MSc Management students were given the opportunity to undertake an International Study Tour in the Summer term, travelling to South Africa to experience first-hand the social and cultural dynamics of business in the country.
Culturally diverse with strong financial and manufacturing sectors, South Africa has the most advanced economy in Africa. Tourism is a key source of foreign exchange and the country is a leading exporter of minerals. There are also many challenges that face a leading developing country, which provide a wide range of learning opportunities that our MSc Management students were given exposure to on the International Study Tour.
The tour consisted of a number of visits to different companies across a range of industry sectors, including Monkeybiz, a progressive enterprise creating jobs and social change; Pick n Pay, an African retail giant; and South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA), where students learned about the economic and social benefits of renewable energy in South Africa. In addition to hearing educational and inspiring presentations from the organisations they visited, students were provided with valuable networking opportunities with innovative international business leaders.
“The International Study Tour was a memorable experience and one that I’ll never forget,” says Imperial MSc Management student Oliver Hopkins.
“Being exposed to so many aspects of the business world and listening to inspiring speakers from a vast range of corporations left me constantly challenging my own beliefs and the impact I want to have in the world.”
The International Study Tour gives students the chance to apply knowledge learned from MSc Management modules to an international business issue. Students are required to effectively present their opinion and critical evaluation on a managerial theme related to the tour by applying analytical and problem solving techniques to the decision making process.
Being exposed to so many aspects of the business world and listening to inspiring speakers from a vast range of corporations left me constantly challenging my own beliefs and the impact I want to have in the world
Through this practical application of theory to real world issues faced by businesses around the world, MSc Management students obtain a valuable set of personal development and lifelong learning skills applicable to the international business environment.
“The trip to Cape Town was probably one of the most memorable trips I’ve had so far, simply because of the really steep learning curve that I experienced in just under one week,” explains Valeria Stepantsova from MSc Management.
“In the morning hours of the trip, I learnt a significant amount about the Apartheid’s footprint, the ruthless inequality, and the challenges related to energy that afflicts South Africa. During our company visits, I was also exposed to the diverse solutions available via microfinance in education, distributed renewable generation and sustainable expansion. In the evening hours, I had the chance to dive into the local culture, whether by surfing and skydiving with the locals or trying new and tempting South African dishes with my friends.”
Some key speakers the students received presentations from included Duncan Frayne, Regional Director of Sub-Saharan Africa at Symbiotics, a leading investment boutique specialised in emerging, sustainable finance; and Reverend Mpho A. Tutu van Furth, an Episcopal priest and Executive Director of the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, which contributes sustainably to the creation of a more compassionate world.
“Seven academic days in Cape Town, South Africa, entailing company visits, a guest lecture from the University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business and, most importantly, a lot of fun together with awesome course mates. Well, I am truly convinced that this has been the best experience of the course, and probably of my entire life,” recalls MSc Management student Vittorio Cannizzaro.
The International Study Tour is offered as one of the summer elective modules in MSc Management. In 2017, the destination of the Study Tour will be Vietnam.