College Leads Inaugural Immersions to India and Russia
UTSA business students visited India and Russia for the first time as part of the college’s international immersion study program.
Fourteen students visited India as part of a course led by Lalatendu Misra, professor and chair of the Department of Finance. “No matter what aspect of business an individual pursues, having a global perspective is critical to success,” said Misra.
Accompanied by Dennis López, academic director of international business programs, and Chino Rao, professor of information systems, the students first visited Hyderabad, where they participated in classes at the University of Hyderabad and the Indian School of Business and met with technology, pharmaceutical and health care industry leaders.
Next, they traveled to New Delhi, the capital of India, for company visits. Then they traveled to Agra, home of the Taj Mahal. Finally, they visited Jaipur in northern India, where they were introduced to many aspects of the local culture.
“India was so far away and so different,” said Rene Magana-Lopez, a senior majoring in accounting. “Almost everything about Indian culture is in stark contrast from our own.”
Twelve business students participated in the college’s international immersion to St. Petersburg, Russia. The trip also included a visit to Helsinki, Finland.
Led by Associate Professor Victor Heller and Lopez, the group attended academic lectures at St. Petersburg University in Russia and Aalto University in Finland. In St. Petersburg, they toured the State Hermitage and Catherine’s Palace. In Novgorod, they met with the founder and CEO of a space partitions and doors company.
“Words cannot begin to describe how incredible the Russia/Finland immersion was,” said Jillian Maley, a MBA student. “I had the opportunity to fully experience the culture by touring iconic landmarks of each location, attending lectures at local universities, meeting with business leaders and spending time with local students.
“The result is truly a life-changing learning experience, and I am deeply grateful to have been given this opportunity.”
Prior to the immersion experience, students studied the history, culture and socioeconomic conditions of each country and completed a final project upon their return.
In addition to the immersion trips to India and Russia, the College of Business also hosted immersions to Australia/New Zealand, Austria/Germany, Peru and Taiwan/Hong Kong.
Undergraduates Participate in Research Showcase
Fifteen business students participated in the inaugural UTSA Undergraduate Research & Creative Inquiry Showcase in April. The conference was held to showcase the research capabilities of UTSA undergraduates. And, the end result for one student was a full-time job offer.
Biljana Jovanova, ’14, a finance major, leveraged her work on her year-end honors research thesis into a job with Rackspace—the subject of her study.
As part of her project “The Role of Economic Value Added in Increasing Shareholder Wealth,” Jovanova met with Karl Pichler, senior vice president and chief financial officer at Rackspace, to receive financial information about the publicly-traded company. “He was surprised with the quality of work from an undergraduate,” said Jovanova, who is a native of Macedonia. In the end, she landed a job as a financial analyst at Rackspace based on the knowledge that she showcased from her research study.
Curtis Powell, a senior honors student majoring in economics, studied intergenerational mobility—the ability for individuals to change their social standing. “My first economics class looked at social mobility, and that sparked my interest,” he said. Powell will expand on previous research in this area and look at how qualitative factors may influence mobility. “It has been a lot of fun researching something you are interested in,” he said.
Marketing major Matthew Konwinski, ’14 looked at the evolution of marketing to determine the best means of marketing products to consumers. “To satisfy the values of consumers in an age of abundance, marketers should be appealing to these deep-level values. This can be accomplished by selling the customer, not products, but a story that tells the experience they will have. Anthropologie is a great example of a company employing this strategy.”
“This experience has been rewarding and challenging,” said Jose Camacho, ’14, an economics major and honors graduate who researched NAFTA trade. “Research is applicable to everything in our lives. All students can benefit from research.”
Two Students Receive Sergio Silva “Outperform” Award
UTSA students Timothy Breidenbach, a senior finance and economics major, and Ricardo Rosales, a junior mathematics major, were selected as the inaugural recipients of the Sergio Silva “Outperform” Award.
The award was created to recognize outstanding members of the Investment Society and is named after the organization’s founder.
The Investment Society is a student organization that educates members about the financial industry, fundamental analysis and investments. Organized like a real investment firm, they meet several times a week and analyze the markets.
Ron Sweet, MBA ’91, UTSA finance lecturer and Investment Society adviser, established the award using funds he received from a UTSA undergraduate teaching award. In addition to Sweet’s contribution, past Investment Society alumni have contributed as well.
“Without a doubt, my education would be significantly poorer without my peers in the society,” said Breidenbach, an Investment Society member since 2011 and current president. “I plan to grow the member base, inspire new students and develop a group of students aiming for the highest positions in finance.”
Rosales will be treasurer of the Investment Society this fall. He has served as a senior analyst for the aerospace/defense investment sector. “I have developed a love for financial markets and gained invaluable skills through my participation in the society’s corporate finance club and our weekly finance roundtable discussions.”
Founder Sergio Silva, ’09 congratulated the students during the presentation via YouTube. “As passionate finance students we were looking for a place where we could practice our skills and develop outside the classroom,” said Silva, assistant vice president at Barclays in New York City. “Tonight’s recipients demonstrate an appetite for learning. I hope they continue outperforming.”