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Summer and International Business

group of Symposium students and faculty

Symposium students and faculty 

July 2016

How did you spend your summer vacation?

For ten select Davenport high school students, "Learning about international business" would be the answer.

The students, accompanied by two of their teachers, spent a week at the first-ever SAU Symposium on International Business for High School Students, headed up by Patrick O'Leary, associate professor of management and international business.

A collaboration with Davenport School District, the symposium began each day with two hours of concepts and classroom, engaging with SAU College of Business faculty and visiting international business professionals. Hopping aboard a school bus, the next two hours were spent visiting Q-C companies involved in international business, such as Deere & Company, Sears Manufacturing, Genesis Systems and Q-C Spas. Lunch was spent processing with teachers — what they learned and what they saw.

"After their visits the students had a much deeper understanding of the relevance of international business to Quad Cities businesses," said O'Leary.

The students learned that spas and saunas from the QC are being exported to China and Germany. That there is "something special" about the Midwest - its schools and universities, its people's work ethic, the cost of living. "Over and over we heard from businesses that Quad Citians make good employees, that they are proud to come to work."

"Our students looked at this opportunity as a privilege and approached each day with focus and interest, truly attempting to find ways to make the content meaningful to themselves," said Jennifer Boyd, a Davenport Schools curriculum and instruction specialist. "After only the first day, they developed an incredible amount of insightful questions they wanted to pursue over the remaining sessions. This course gave these students a window into the global world ... and opened a whole new set of options for them as they move forward in their career exploration."

On the last day the students presented their "takeaways" to an audience that included Davenport School Board Directors Linda Hayes and Rich Clewell, SAU COB Dean Bill Lesch, and administrators from both schools. During a meeting of the Board of the Davenport Community School District in the Counties of Scott and Muscatine, Hayes reported on her and Clewell's attendance at the International Business Day, mentioning what a great program it was and the wonderful presentations that were made by students.

In the end, how does O'Leary think the students' perceptions changed?

"I believe, that on a sort of deeper level, these students came to appreciate globalization ... to understand that the international world is actually an opportunity."

"I give so much credit to Patrick and the teachers for attending and guiding the students over the five days," said Boyd. "I can most definitely see this as the start of a worthwhile partnership with Davenport Schools and St. Ambrose University in the business realm!"

MORE LIKE THIS:College of Business, K-12 Opportunities

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