When we say we are the most connected school to business, we mean it. Each year, Heider College of Business students and faculty travel to various cities both domestic and abroad to experience business first-hand.
Our travel courses grant students credit they need towards graduation, and give them the opportunity to immerse themselves in another culture, meet Creighton alumni who are living and working in these markets, and find out what it really takes to be successful in a variety of industries.
From the Jesuit Refugee Service to Ingal Civil (a Valmont Industries Company) and Bloomberg Australia, Heider business students and faculty explore an eclectic sampling of southeast Australia’s corporate, cultural and geographical offerings during the annual Australia travel course. Non-business stops include the Sydney Opera House and the famed Bondi Beach, Melbourne Park and the Great Ocean Road Tour. The Australia travel course is sponsored by the Heider College of Business but open to all Creighton students. Travel courses in general offer students a way to “study abroad” and explore life outside the U.S. in an academic setting, but for a shorter period of time than a semester course. Being able to adapt to different cultural norms and how they play out in a work environment is essential. Travel courses shed light on this because they “allow students to learn how companies operate, but more importantly, how differently cultures operate.
“It sounds cliché, but I did not have a favorite part of the trip because every day was a new adventure,” says Nik McGannon, an accounting and finance double major from Minnetonka, Minnesota. The free day in Sydney that he and his classmates spent on Bondi Beach; the coastline along the Great Ocean Tour outside Melborne, with its kangaroos and koalas; and visiting the Twelve Apostles, the craggy limestone stacks that emerge from the Southern Ocean were all spectacular for Norby, Aman, and McGannon. “This trip was the most beautiful part of the world I have ever seen.”
Led by Michael Thomas, PhD, assistant professor of economics and Institute of Economic Inquiry (IEI) student programs director, and John Wingender, PhD, professor of finance, the Austria travel course is the only Creighton-Heider College of Business FLPA in Europe and is open to finance and economics majors (both from the Heider College of Business and the College of Arts and Sciences). Its abbreviated format – it takes place over spring break – affords participants a study abroad experience without the time investment of a full-semester program.
Austrian economics informs much of modern economic theory, and “Vienna,” says Thomas, “was one of the most important cosmopolitan and intellectual cities at the end of the 19th century because of the diverse array of people in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, such as Sigmund Freud, Karl Popper and Erwin Schrödinger.”
In addition to Vienna, students will explore two other quintessential Austrian cities: Salzburg and Melk. They will blend business and academic visits with cultural ones, including a “Sound of Music Tour” in Salzburg, the University of Vienna and the city’s “World’s Most Famous Schnitzel” restaurant and the famous Benedictine Melk Abbey.
The United Nations’ Migration Centre, headquartered in Vienna, is also a part of the course. Students are able to speak to Viennese residents about current issues, such as today’s immigration crisis, current U.S.-Austrian relations and Brexit’s impact on business in Austria.
Travel, especially internationally, really highlights “the value of questioning everything,” Jake Russett, an Institute for Economic Inquiry (IEI) business research fellow. Travel to Austria, he says, “would be a valuable experience for anyone looking to get a worldly experience in a place that has been historically shaped by economic rhetoric, political and cultural diversity and Catholic dogma.”
“China is a dynamic, evolving, deeply historical place,” says Andrew Gustafson, PhD, associate professor of business ethics and society. “The world economy cannot be understood or predicted well without a fairly good understanding of China. It is, after all, the home of more than 20% of the world’s population.” So Dr. Gustafson co-created a travel course to the Pearl River Delta.
The class visits three key cities in the Southern Guangdong region - Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Macau - to help students learn about the rapidly changing Chinese world of business and to compare and contrast the stark cultural and economic differences between the three cities. Highlights include cultural experiences like excursions to wet markets and traditional Chinese business dinners along with professional visits and exclusive tours at companies that have Omaha connections. A few examples include visits to Valmont (headquartered in Omaha), BYD (owned by Warren Buffett), and Hercules Global Logistics, a company owned by Werner Enterprise (headquartered in Omaha). These direct connections provide Creighton students with an international network and increased opportunities for internships and employment in Southeast Asia.
The first designated service-learning course within the Heider College of Business, the Practicum for International Development in the Dominican Republic combines three academic disciplines – business, Spanish and technology – into one powerful experience. The course, created by Charles Braymen, PhD, CFA, associate professor of economics, and Dustin Ormand, PhD, assistant professor of business intelligence and analytics, focuses on the deployment of educational technology, the BlueBox, at numerous sites in the Dominican Republic over fall break.
