After enjoying Austria’s picturesque landscapes and studying marketing strategies in the historical center of the Habsburg dynasty, students from Webster University’s Branding in Vienna course returned with stories to tell.
“I enjoyed the sight-seeing and the historical tours that gave us a sense of the culture and nationalism that Austria prides itself on,” says Mark Garascia, an MBA student from the St. Louis campus. “The experience itself was unique in that it is an online class, but you also get a chance to meet everyone in the course.”
Branding in Vienna is one of Webster University’s “hybrid courses,” which combine online course work with a one-week study trip abroad. This three-credit course, a Global Hybrid Course offered in Webster’s George Herbert Walker School of Business & Technology, is designed to teach students how to develop cultural awareness as well as solve challenges in global marketing and branding.
Students arrived in Vienna Aug. 5 for a one-week stay. After returning from Vienna, the students began the six-week online portion of the class.
“There are many similarities between Austria and the United States, but there are also many obvious differences,” Garascia says. “Vienna was such a great mix of history and culture while mixing in modern commerce and technology within the various locations visited. Experiencing the culture and the nuances of the city of Vienna was a learning environment in itself.”
A Mixture of Local Culture, Global Marketing
During their time in Vienna, students visited marketing executives from Starbucks, T-Mobile, IBM and Backhausen Interior Design. Students also had time to go sightseeing in Vienna with their peers. Some of the cultural visits included the Schoenbrunn Palace, State Opera House, Museum of Fine Arts, Natural History Museum and Vienna City Hall.
Anne Browning, program director in the Walker School of Business, says the 2012-2013 Walker Global Hybrid Course schedule (which includes the Branding in Vienna course) allows students to visit diverse locations in a variety of disciplines with something to appeal to all Webster students. The schedule and additional information on upcoming courses can be found at webster.edu/walkeraward.
“Global Hybrid Courses gives students an inside look at how business is done around the world,” Browning says. “The short time frame allows working students to gain an international experience and often sparks a desire to travel more which I call a success for the program.”
Walker Global Hybrid Courses meet the travel experience requirement for the new MBA – Global Track and updated MA in International Business programs. A $1,000 Walker Travel Award is available for qualified students to help with the travel costs associated with these courses. More information on upcoming courses and the Walker Travel Award can be found at webster.edu/walkeraward.
But for some students, one week of international experience wasn’t enough.
“I would have loved to stay another five to seven days and really get as much out of the city as possible,” Garascia says. “I really enjoyed the trip. I found it to be a testament to the experience that I was not ready to leave.”
Garascia wasn’t the only student who really enjoyed the trip, Orlando MBA student Sarymil Belgodere says that though Vienna “wasn’t on her bucket list” of places to visit, she enjoyed the city and would like to go back to visit all the places she missed.
“I really enjoyed my time in Vienna,” Belgodere says. “I will never regret having gone there. I had a blast!”
Submitted by Anne Browning, Programs Director, George Herbert Walker School of Business & Technology