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Northeastern University Center for Emerging MarketsCenter for Emerging Markets

International Field Studies

As part of various degree programs, undergraduate and graduate students learn about emerging markets through field study courses. One particularly popular option is the "Dialogs in Civilization" series. Described below are trips organized by CEM Fellows from the D'Amore-McKim School of Business.

2016 MBA Field Study Trips

Executive MBAs Visit China and Hong Kong

The Executive MBA Class of 2016 concluded its 16-month program with a capstone field study trip to China in April 2016, organized by Prof. Ravi Ramamurti.

The trip began in Hong Kong, with meetings, among others, with Allan Leung (a leading democracy activist), alumnus David Chu, who hostedthe group for lunch at the HK Golf Club, alumnus Spencer Fung (Group CEO of Li & Fung), Janice Lee (CEO of Now TV), and Philip Chen (CEO of Hang Lung Properties). The group made a full-day side trip to Shenzhen to visit Chinese companies Mindray (medical devices), Tencent (gaming), and Wynnewood (toy manufacturing).

In Shanghai, the group met with alumnus Jesse Parker (CEO, Tallwood Venture Capital), GM of United Technologies R&D Center, GM of EMC-China, a Director of Shui On group, Honeywell’s China R&D center, and meetings at the China-Europe International Business School. In Beijing, the group visited the Great Wall and the Forbidden City, and met with China’s former Ambassador to the WTO, the former Minister-Political of the US Embassy in China, and senior executives of Glodon IT and Lenovo.

Undergraduate India Dialogue of Civilizations Trip

Executive Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Sara Minard, is lead faculty member for this year’s Dialogue of Civilizations trip to India on “Voices of Gender Development, and Participatory Design Thinking with Social Enterprises in Mumbai’s Urban Slums.” This five-week, immersive program in May-June 2016 involved 26 students focusing on women social entrepreneurs (including several Ashoka Fellows), community-led development, social enterprise consulting, visual storytelling, and human-centered design thinking. Earlier this spring, Prof. Minard was also part of the leadership team that led Northeastern University to be recognized by Ashoka University as a leading institution in driving social innovation and social entrepreneurship in higher education. Ashoka U. is the world’s largest network of universities in social entrepreneurship and social innovation education.

2015 MBA Field Study Trips

MBAs Visit South America- Peru and Colombia

In May 2015, 25 MBA students traveled to Peru and Colombia with Professor Chris Robertson. The group visited many businesses, NGOs, and trade organizations as well as four universities in Lima and Bogota. Students also had the opportunity to present team projects at the Universidad del Pacifico in Lima and about half the class also traveled to Machu Picchu on a pre-course excursion.

MBAs Visit Greece and Turkey

In May 2015 Professor Cuneyt Eroglu led 28 graduate students at the D’Amore-McKim School of Business on a one-week International Field Studies trip to Greece and Turkey. The trip began in Athens, Greece and ended in Istanbul, Turkey, with visits to four companies in each city. The group also had a chance to explore the cultural and historical sites of these two ancient cities.

MBAs Visit Hong King and China

Professor Shiawee Yang led another group of 25 MBA students on a trip to Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong, which included visits to companies like Coca-Cola, GM-China, Hyundai, New Balance, and Shanghai Volkswagen, as well as many cultural and historical visits, including Tiananmen Square and the Great Wall. The course included class sessions prior to the trip.

Executive MBAs Visit China and Hong Kong

activistThe Executive MBA Class of 2015 concluded its 16-month program with a capstone field study trip to China, organized by Prof. Ravi Ramamurti. This built on an earlier week-long study trip to Mexico led by Prof. Harry Lane. The trip began in Hong Kong, with meetings with Martin Lee, a democracy activist, alumnus David Chu, who hosted the group for lunch at the HK Golf Club, and alumnus Spencer Fung, CEO of Li & Fung. They also met with the CEOs of Now TV, HK’s leading media company, and French MNC, Schneider Electric.


The group made a full-day side trip to Shenzhen to visit Mindray, a global Chinese medical devices company, a toy factory, and Tencent. The next stop was Shanghai, where the speakers included the CEO of Otis China, GM of EMC-China, Italian lighting company Iguzzini, and Honeywell’s China R&D center.


