Fourteen Cal Poly students roamed the streets of Morocco this summer, browsing markets and ancient mosques while also building their business networks.
As unique of an experience as it may sound, this kind of trip is not uncommon for many Cal Poly students. The Orfalea College of Business (OCOB) offers students within the college structured international business tours spanning seven to 10 days. While abroad for this short time, students attend business presentations, personally network with professionals, learn international business relations and experience a new culture.
A typical itinerary during the week includes visiting historical sites unique to the country, attending business presentations, sitting in on conference meetings, experiencing a cultural event, touring various companies and sightseeing. Information systems professor Barry Floyd has chaperoned two OCOB trips. Though Floyd highly recommends studying abroad for a semester or year, he noted common issues that students run into when wanting to study abroad, such as work, school and housing commitments.
“[Studying abroad] is a really rich experience but you have to be committed to spending that amount of time,” Floyd said. “If you can’t get away for a long period of time and you want to have an international experience … that’s where the OCOB trips come in.”
Business administration sophomore Kayla Wells traveled to Spain and Morocco with OCOB this summer.
“I wanted to study abroad my junior year in Spain,” Wells said. “I looked at this as a tester to see if I’d like it, while also getting hands-on business experience.”
These trips are specifically geared toward OCOB students because students visit companies that exemplify business assets that students learn about in Cal Poly classes.
Wells toured a tobacco company in Morocco, where she learned about supply and demand in the industry and export and import strategies.
“I was hearing my class vocabulary words like ‘financial statements’ and ‘balance sheets’ being used in a real-life professional setting,” Wells said.
In seven days, Wells and 13 other business students went from their homes in the United States to the religious community of Morocco to industrialized Barcelona.
“It was a complete 360,” Wells said.
Though the trips do not offer academic credit, they enhance learning objectives that students learn in OCOB.
“Learn by going,” Floyd said.
More information and future OCOB trips can be found here.