Studying in Poland: Being There, Learning There

city scene.If you were a businessperson in the Ukraine, would you rather pay a bribe, and remain in your country, running your business, or would you rather leave the country?

That is the question 24 Illinois MBA students pondered over the winter break. Strangely enough, they weren’t thinking about this subject in a classroom in Champaign. They were in Warsaw, Poland, attending a week-long course in International Business. Said MBA candidate Christofer Mulh, “You never get a chance to discuss corruption and bribery in the United States.”

Every year, the International Business course takes place in a location outside the United States. This year, it was Warsaw; next year, it might be Mexico City.

The objective of the course is to provide exposure to ” key issues in international and global management … formulating and implementing strategies in a business subsidiary operating in foreign environment[s].” The course involves four days of lectures and in-class activities, with one day reserved for a field trip.

Might not a semester course on campus serve just as well? “No,” says Mulh, “the exposure is important. Being there, I learned so much about other things that affected businesses: corruption, politics.” His comment is supported by a note in his journal, an observation of the condition of Poland’s highways: “Under the communist regime, Poland did not invest in highway infrastructure and it was not a major priority when the Iron Curtain fell, since many other economic and social issues took center stage. So the roads we traveled on were mostly two-lane highways. Drivers traveled at various paces