The final stop in the 12-day trip was Beijing, where the group visited the Great Wall and the Forbidden City, and met with senior executives of ASIMCO, Lenovo, Baidu, and a senior policymaker from China’s National Development and Reform Commission.

2014 Field Study Trips

MBAs Visit Peru and Colombia

southamericaIn May 2014, 30 MBA students traveled to Peru and Colombia with Professor Chris Robertson. The group visited many businesses, NGOs, and trade organizations as well as four universities in
Lima and Bogota. Students also had the opportunity to present team projects at the Universidad del Pacifico in Lima and about half the class also traveled to Machu Picchu on a pre-course excursion.

Graduate Students Visit Russia

russiaProfessor Sheila Puffer led a field study trip to Russia in for a group of graduate students. Among the cities visited were Moscow and Saint Petersburg. The students met with managers working for both Russian and foreign companies. Students learnt about Russia’s transition over the past two decades from a communist political system and centrally planned economy to a more open political system and market-oriented economy.

2013 MBA Field Study Trips

MBAs Visit Peru and Colombia

2013SAIn May 2013 a group of 30 MBA students traveled to Peru and Colombia with Professor Chris Robertson.

2012 MBA Field Study Trips

MBAs Visit Argentina and Brazil

In May 2012, Professor Chris Robertson took 32 MBAs on a field study course to Argentina and Brazil. The group visited about a dozen companies in total, including a visit to the Brazilian beverage company, Schincariol, where the accompanying picture was taken. A highlight of the trip was a presentation in the house of the US Ambassador to Argentina in Buenos Aires.

MBAs Visit Russia and China

Professor Sheila Puffer led a field study trip to Russia in May 2012 for a group of graduate students. Among the cities visited were Moscow and Saint Petersburg. The students met with managers working for both Russian and foreign companies. In April 2012, Professor Ravi Ramamurti took a group of about 30 Executive MBAs on a 12-day trip to Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Shanghai, and Beijing, that included meetings with high-ranking executives and officials, cultural visits, and interactions with local experts. In all, the group visited or heard from people representing more than 20 organizations, including the US Embassy in Beijing. A highlight this year was taking the new high-speed train from Shanghai to Beijing. Professor Shiawee Yang organized an equally exciting and rewarding trip for graduate students in other programs to Hong Kong and China.

2011 Field Study Trips

Executive MBAs Visit China for Experiential Learning Opportunity

The 16-month program - which is designed for professionals on the fast track to career advancement - allows students to take courses on topics ranging from industry analysis and strategic thinking and execution, to the roles of government and leadership. For the past five years, students in the program have spent a global residency in China and Mexico. While in these countries, they work as part of cross-cultural teams with several hundred participants from other MBA programs, including executives from South America.

Participants also spend three days in Washington, D.C., to learn about the inner workings of the U.S. government and the economy. Ravi Ramamurti, Distinguished Professor of International Business and director of Northeastern's Center for Emerging Markets, developed and runs the 12-day residency in China. He stressed that today's American manager must learn not only to think strategically but also to think globally.

"We try to create a global mindset," Ramamurti said. "Students are connecting different geographies and seeing that the world out there is highly interdependent. They're also recognizing that powerful new competitors are emerging from unexpected places like China and India." The impact of China's burgeoning economy on the global landscape made the trip to that country a necessity, Ramamurti said. As he explained, "All managers in the United States need to understand the implications of these high-growth, fast-changing megamarkets. This program really transforms people's view of the world, their mindsets, and sometimes even their career paths."

First Study Trip to India

In May 2011, Professor R. Balachandra took the first group of 25 Northeastern students on a study trip to India, which included visits to companies and government offices in Delhi, Chennai, and Bangalore. From Delhi, the students made a side trip to Agra to see the Taj Mahal. Among the companies visited were ABB, Alsthom, Dell Computers, and IBM. Picture shows the group at the historic Stone Temple in the ancient city of Mahabalipuram, near Chennai in South India.

