Union Business Students Travel to Italy

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Earlier this fall, a group of five Master of Business Administration students and Luanne Powell, MBA coordinator, traveled to Rome, Italy, for MBA International Week at LUISS Business School. This event consisted of students from nine different schools across the world coming together to work on a franchising strategy for Italian fashion brand United Colors of Benetton.

The students were divided into groups to discuss the Benetton case study, “Benetton Sales Distribution Channel Strategy — The Franchise Expansion Case,” and work on presentations for the company. Representatives from Benetton were present to discuss the obstacles the company was facing.

“I think it spoke highly of Benetton to have that calibre of employee accessible to the students,” Union MBA student Alex Covarrubias said. “It gave you the sense that they were really interested in what we had to say, since there was a person of influence at our disposal.”

The groups were organized so students from different schools were working together. Each of our MBA students gained experience collaborating with people from other nations such as Russia, Argentina, England and Croatia.

“What I liked most about the program was mingling with students from other countries,” Covarrubias said. “It was very fun to have the opportunity to learn things about one another and ask questions. In the brief period of time some friends were made and maybe even future networking opportunities.”

After making their presentations to Benneton, the students each received a certificate of completion for their work. They also earned class credit during the trip.

This study abroad opportunity is one of many that Union students have the opportunity to choose from. Learn more about studying abroad on our website.

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Alum Reflects on Student Teacher Placement in Thailand

Naomi in Thailand

Naomi Pietenpol is a 2015 mathematics alum with a teacher licensure, who spent eight weeks in Thailand for her student teaching placement. Naomi worked in the Grace International School there and took some time to share a little about her experience.

I don’t think I’ll ever make it through another day without thinking about my international student teaching experience. The community that I was welcomed into was beautiful, godly, loving, encouraging and challenging.

I worked with students from all over the world, yes, but that’s not what made them so great; they were just great kids who made a point of telling me funny stories and saying ‘hi’ in the halls. Because of the nature of the ex-pat community I was a part of, I would see my students as I biked to the market and ran to grab lunch, and I loved every time I got to see one of them. I got to go to church with them, sit in on their Bible studies and live life with them a bit.

The co-op teacher I worked with had so much experience, and from him I learned how to teach math well — those tips and tricks that make the content more accessible to students, the kind of things you usually only find out five years into it. He and the rest of the staff were patient and encouraging, and I loved being invited into their homes for meals and watching their adorable little kids so they could have a night out, or being taken along on adventures.

Families and friends took me on adventures, and I got to see places that usually reside on postcards and in dreams. I stayed with families that made me feel like family and I learned so much about the world, relationships and the Lord just from their stories. If you’re thinking of going overseas for student teaching, know that it will be a lot of transition and good-byes that are hard, but also know that it will be an amazing experience full of beautiful sights and people.

My motto was “just do it,” and it served me well. Take every opportunity to be among the local people and the people of the school, to see beautiful things, to listen to stories and make new friends; take every chance to serve and to learn, even though you’re supposed to be the one teaching.

Naomi has accepted a position teaching middle school math at Parnassus Preparatory School in Minnesota, which is based on a classical education model.