For some MBA students, the January term (J-term) is a time to relax, catch up on projects around the house, and enjoy a break from textbooks and exams.  However, more than two dozen Full-time and Evening UST MBA students chose to participate in the FINC 752:  Global Financial Services seminar that took place in Hong Kong and Shenzhen, China.

Led by Dr. Michael Sullivan, associate professor of finance, the purpose of the study abroad trip is “to provide MBA students with an opportunity to better understand the global financial services industry and to gain an exposure to non-US points of view.”  Through site visits to the Hong Kong stock exchange and various financial services firms, students gained a better understanding of the financial opportunities and challenges presented by the world’s largest and fastest-growing market.

Full-time UST MBA student Trevor Mulvey, pictured at right, told me upon returning from his trip to Asia that it was an amazing learning experience that he felt all MBA students should be required to take part in.  I asked him to jot down some of his thoughts to share, and he provided the following insights:

  • Goals.  While the people in the Asia Pacific region share the same general goals as Americans or Westerners (food on the table, roof over their head, etc.), the means and methods for achieving these goals are vastly different.  Same destination, different way of getting there…
  • Perspective.  You quickly learn that the news in the United States pertaining to China isn’t always reported the same way as it is in Asian regions.  It’s important to maintain a broad perspective when trying to fully assess the events on a global basis.
  • I wish the Global Financial Services class was required for all MBA students.  It appears the students who sign up to take the course already understand the concept of  a “global economy.”  It’s the individuals who haven’t recognized the “global economy” who would most benefit.  We can read about and hear about the Asia region as much as we want, but until we actually experience it for ourselves it will forever be a world far far away…

UST MBA students have had the opportunity to participate in the Hong Kong seminar for the past several years, and you can see more photos and read additional insights from MBA alumnus Mike Burns, who participated in the Hong Kong seminar in 2009.