2009-2010 Field Study Trips

Professor Ronald Whitfield Takes Students to Costa Rica for a Field Study in Sustainability

In May 2010, Professor Ronald Whitfield of the D'Amore-McKim School of Business led nine undergraduate students to Costa Rica for a field study in sustainability. The interdisciplinary program, which attracted students from a wide range of majors, consisted of three separate, but interrelated components: coursework, company tours and home stays with local families. The first part of the field study had students study sustainability at Northeastern's partner university, EARTH University, where they learned about calculating carbon footprints and eco-effectiveness. Students also had the opportunity to tour several companies, ranging from macadamia nut and coffee farms to the high-tech aerospace firm of Ad Astra where students learned about plasma rockets and problems relating to space debris.

In addition to classroom studies and company tours, the students were also able to stay with local families or on local farms. For engineering students staying at a macadamia nut farm, they were given the chance to lead an experiment aimed at extracting and collecting oil from the damaged nuts that were normally discarded. According to Professor Whitfield, the farm's owner has now refined the process and gone commercial. Having made a success of their experience at the farm, the owner has invited Northeastern students back next year. For those students who stayed at traditional home stays, Professor Whitfield stated that many students were surprised to find that many local families lived without electricity. In spite of this, however, students noted that the families managed to live quite happily despite the lack of modern conveniences.

The program will continue next year, with two trips planned to Costa Rica in May-June and in July-August. Professor Whitfield also hopes to develop a domestic program for next year, which will focus on sustainability energy in Colorado.

Professor Denis Sullivan Takes Students to the Middle East Through the Dialogue of Civilizations Program

Professor Denis Sullivan is the founding Director of Northeastern University's Dialogue of Civilizations Program. Since 1993, Professor Sullivan has taught and led over 500 students to Egypt and other parts of the Middle East. The program provides students with various learning opportunities while living, studying and traveling abroad.

During the summer of 2009, Professor Sullivan led the Dialogue of Civilizations Middle East Program to Egypt, Syria and Qatar. For nearly two months, Professor Sullivan and a select group of students toured government and media institutions and learned about the practice of journalism and activism in Middle Eastern countries. In Egypt, students met activist and politician, Ayman Nour, who spent several years in prison for criticizing the Egyptian government. In Syria, the group with government officials and students from the University of Damascus. The program's last stop- Qatar- afforded the students the opportunity to tour the al-Jazeera studios and view a live news broadcast.

Professor Denise Horn Takes Students to India

The fall 2009, nineteen Northeastern students participated in a semester-long program, designed to provide students with a better understanding of current social and political issues in India. The program, created and led by Dr. Denise Horn of International Affairs and Dr. Lori Gardinier from the Human Services program, allowed students to travel to Hubli, India to engage in service-learning and a training program in social entrepreneurship with their Indian peers.

Students participated in intensive pre-departure instruction where they learned about India's economy, society and political system. The 'on the ground' portion of the trip was divided into two sections. Dr. Gardinier led the first section where students learned how culture and social/political factors influence non-profit program design. Dr. Horn led the second portion of the trip. NU students were paired with Indian students and participated in a cross-cultural workshop on grassroots organizing. As a result of the program, NU students gained a deeper understanding of community development issues. "The success of this pilot," says Professor Horn, "has promoted discussions with the Desphande Foundation on strategies for building this program...the program will be repeated in Spring 2011." The program received partial support from the CEM.

Professor Dennis Shaughnessy Helps Students Participate in Field Study Through the Social Enterprise Institute

The Social Enterprise Institute (SEI) provides interested students with the opportunity to become globally aware business leaders by helping to build micro-enterprises catering to the poor in emerging market economies. Through the SEI's Field Study Program, students gain academic experience abroad in the fields of social entrepreneurship and micro-enterprise development. "What is unique about our program is that we pair Northeastern students with local students from the communities that we work in," says Professor Dennis Shaughnessy, Executive Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and founder and director of the SEI.

Students also gain field research experience, working with partner organizations such as leading micro-finance institutions. In the Dominican Republic, students work directly on social impact metrics for Esperanza International, a micro-finance institution with over 18,000 borrowers in Hispaniola.With the support of the CEM and a special grant for education abroad, the SEI was able to expand the program into Central America. This coming summer, students will work with indigenous communities in Belize with the help of a local micro-finance institution. The CEM was also able to provide scholarship opportunities for need based students to participate in this program.

