Business Honors Students Make International Connections in Brazil and Argentina

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As part of a Cal State Fullerton course called “The International Economy,” Jaidan Woo and 30 other students from the Business Honors Program traveled to Argentina and Brazil this winter to learn about the countries’ financial and investment practices. The course covers such topics as international trade and investment, balance of payments, foreign exchange rates, multinational enterprise and international economic policy.

Brazil Study Abroad Group
CSUF business students visited the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, during a winter study abroad trip. (Photo courtesy of Jaidan Woo)

Lorenzo Bizzi, professor of management and director of the Business Honors Program, led the study abroad trip to prepare students for future careers in international economics. 

“Students saw how the concepts and theories they learn in class apply to the real world. They met with executives, managers and government officials who explained how the issues we discuss in class influence the way they do business and the decisions they make. An experience like this stimulates their thinking and helps them grow,” said Bizzi, who received the university’s 2023 Carol Barnes Excellence in Teaching Award.

Woo said a memorable experience from the trip was visiting the Lacoste company in Argentina, a popular clothing and apparel company known for its signature alligator logo. Woo and his classmates met with the company’s digital marketplace and wholesale manager, gaining insight into the impact of high inflation on consumer and business habits. 

Students learned how Argentines often pay for cars and houses in cash, and that store prices fluctuate frequently. The experience demonstrated to Woo, who is majoring in business administration with a concentration in risk management and insurance, the importance of businesses being flexible in response to economic changes.

Additionally, the business students met with U.S. Ambassador to Argentina Marc Stanley and an officer from the Argentine department of commerce, learning about government relations between the countries and discovered potential career paths in foreign service. 

In Brazil, students witnessed the impact of inflation on society through company visits and exploration. Their visit to the Brazilian Development Bank highlighted the role that banks play in supporting government initiatives.

“The students not only developed academically, but also experienced tremendous personal growth,” said Jenny Zhang, associate dean of the College of Business and Economics, who accompanied students on the trip. 

Zhang added, “Students were very engaged with company visits and asked good questions to understand more about the country, how business functions and what job searches look like in that country.”

CSUF’s Business Honors Program gives students opportunities to collaborate with faculty, gain hands-on business experience and network with industry professionals. The program’s graduates work at top companies, including Goldman Sachs, Boeing, PepsiCo, The Walt Disney Co. and the Big Four accounting firms.

Phoebe Sakhrani, a business administration major with a concentration in marketing, shared that her experience studying abroad fueled her desire to work at a global company post-graduation. 

“It’s interesting to interact with different cultures across the world,” she said. “I loved getting the chance to learn more about a country’s history, food and architecture. To be able to work at a company that would allow me to travel would be a dream.”

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