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Undergraduate Students Experience International Business Firsthand

July 24, 2011
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See more photos from the trip on Flickr

Upper-level undergraduate students took international business learning to a new level this summer by participating in a four-week study abroad trip to Milan, Italy. The 22 students were immersed in Italian culture as they studied operations management from an international perspective.  

Luca Donno, lecturer of management science and a native of Milan, directed the program, which included morning classes and field trips to observe the production and business operations of some of Italy’s most renowned companies.

“It’s one thing to put something on the board, but it’s entirely different when you can see these operational concepts in person,” said Donno.

The program began with an orientation trip to the city of Sirmione, where students toured Roman ruins, medieval castles and thermal pools unique to the ancient city, giving them a taste of the cultural richness of Italy.

The highlight of the program for many students, however, was the opportunity to visit and learn from the production plants of companies such as Ducati S.p.A. and Lamborghini S.p.A.  The students witnessed the manufacturing of the Aventador, Lamborghini’s latest car model, which has yet to be released to the public.

“This was a great learning experience for students to see that business operations are not always about mass production; sometimes it is just about finding a niche and perfecting one’s craft.  For example, at Lamborghini, skilled technicians can only make two to four handmade leather seats per day,” said Karen Donno, senior advisor for Undergraduate Business Programs, who coordinated the trip. 

The students also visited the Pirelli Tyre S.p.A. headquarters in Milan for a presentation on research and development, which included gathering in a giant soundproof room to experience the noise levels of Pirelli tires running on a test car. Company executives were on hand to discuss the creation of new tires and the marketing and production strategies for Pirelli Tyres worldwide.  

Silvio Nardi Vineyards, producers of Brunello wines, offered students a chance to learn about the business operations of fine wines by touring its production facilities and vineyards in Montalcino, the heart of the Tuscan wine country.

Students earned management course credits and could select an additional course in Italian theater and culture taught by Maria Stampino, an associate professor with the University's department of modern languages and literatures.

Participating students included: Robert Barry, Allison Beece, Shelby Collins, Andrew Dennis, Alyssa Drazin, Brooke Feingold, Eliza Feldman, Gregory Kaczka, Drew Lavine, Jacob Levinger, Mateo Mejia, Belinda Ortega, Max Pomeranz, Christopher Poore, Jennifer Ramirez, Michael Roffe, Daniella Salvatore, Avani Sharma, Stephen Smith, Maria Teresa Tupini, Lisa Weintraub, and Jenna Young.
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