Professor Denise Garcia Takes NU Students to Copenhagen Climate Change Conference

In December 2009, Denise Garcia, Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Affairs and Office of Global Services Dean, Scott Quint, led a group of fifteen students and Northeastern alum, Richard Mclaws, to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. The fourteen day conference brought together United Nations member states with the express purpose of addressing global climate change. Although the result fell short of expectations, the participating countries signed the Copenhagen Accord, which outlined a framework for addressing climate change, including an acknowledgement that man-made industries are affecting the planet's climate. In addition to attending key panels, students also met with important figures, including former Vice President Al Gore and California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

"In this deeply divisive scenario, the Northeastern Huskies thrived," says Professor Denise Garcia, "Students have learned that top down change may seem extremely difficult to achieve with a very slow and deeply divisive process. However, significant bottom-up change and innovation is already occurring at the local level across the world."

2010 MBA Field Study Trips

MBA Program Launches Summer 2010 Russia International Field Study Trip

Northeastern University's Full-Time MBA program has launched a new International Field Study (IFS) trip to Russia. This summer, twenty-eight MBA students and CEM faculty associate, Sheila Puffer (left), Walsh Research Professor and Cherry Family Senior Fellow of International Business, will travel to Moscow and St. Petersburg where they will be hosted by Moscow State University. This new course is partly supported by the CEM's BIE grant from the US Department of Education.

As part of the program, students will learn about Russia's transition over the past two decades from a communist political system and centrally planned economy to a more open political system and market-oriented economy. Students will attend lectures by local industry experts, visit government offices such as the Information and Communication Technologies Committee, and tour multinational and Russian businesses, such as the Mars candy factory, the law firm of Baker and McKenzie, Alfa Bank, and start-ups located in Moscow Science Park. Cultural activities will include tours of the Kremlin and Red Square in Moscow, and the Hermitage Museum and the Fortress of Peter and Paul in St. Petersburg.

According to Christopher Robertson, Faculty Director of Full-time MBA Program and Associate Professor of International Business, "the BIE grant from the Center for Emerging Markets was a big help in getting a record high enrollment for this new field study course to Russia."

Other Student Activities

CBA Students Participate in Co-ops in Asia with CEM Support

In keeping with NU's goal of encouraging undergraduate students to do coops abroad, CEM is partially supporting students from the D'Amore-McKim School of Business who are working in Asia. Associate Dean Coleen Pantalone notes that "we currently have three students working in China, six students working in Hong Kong, and one working in Singapore. Prior to the start of their work placement, these students spent a semester studying business and language at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) and at Peking University." All of these students have been placed in work assignments in the region. Among them are students working in Hong Kong at Goodyear Tire, Allegis-BN, KT 2Mico Securities, IFE Elevator, Windy City International, and Merck Chemicals. In China, students are working at Ultizen Games and Brookstone International. Yet another is working for Goldman Sachs in Singapore. A small stipend, provided by CEM out of the BIE grant from the US Department of Education, helps make up for the higher stipends that companies pay for coops in the US or Europe.

University of Ghana Business School EMBA Cohort Visits CBA/NEU

The University of Ghana Business School's EMBA cohort, which included some 120 students and was led by Ms. Esther Asiedu, visited Northeastern's D'Amore-McKim School of Business on February 18th, 2010 to gain insights into the unique methods and practice of education. Professor William Tiga Tita, CEM faculty associate, and Professor Kwamina Panford organized the exchange and hosted the group. Professor Jeffrey Born, Professor of Finance and Co-Director of Northeastern's EMBA program, welcomed the group and provided an overview of the graduate programs. They were then treated to several sessions on selected topics, educational technology and library resources, the school's i-cubator, and nanotechnology center. They also visited area technology and community incubators at Boston University and MLK Empowerment Center in Worcester respectively. Professor Ravi Ramamurti, Center for Emerging Markets Director, was the luncheon guest speaker and spoke on the changing role of emerging markets in the global economy.