Field Study Brings UB Students Face to Face With Brazil’s Booming Business Economy
From a brewery to advertising agencies to a nonprofit school for music, a spring break Global Field Study trip to Brazil allowed 16 University of Baltimore students and an alumnus to gain firsthand insight into what has the South American country bearing down on fifth place among the world’s largest economies.
Organized by the Merrick School of Business and led by Dean Darlene Brannigan Smith, B.S. ’78, M.B.A. ’80, the trip brought students from across UB’s schools and colleges together to learn about the Brazilian economy and its challenges directly from company executives.
“Study abroad is invaluable to student learning and personal development,” Smith says. “It is a great way to help train future leaders to be more effective in and respectful of other cultures and political and economic systems. Ask any student who has participated in study abroad, and they will tell you that it had a lasting impact on their world view as well as their self-confidence and maturity.”
Starting in São Paulo, the group visited two companies a day, including what Sabrina Viscomi, M.B.A. ’13, indicates was the highlight of the trip for her: Instituto Baccarelli, a nonprofit school of music for children in Heliopolis, one of the city’s largest communities. “The organization was started by one guy, a conductor, about 16 years ago,” explains Viscomi, who works in the UB Office of Institutional Advancement. “There were 30 [students] that he funded with his personal wealth; now there are 1,300. It was one of those one-person-can-make-a-difference stories.”
After three days in São Paulo, the group traveled to Rio de Janeiro, where they participated in three additional site visits and balanced their intensive learning experiences with sightseeing and beach-going. For Viscomi, the trip helped put American business in perspective.
“It really taught me about opportunities in emerging countries, and that’s where all the opportunities will be, moving forward,” she says. “The challenges Brazil faces on a daily basis are much more complicated than ours; I have a much greater appreciation for our business environment.”
The Merrick School of Business plans to offer a Brazil-bound Global Field Study again during the next academic year.