By Josh Day
Meeting the operators of IBM in Italy, taking a cablecar up a mountain in Innsbruck, walking through the Euronext stock exchange in Paris and discussing business with Lloyd’s of London — all in three weeks for six hours of course credit.
From June to July, two Baylor faculty members are leading Baylor students in the European Business Seminar. It is a study abroad program focusing on the business practices of several international companies in Europe.
“We are not sitting in classrooms in Europe. We are visiting companies,” said Richard Easley, the director of the program. “You are getting access to people that you would never have access to, typically, unless you were in that particular industry.”
Carolyn Monroe, senior lecturer of information systems and co-leader with Easley in this year’s program, said the visits would involve detailed conversations with the executives themselves, especially about their marketing and international business practices.
“We travel to the businesses, we’ll usually have lunch with them. There will be a question-answer session about the business and how they do international business,” Monroe said.
In addition to business meetings, the students will also have a large amount of time dedicated to exploring cities such as Rome, Paris, Munich, and London.
“The beauty of Europe will blow you away,” Easley said.
Kady senior Kelsey Goenner was in the European Business Seminar program in 2011. She said she spent most of her time on the trip exploring her surroundings.
In Austria, she said she went canyoning and hiking in the mountains while others parasailed.
Goener said the program allowed her “to have an experience with international businesses and be fully submerged in the European culture.”
She added, “The European Business Seminar is great opportunity for those looking for an out of classroom experience.”
Easley said, as director, his prime objective was having students explore Europe as much as possible in the course of their studies.
“That’s been my overriding objective as director: maximize students’ time on the ground,” Easley said.
Easley has been going on the trip as the director since 2011, which ended a three-year hiatus for the program.
He is working to reestablish university recognition for America’s oldest business study abroad program.
“It takes a lot of commitment and effort to build up a program like this and Richard’s done that,” said Dan Brenenstuhl, the founder of the travel agency coordinating this year’s trip.
His agency, International Business Seminars, has been working closely with Easley and Baylor’s business school, providing the program with many of the business connections, including the newly incorporated tour of Lamborghini’s factory.
According to Easley, part of the success of the program relies on Brenenstuhl’s talent for connecting with international businesses.
“Dan Brenenstuhl, the CEO of this company that we work with, has contacts that no one else has in academia,” Easley said. “That’s why we were able to get the Lamborghini factory. You can’t just walk into the Lamborghini factory for a tour.”
Easley started going on the trips to Europe with the program in 2003, as a faculty leader. He said every time he returns, he finds something new.
“Here’s my favorite part of doing it: seeing student’s eyes for the first time when they experience Europe, and that’s what I’ll be watching Carolyn for, she hasn’t been over there,” Easley said.
Monroe said she’s looking forward to the trip.
“I can’t wait,” Monroe said.
Students interested in joining the trip can text the word “info” to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other programs can be found through the baylor.edu/study_abroad, with a variety of locations and areas of study.
The closest deadline to enroll in most available summer programs is Mar. 1. Other programs have deadlines to enroll as late as May 23.