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Students learn international business practices in Poland

Jun 21, 2024
A grouo picture in Poland
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KOKOMO, Ind. — While doing research for her Master of Business Administration classes, Mikayla Tom wished she could interview an executive in an overseas company, to ask questions about how human resources worked similarly and differently than in the United States.

This summer she had the opportunity to ask her questions at GFT, a technology company in Krakow, Poland, as part of an Indiana University Kokomo Experience and You (KEY) trip through the School of Business.

“I never thought I’d one day be able to have a conversation with the leader of an overseas company and ask about his recruiting process and how he keeps his company so diverse,” she said. “Not only was I able to ask, but we connected through LinkedIn so I can reach out again with more questions.

“Nothing is really out of reach, and opportunities are really limitless,” she added. “This trip left a deep impact on me. I definitely want to go back and continue to meet people and explore everything. I love Poland now.”

Mikayla Tom was among 13 IU Kokomo students who spent 10 days in Poland, visiting businesses to meet with industry leaders, and touring historical sites in Warsaw and Krakow.

Gloria Preece, assistant dean, director of the MBA and MPM programs, and assistant professor of personal financial planning and marketing; and Adam Smith, associate professor of marketing, led the trip.

“Studying in Poland provides a rich cultural experience, with a history that blends various influences from both Eastern and Western Europe,” said Preece. “Understanding Poland’s history, including its transition from communism to a market economy, provides students with unique insights into economic and political transformations.”

She noted that Poland has one of the fastest growing economies in the European Union, and the cities they visited are known for their vibrant business environments and innovative start-ups.

“Studying in such an environment provides insights into economic development, market trends and business strategies in a rapidly evolving economy,” she said. “Exposure to these hubs allows students to learn about entrepreneurship, innovation, and modern business practice.”

They visited the American Chamber of Commerce, Amazon, the World Bank, the National Bank of Poland, Google, the Volvo Tech Hub, and several locally owned businesses. The trip also included touring the Warsaw Uprising Museum, Wawel Castle, the Schindler’s Factory Museum, and Auschwitz and Birkenau, among other sites.

Zoe Wainscott, Kokomo, had a personal interest in the trip, because her family immigrated from Poland generations ago. As a marketing and human resources major, she was curious to see those fields in real life in a country that only joined the European Union in 2004.

“I was interested in the placement Poland holds in the EU, being such a new country in it,” she said. “Seeing the history we’ve read about, it is different seeing it in person, and how it’s impacted the country around it. The people there were amazing and meeting them was impactful too.”

MBA student Mattie Tom, Carmel, appreciated the opportunity to see more historical sites, as she and Mikayla Tom, who is her sister, went on IU Kokomo’s World War II trip in 2023. Visiting Auschwitz was a grim reminder of that chapter in history, she said.

“It was so much heavier,” she said. “It’s hard to explain the weight you felt there. There was no sense of hope. You can feel that once people arrived there, that’s where they met their fate.”

However, she enjoyed the kindness of the Polish people they met and was impressed with how generous they were with their time.

“We all talked about how interested and open they were,” she said. “The CEO of Volvo spent three hours with us one day. I don’t feel there would be a corporation here that would take the time for their CEO and leadership team to talk to a group of students.”

International travel allows students to consider expanded opportunities, Smith said.

“They can see they have options outside of Kokomo, Indiana, or even the United States, to work for a company that has locations in many places. They can see that they are competing in a global marketplace.”

Education is KEY at Indiana University Kokomo.

Contact Info

Erin Witt, director of media and marketing
765-455-9468
witterin@iu.edu

Danielle Rush, communications specialist
765-432-9906
darush@iu.edu

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