interact with on this trip. I specifically wanted to get the perspective of the Deloitte folks and know how work in South America compares to work in the U.S. Also, I wanted to know if they adapted to the work style of the local culture or brought their American way of doing business with them.”


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Repelling down a waterfall in Chile

During the study trips, students have numerous opportunities to enjoy the unique sites and experiences in the regions they visit. Beckley and fellow students visited waterfalls and took part in repelling, white water rafting, horseback riding and more.

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White-water rafting in Chile 

Beckley, who is interested in a career in wealth management, says the 10-day study abroad experience, led by TCU professors Dr. Chris White and Dr. Eric Yorkston, prompted him to consider working in South America.

“Prior to this trip, I had never considered working/living in South America, but now I’m actively seeking career paths that have potential for working in or with South American entities,” he says. “One thing I learned on this trip was that South Americans seem to have a much better work-life balance. They seem to be less focused on output and profits and more concerned with relationships and general well-being. I think this is a work environment that suits me very well, and I would love the chance to live that life in 10 or 12 years.”

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Proposal at the base of the Salto del Claro waterfall in Pucón, Chile 

The trip got Beckley thinking about his future in more ways than one and took on more personal significance after he proposed to his girlfriend, Alyssa Gapinski, at the base of the Salto del Claro waterfall in Pucón, Chile. “It is definitely a moment to be remembered,” says Gapinski, who traveled to Chile as Beckley’s guest (as do many of the students’ significant others). “The TCU MBA program has a very inclusive spouse/significant other group, of which I am thankful.”

Business and Sustainability in Costa Rica
While Beckley and others were in Chile, another group of Neeley students traveled to Central America to spend time learning about sustainable business practices. The group of students, led by Dr. Laura Meade and Assistant Dean Mark Muller, visited the Costa Rican cities of Liberia, Cañas, Arenal and San Jose.

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Learning more about sustainable energy options at the solar panel plant

They visited businesses actively practicing sustainability, including Miravalles clean energy district, Sky Tram of Arenal Reserve, Intel, Baxter, Boston Scientific, Holcim and Sibu Chocolate.

Tendai Matambanadzo, MBA ’16, selected the trip to Costa Rica specifically because he wanted to learn about sustainability in a country that aims to be carbon neutral by 2020. “I wanted to learn more about sustainability and responsible sourcing,” he says. “The big takeaway was that as consumers have access to information, they tend to spend their money at companies that practice corporate social responsibility.

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Scuba diving in Costa Rica 

Matambanadzo, who was an executive director for the YMCA prior to attending TCU to study supply chain management, says he was particularly interested in Costa Rican companies’ approach to corporate social responsibility and how it varies from practices in the United States, where “companies tend to work with third-party entities such as the YMCA or Boys & Girls Club and donate funds to these organizations to carry out their social good. In Costa Rica, companies are much more involved directly. Both approaches, though different, work for their respective communities.”

Each student who participates in the international study trips does so for different reasons, but all students return to the United States with a new perspective on international business and memories to last a lifetime.

Interested in getting a TCU MBA? Request more info about the Neeley School of Business graduate program.

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