Students train teachers on the technology’s use and dialogue with school and community leaders as well as examine and reflect on the cultural and economic realities of life in the rural Dominican Republic. Upon their return to campus, they then use the feedback they received from the DR community visits to identify new ways to enhance the BlueBox project, forming interdisciplinary project teams to bring these ideas to fruition.
The course challenges students on an intellectual and personal level, says Emily Jacobsen, a senior Spanish major who participated in the practicum’s inaugural year. “Throughout the course, I learned more about myself than I could have imagined. While being in the Dominican Republic, I saw firsthand the impact of education, philanthropic service to others, God’s love, equality and justice,” she says.
Senior business intelligence and analytics major Drew Moffatt says the merging of technology, research and service was extremely rewarding, especially when the students introduced the BlueBoxes to schools and homeless shelters. The course also improved his verbal and written communication skills and taught him empathy and the importance of being open to new experiences.
The true value of the practicum extends beyond the academic realm, Moffatt says: “It is how it transforms you as a person who truly embodies the Jesuit values of a person for and with others and working towards the greater good.”
Las Vegas is anything but a one-trick pony. That’s what Andrew Gustafson, PhD, associate professor of business ethics and society, wants his students enrolled in the Las Vegas travel course to discover. Open to all university students, the course addresses the human impact and dimension of business.
“Not only do we visit these world-renowned glamorous casinos and event venues, we also explore what concerns residents and government officials have about development, like water issues, and consider societal issues, like the impact of gaming on local culture and consider economic and ethical issues regarding employees, development and treatment of customers,” Dr. Gustafson elaborates. Students meet with manager of several large casino operations and visit with companies such as the Howard Hughes Corporation, who has created planned housing developments for over 100,000 residents in the Summerlin neighborhood in west Las Vegas. On this trip students learn how the city is responding to the housing needs of a rapidly growing population, and how business owners make the magic happen on the strip. The multi-dimensional nature of this travel course has proven to be very impactful on the students who have gone.
The New York Travel Course connects finance and accounting seniors with the dynamic corporate environment of Wall Street and greater New York City. During this course, students conduct in-depth research on the companies they will be visiting. With this background information in mind, students embark on the travel component of the course prepared to learn through strategic discussions and roundtable conversations with professionals in their field of interest.
Students visit some of the most influential companies in accounting, investment banking and financial services in Manhattan and its surrounding areas. Our travel courses offer so much more than a simple tour. They provide networking opportunities that bridge the student experience with their future professional life.
Students tour the New York Stock Exchange, visit with alumni at notable firms and businesses such as Bloomberg, Oppenheimer and Co., KPMG, and Kiewit, and also get to enjoy some of the city’s premier entertainment opportunities. It’s the perfect option for students who are thinking about heading to the East Coast after graduation.
Business on the Western Frontier exposes marketing and business intelligence and analytics students to a variety of tech, retail and service businesses in San Francisco. Previously reserved for seniors, the course recently became open to sophomores and juniors in order to increase summer internship opportunities in the Bay Area for Heider students interested in building connections in that area.
Students and faculty tour the headquarters of tech giants like Google, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn; and then day-trip to the famed Pebble Beach golf mecca or take a detour to Wine Country. But it’s not just all about new faces, students on this travel course also get to meet with several alumni living in the area, like Amanda Damisch, BA’08, MS’09, founding member of Facebook’s global ethics and compliance program or Don Waite, business alumni and founder of data storage giant Seagate Technology.
Of all the places across the globe, why develop a travel course to South Africa? Because, says Ravi Nath, PhD, chair of the Department of Business Intelligence and Analytics, “it is a global economy, and our students must be prepared to navigate the complex and interconnected web of markets, suppliers, labor arbitrages, cultures and political considerations.”
The course incorporates several business visits to learn about South Africa’s business culture and hurdles they must overcome such as the nation’s huge disparity in wealth . The course also integrates cultural activities into two weeks of travel and several daytrips to places like Soweto and Robben Island, which have proven to be very moving experiences for students. Students benefit from experiencing another way of life and are thrilled when they catch a rare leopard siting during the annual safari ride!