Christian Duran poses in front of a mountain lake.

MIB Student Spotlight: Christian Duran

Christian Duran recently returned from a Global Immersion Experience (GIE) trip abroad with his class. In this interview, he shares how his experiences in Milan contributed to his professional development in the Master of International Business (MIB) program.

Q: Tell us about your GIE trip.

Christian Duran poses next to a sign with his classmates. Duran: “During the trip in Milan, we had the privilege of having a full immersion experience into the Italian culture by a cultural day where we did a walking tour and visited historic landmarks such as the Duomo, the Sforzesco Castle and Galleria Vittorio Emanuele. We also received a full economic overview about the Italian economy at the Italian Association of Foreign Trade. We visited Campari Group and saw first-hand how they have leveraged their personal brands throughout the years. As part of the consultation project, we visited NIO Cocktails, a local company that provides premium, ready-to-drink cocktails. Along with my fellow classmates we came up with a marketing plan for NIO Cocktails to enter the US market and presented it to the founder and CEO of the company.”

Q: What was the most memorable experience you had during the trip?

Duran: “The most memorable experience was the hands-on experience of the consultation project with NIO Cocktails. With my assigned group, we had to dive into the world of premium ready-to-drink cocktails and do market research to understand the company and their vision. Furthermore, we crafted a marketing plan for NIO Cocktails expansion to the US. This was a very valuable and memorable experience because we gave some real value to that company and were able to present our ideas to the founder and CEO of the company.”

Q: How did the trip impact your understanding of the culture and customs of the country you visited? 

Duran: “Throughout the week abroad I was able to understand and experience the Italian culture in the day by day. I was able to understand the lifestyle and what it takes to be successful in Milan. After this trip I gained the necessary knowledge that, if the opportunity came, I could live and adapt to the Milan lifestyle.”

Q: Were there any challenges you faced during the trip, and how did you overcome them?

Duran: “The trip was very smooth and there were no remarkable challenges I had to overcome.”

Q: Did the trip change any preconceptions or stereotypes you had about the country or its people? 

Duran: “This trip did not change any preconceptions I had [about] Italy and its people. But it did help [me] have a deeper understanding about their culture and the lifestyle they carry.”

Q: What skills or knowledge did you gain from participating in this global immersion trip?

Duran: “With the consultation project a lot of teamwork was needed, and with a busy schedule communication skills were a key part of the success of the project. I also learned how to analyze market research and implement a marketing plan for an unexplored market, which was the expansion of NIO Cocktails to the US. This project challenged us to think outside the box and bring a new product to the US market.”

Q: How did the trip contribute to your personal growth or development?

Duran: “[As I finish] my Master of International Business degree, this trip was a key factor to understanding more about the global economy and how different countries operate. This trip made me understand that culture plays a big factor in how companies work and what drives different countries’ economy. This is an experience that will have a big impact on my career when the times comes. When there is a need of a global perspective to make a decision in the works force, I will be able to analyze and make the best decision possible.”

Q: Would you recommend this type of experience to other students, and why?

Duran: “To everyone who has the opportunity to experience this trip, I 100% recommend it. The experiences and lessons this trip gives you, it is impossible to learn it from any textbook or class. Besides the academic part you will be able to meet people you never would have [otherwise] if you weren’t on the trip. You will create valuable connections and lifelong friends.”