Spanish Students Return to Saint Mary's to Learn About American Business

barceFor the second straight year, Saint Mary’s School of Economics and Business Administration has played host to a group of business students from La Salle University Barcelona. For almost two weeks, Spanish students were on campus to learn about American Business culture.

Spanish students lived in the dorms, dined in Oliver Hall, and attended lectures given by Saint Mary’s instructors. The experience was immersive and covered a wide range of subjects. Professor Kris Chase gave an introductory lecture on the American banking system, Professor Jyoti Bachani spoke on frugal innovation, Professor Saroja Subrahmanyan discussed new product launches, and Professor Berna Aksu shed light on strategic entrepreneurship.

“This partnership is beneficial in multiple ways,” said Professor Tomas Gomez-Arias, who worked closely with the Spanish group. “It’s useful to increase networks, of course, but it’s also an opportunity for our students to experience cross-cultural education. It’s a smaller world, and we want our students to be fluent in global business.”

barceAlong with lectures from SEBA faculty, students from both La Salle and Saint Mary’s attended lectures given by visiting Spanish professors as well, covering subjects like entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley, managing change, and understanding turnarounds of technology companies.

Visiting students were also invited to tour Bay Area companies and organizations, including National Bank, eBay, Sony, Bio-Rand, and the Keiretsu Forum. Spanish students also took time out to give back, traveling to the Contra Costa Food Bank in Fairflied . While there, students coordinated with Lauren Strouse and Executive Director of the Contra Costa and Solano County Food Banks Larry Sly, toured the facility, and sorted over 1400 pounds of food. 

“The exposure that the La Salle students get to high-level senior managers that have presented to them has given them a front-seat view of our business practices, our business culture, and how we work,” said Associate Director of Academic Services Janet Amador.

“On a daily basis their experience is testing their understanding of what they have seen and heard about American business,” said Amador.  “This experience goes far beyond any textbook or lecture they can receive at home; it is the ‘seeing and doing’ that brings their learning to the forefront.”

One of the key elements of the two-week experience was the GENPRO Negotiation—an exercise where La Salle and Saint Mary’s students simulate a negotiation between two multi-national corporations. The simulation requires both sides to understand multiple perspectives and compromise to strike a deal.

barce“Saint Mary’s and La Salle Barcelona have enjoyed a partnership for several years now,” said Associate Dean Yung-Jae Lee. “We’ve been sending students back and forth because there is tremendous educational value in this exchange. Students are exposed to opportunities that they simply cannot get from a textbook.”