Business, Society, and the Economy
- Last Updated on Thursday March 06, 2014
Dr. Mark Wellman traveled with 12 Business, Society and Economy Student Scholars to the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Shareholders meeting held in Omaha, Nebraska on Saturday, April 30, 2011. The group flew to Kansas City, Nebraska and then made the 3-hour trek to Omaha the night before so they would be ready for the 7 am opening at the Qwest Center Omaha. The all-day event attended by an estimated 40,000 people, gathered mainly to listen to the conversation between Warren Buffett, 80, Berkshire's Chairman and CEO, Charlie Munger, 87, Berkshire's Vice-Chairman.Berkshire Hathaway’s shareholder meeting is a highly anticipated event by many professionals in the financial industry and the event has been called the “Woodstock for Capitalists.” Berkshire's value investing practices don't exactly lend themselves to flash and excitement but last year over 34,000 people attended the annual meeting. Many of the world’s greatest investors travel from all corners of the earth to listen to the “Oracle of Omaha” speak at the annual meeting. By attending the meeting, the students gained a perspective about finance and investing that would not be possible strictly in the classroom. The shareholder meeting provided a unique opportunity to see and study Berkshire Hathaway’s individual subsidiaries. Students had the opportunity to speak with company representatives and to sample their products. The students with a finance and investing interest really enjoyed the event. The event was very educational, and motivational.
Here’s what a few of the attendees said about their opportunity:
"Truly a great experience. I got to experience the Oracle of Omaha firsthand and saw what has made Berkshire-Hathaway so successful; they value people and know how to treat them well."
-Webster Hughes (freshman)
It was an incredibly beneficial opportunity to get to see one of the smartest men in the business world, Warren Buffet, talk. His speech and learning about him before the trip gave me a whole new insight into the business world.
--Brett Jacobson (sophomore)
The trip was was a great experience for any business student; Dr. Wellman truly provided his students an incredible opportunity. Warren Buffet is an extremely energetic business mastermind with a great sense of humor.
-- Jack Colver (freshman)
Distinguished Tyser Teaching Fellow, Mark Wellman, the faculty champion of the study trip, says that the course challenges students to make connections between academic theory and real-world practice. “The course helps students integrate concepts from your previous courses and gain valuable field experience by tackling actual business problems and opportunities facing the organizations,” Wellman said. This course benefits students by providing a dynamic learning environment that merges traditional education with practical experience. Additional student benefits include learning about job markets in Seattle and Portland, meeting with working professionals, becoming familiar with a specific company's missions, values, recruiting strategies and industry trends. - See more at: http://www.rhsmith.umd.edu/news/students-visit-top-companies-seattle-portland#sthash.qsbb75cY.dpuf
Hershey School and Hershey Park
The Hershey experience follows readings and discussion of the work and achievements of Milton S. Hershey and his entrepreneurial achievements, including the creation of the Hershey bar, the founding of the business, and the development of the mass market for chocolate. The broader contributions that Milton Hershey made to a sustainable, mutually beneficial social contract between business and community will also be discussed and witnessed during our 1-hour Guided Trolley Tour throughout the town. The all-day excursion to Hershey, PA also involves a field trip to the Hershey School and Hershey Park. The mission of Milton Hershey School is to nurture and educate children in social and financial need to lead fulfilling and productive lives.
Gaver Tree Farm
BSE celebrated the start of Autumn at the Gaver Tree Farm in Mt. Airy, MD on September 30, 2009. The Farm is owned by the family of Greg Gaver, a BSE sophomore studying Economics and Plant Science at UMD. The Gaver Family was Frederick County Farm Family of the Year for 2005 and was presented the Take Pride in America award for 2008 for outstanding conservation and environmental stewardship practices.
On Scholars Annual Service Day, students from each of the Scholars programs join together to help out the surrounding community. Beginning their day at Comcast Center, faculty, staff, and student leaders greet the incoming Scholars class, and prepare for a full day of service. Service Day gives students the opportunity to get to know fellow Scholars and start building relationships with faculty members. Through teamwork and cooperation, Scholars not only become acquainted with the program, but also come away from the day knowing that they helped to make a difference in their community. More information is available at our Service Day site.
"Step Up to Bat for Kids" Charity Softball Tournament
Every spring, the Scholars programs come together and engage in some healthy competition, all for a good cause. This daylong tournament fields teams from each program on our campus engineering fields. Since the first teams took the field in 1998, the "Step Up to Bat for Kids" Charity Softball Tournament has been able to donate over $10,000 to charities around the world who deal with the health and welfare of children and families. The success of the event relies completely on the dedication and support from students and staff. While Scholars are responsible for raising all of the money, faculty and staff plan far in advance in order to provide students with a memorable and rewarding experience. More information on the tournament is available on our "Step Up to Bat for Kids" site.
