Over Thanksgiving, I had quite a unique experience! I took my very first DBi course and it was in the beautiful setting of Morocco! If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that over Spring Break earlier this year, I went to Africa for the first time on a Trek, where I visited Namibia and South Africa. Unlike Treks “Doing Business In…” (DBi) courses are one to two-week intensive courses, in which you receive either 1.5 or 3 credits. The curriculum for the course is unique and encompasses a mix of local faculty lectures, corporate visits, government and/or business speakers and cultural visits. They are offered outside of semester timeframe, typically during January break, spring break, or in May, right after spring semester ends and right before summer session begins.
Personally and professionally, DBI courses allow you to gain international experience, strengthen your skills in a rapidly expanding global economy, build in-country expertise and provide a new perspective on business in a different culture! Academically, they are applicable toward the Global Business specialization.
My time in Morocco was incredible. Myself and roughly 30 other Stern students spent November 23rd – 29th in Morocco, the first 4 days in Casablanca and the following 3 days in Marrakesh. To prepare us for the trip, we had a pre-departure assignment to summarize the current economic status of Morocco, so we had at least had a foundation before we were immersed in the classroom. While in Casablanca, we attended lectures at ESCA, learning the history of Morocco, the political environment and the economic future of the country. We also learned quite a bit outside the classroom. While in Casablanca we had a guided city tour, visited the Hassan II Mosque, ate at authentic restaurants and toured a local company, Lesieur Cristal, an Agro-Industrial manufacturer. While in Marrakesh, we explored the Djemaa-El-Fnaa souk, visited a candle-making factory and watched artisans hand-craft wooden goods.
While taking classes and experiencing the culture in Morocco, I was keeping in mind the final assignment we had ti complete. We had been broken up into teams before the trip commenced, and were assigned to strategize how to increase business between Morocco & USA, according to the free trade agreement. Each team had to represent a North American company for an implementation in Morocco or North Africa. My group was able to think strategically about the problem and recommend a relevant and thoughtful solution since we had spent time in the country first-hand.
Through this DBi, I not only learned more about North Africa, but made new friends both from Stern and ESCA, experienced a completely different culture and way of doing business and most importantly, learned more about myself. Since I’m graduating next May, I will not be attending another DBi, but I will be taking two operations courses: one in Las Vegas in January and one in Panama over Spring Break. I can’t wait to share those with you!