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Feb 15, 2016

Studying Abroad: An Eye-Opening And Educational Experience

Sponsored Content provided by Robert Burrus - Dean , Cameron School of Business - University of North Carolina Wilmington

This piece was contributed by Corinne Conto, an International MBA student at UNCW.
During my undergraduate education, I had wanted to study abroad, but I did not have the opportunity. So in choosing a graduate program, the University of North Carolina at Wilmington’s International MBA program fulfilled my desired study abroad requirement, and allowed me to choose an academic specialization. I completed my core courses for the IMBA program at UNCW. I chose marketing as my specialization, and this portion of the program was in Valencia, Spain. I lived in Valencia for six months while I completed my specialization courses and began working on my thesis. I gained valuable academic knowledge during this program, but  more importantly I learned how to best collaborate with classmates from other backgrounds and cultures. Within my program, there were students from the U.S., China, Hungary, England, Azerbaijan and Poland. Many of our projects were group-based. To best complete the assignments, we had to understand each other’s strengths and weaknesses and our cultural differences. This knowledge will, without a doubt, benefit me in the workplace, as collaboration with colleagues is a key to successful business practices.
The biggest differences of the abroad education program were the class hours and evaluation style. We had one class a day but for five hours straight. The other difference was how we were evaluated. We had projects throughout the semester but as far as exams were concerned, we only had finals. Additionally, during my time abroad, I was lucky to have the opportunity to travel. Even though I gained valuable information from my coursework in Spain, there are some things that cannot be learned in a classroom. I view my traveling as part of my international education. I visited eight countries (Spain, Italy, France, England, Ireland, Germany, Czech Republic and Hungary) and saw amazing architecture and landscapes that I had previously only seen on television or in pictures. It was incredible to try new food and drinks in each country and to meet fascinating people along the way. The traveling component of my abroad experience is something that I will always cherish. It was a unique learning experience that truly opened my eyes to the world outside the United States.
My time abroad was an unforgettable experience and it influenced both my personal and professional life. It gave me a broader and more open view of the world and allowed me to interact with people from different cultures. I believe I will be able to leverage these experiences to differentiate myself in the job market. Businesses are more global. This means an international business experience is an asset to a prospective employer. Additionally, I not only enriched my understanding of international business through the IMBA program, I also enhanced my leadership and communication skills, and learned how to better adapt to new situations. I truly believe that my education and the international experience I gained during the IMBA program will help me have a successful career in the business world.
To learn more about UNCW’s IMBA program, please visit
Robert T. Burrus, Jr., Ph.D., is the dean of the Cameron School of Business at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, named in June 2015. Burrus joined the UNCW faculty in 1998. Prior to his current position, Burrus was interim dean, associate dean of undergraduate studies and the chair of the department of economics and finance. Burrus earned a Ph.D. and a master’s degree in economics from the University of Virginia and a bachelor’s degree in mathematical economics from Wake Forest University. The Cameron School of Business has approximately 60 full-time faculty members and 20 administrative and staff members. The AACSB-accredited business school currently enrolls approximately 2,000 undergraduate students in three degree programs and 200 graduate students in four degree programs. The school also houses the prestigious Cameron Executive Network, a group of more than 200 retired and practicing executives that provide one-on-one mentoring for Cameron students. To learn more about the Cameron School of Business, please visit Questions and comments can be sent to [email protected].

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