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Marketing Analytics Students Learn Best Practices in Innovation, Form Lifelong Friendships in Munich

By Samantha Beavers

With rising globalization and ever-changing technology, Poole College of Management recognizes that the most successful organizations are ones with leaders who embrace innovation and increase their global business acumen. To that end, Jenkins Graduate School offers a week-long global program focusing on innovation and marketing systems in Germany (MBA 590) to give students experience in global markets and exposure to innovative business practices.

This year, a group of 21 students, including four Master of Management, Marketing Analytics (MMA) students, participated in the trip and walked away with lifelong friendships, new perspectives and valuable business lessons.

“I got an email from Allison Anthony about the course and it seemed like a win-win opportunity – getting three credit hours and getting to travel to Europe! I also had a friend in one of my classes who did the course last year and had nothing but good things to say about it,” says Anna-Kate Ladbrook, one of the MMA students who participated in the trip. “It was such a fun way to get credit and I wouldn’t trade the experience for the world.”

Forging friendship

According to Ladbrook, the global program is a valuable experience for anyone – and especially for online students. As a distance learner, she particularly enjoyed the opportunity to explore Munich with other students in Poole College.

“One of the highlights from the trip was interacting with other students in-person. Wandering around and taking in the sights with the group was amazing, and it was such a great way to get to know others that I would have never interacted with otherwise,” she says. “I also loved the group dinners – the food was delicious and it was so fun to hang out with other students from different backgrounds and professions. I didn’t realize how much I valued those connections until this trip. They really brought the university experience to life.”

James Daily, another MMA student and trip participant, agrees.

“Although working at my own pace online has been fun, nothing beats meeting new people – and it was such a fun bunch of interesting people. We all got along immediately and took in all we could while in Munich. From drinking a liter of Hofbrauhaus beer in Marienplatz to hiking up the hill near Olympiastadion, there were definitely enough people to always have a group wherever you went,” he says. “Our meals were definitely what brought us closer together because you could always sit next to someone new, cheer while making eye contact and yell, ‘Prost!’”

“We really bonded as a family,” adds MMA student Vicente Jimenez. “From the outset, I didn’t know any of my colleagues personally, but as the trip progressed, we developed strong bonds of trust and camaraderie. The instant and seamless connection we shared allowed us to look out for one another during our travels and visits. What’s more, I genuinely believe I have made lifelong friends through this experience.”

Gaining insight

Beyond sharing memorable experiences and building camaraderie, the students appreciated the opportunity to expand their perspectives through global immersion and interaction with one another.

“Everyone on the trip came from different backgrounds, which made our discussions with the different companies we visited so much more diverse and eye-opening. I also learned a lot of valuable advice from other students that I will be able to apply to my career,” Ladbrook says.

According to Jimenez, the overall experience was beneficial for personal growth as well.

“The value of this international trip is not only to learn about new technologies but also learn about other geographies, cultures and traditions. The more I travel, the more I can compare and contrast other points of view with my previous approach. This helps me to have a broader view that not only helps me in business, but also gives me a different perspective of life,” he says. “I like to be out of my comfort zone and this was an excellent opportunity to grow both personally and professionally.”

Learning up-close

As part of the trip, students had the opportunity to visit several different companies – including EY, Cleonis, Hyves, Siemens and BMW – to learn about how they are driving innovation forward.

“My desire to learn about new technologies and their uses in marketing innovation was what motivated me to take this journey,” Jimenez says. “My company is committed to bringing innovation to market with the tools I’ve learned throughout the MMA program, and it’s important for me to explore new possibilities and opportunities within the company to help foster innovation and digital transformation.”

“I had the priceless chance to observe how businesses use modern tools to speed up the innovation process throughout the trip. I got to see how businesses leverage artificial intelligence and learned firsthand how data mining systems can efficiently acquire important information – which can help organizations make better business decisions and enhance the overall customer experience,” he continues. 

Another plus, Ladbrook says, is that many of the companies spoke with transparency and candor – which helped shed additional light about the challenges that come with innovation.

“They gave us real answers about what was going on in the company, without glossing over the facts. I learned a lot of valuable lessons from them that I will apply in my professional life,” she says. 

Making memories

In addition to visiting several different organizations, students had the opportunity to take in Munich’s traditions, cuisine, history and architecture. They also visited Freising – a historic town in Bavaria, Germany known for the historic Saint Mary and Corbinian Cathedral and Weihenstephan, the oldest operating brewery in the world. 

“The architecture views in Munich were quite literally one in a million and having a tour guide that understands the city’s history was the biggest plus of all. I’ve never really been a nerd for history, but Michael, our tour guide, made the stories so dramatic by using different voices and picking students out of the crowd to act as famous figures of the city’s history,” Daily says. 

“Our visit to Freising was by far the most fun we had. Not only was it Ascension Day and tons of families were out and about, but we ended up going to Diözesanmuseum, which was featuring a James Turrell installment,” he continues.

Looking back, the three students agree that every aspect of the experience was enjoyable and impactful – and say they would recommend the course to anyone.

“I can honestly say that I would not change a thing about the whole experience,” Ladbrook says. “The only downside to the whole trip was that it ended too soon.”

Check out these photos from the trip:

To learn more about Jenkins Graduate Global Programs, click here.