Global Immersion in Australia
Forty-six visited Australia in January 2011 to gain an appreciation for the political and economic history as well as the culture and business practices of the region. An important outcome was to develop an understanding for the opportunities and challenges faced by global business professionals managing and operating business enterprises in a global environment. The global immersion experience included: 1) preparatory activities that covered cultural, economic, and political issues in the region; 2) a fourteen-day trip to the region; and 3) assessing the impact of the experience by requiring students to submit a journal reflecting on the course events. Students visisted the Reserve Bank of Australia, Qantas Airlines, Google Australia, the Australian Parliament, the Australian Football League, Foster’s, Bundaberg Rum Distillery, Canberra Glassworks, the National Museum of Australia, the Australian Institute of Sport, the Sydney Opera House, the Blue Mountains, the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb, attending a cricket match, as well as the Great Barrier Reef.
To read more about this trip, click here.
This website was produced by a student to creatively fulfill some of the course's academic requirements.
Global Immersion in the United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates global immersion experience is designed to expose students to the business and culture of the UAE and the Arabian Gulf region. BSE students utilized site visits and guest lectures to expose the themselves to cultural, religious, economic, and social issues facing the rapidly expanding country. With business visits to Dubai and Abu Dhabi the University of Maryland student delegation gained first hand knowledge about the transformation of the UAE to a growing economic superpower that is an important player in regional and international affairs. The visits included Nakheel, DP World, Dubal, Emaar, CNBC Arabia, Nasdaq Dubai, Dubai International Finance Center, Dubai Chamber of Commerce, and Northrop Grumman in addition to numerous guest speakers.
A detailed description of the The United Arab Emirates global immersion program for January 2011 can be seen here.
The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Washington, DC invited a student delegation from the Robert H. Smith School of Business in early May to share their experiences from a recent 10-day visit to the UAE. Each of the 17 students travelled with Dr. Mark Wellman to the UAE in March as part of a Global Immersion short term course.
The Embassy has been very helpful with arrangements and contacts during each of Dr. Wellman’s past seven visits to its country since his initial visit in January 2009. Thus far, more than 230 undergraduates have participated in the short-term courses.
At the Embassy, the students showed a power point presentation, complete with pictures taken at each of the businesses and government agencies they visited such as the Masdar, Nakheel, Emirates Airlines, DP World and Dubal as well as pictures from cultural sites such as the Jumeirah Mosque, the Burj Al Arab and the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding.
Mr. Bader Bin Saeed, Head of the Embassy’s Media Section welcomed the group and expressed his country’s interest in continuing the cross-cultural learning opportunities. An open and frank question and answer period followed. Ms. Dana Al Marashi, Head of the Embassy’s Heritage & Social Affairs Department asked the female students how they felt about completely covering themselves in the traditional hijab prior to entering the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. The women agreed it was a sign of respect and appreciated that in Dubai, the wearing of the garment was a matter of choice for women, not a mandate.
The following presentations were given:
- Culture & Media (Bonnie Han)
- Government & Economic Development (Michael Brunwasser)
- Free Zones (Akash Dua)
- High Profile Business Sectors
- Sustainable Energy/Environment (Dan Madigan)
- Tourism (Wei Xue)
- Real Estate, Construction & Architecture (Sara Bleistein)
Also representing the Embassy were Dr. Jenab Tutunji, Economic Analyst and Mr. Abdulrahman Aljaber, Diplomatic Attaché. The students enjoyed breakfast in the beautiful Embassy and were presented with a UAE hat, a dual flag lapel pin, and other Emirati tokens. Dr. Wellman presented Mr. Saeed with a framed photo of the students taken in the UAE with the Sheikh Mohammed bin Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Crown Prince of Ras Al Khaimah, one of the seven Emirates in the UAE.
Our thanks to CIBER for offering some financial support to make this visit possible.
Global Immersion in South East Asia
Thirty-four students visited Singapore and Malaysia in January 2010 to gain an appreciation for the culture, customs and practices of the region. An important outcome was to develop an understanding for how Singapore has emerged from a backwater third world economy into a world financial, urban planning and educational leader. The global immersion experience included organizational visits to Port of Singapore Authority, ExxonMobil, Discovery Networks Asia-Pacific, Novartis, Hewlett Packard, the Housing Development Board, Accenture, FedEx, Tiger Brewery, and Royal Selangor in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The group also enjoyed wonderful dining and learned from interesting guided walking and river boat tours.
Here is student's reflection on a trip to Singapore and Malaysia.
Disney Institute Program
The BSE Disney field trip allowed students to:
- participate in an exclusive onstage and backstage field experience to gain insight into all of the work required to execute a memorable customer experience;
- explore and validate the fundamental business models that drive strategic decisions at the Walt Disney World Resort;
- discover systems, people, and processes behind the scenes that work together to produce a quality experience;
- observe the application of systems and processes within the Walt Disney World Resort in the achievement of service excellence;
- appreciate the importance of creating a positive culture that drives employee commitment;
- interact with key Disney Leaders to gain a personal perspective on leadership behaviors and their influence on culture and performance. As part of the Disney experience, students participated in a Disney Institute program that covered topics such as leadership, customer service, strategy, and corporate culture.