Indiana University students from the Kelley School of Business are heading to Peru for an extended spring break that aims to not only enrich their educations, but also a faraway community. Roberto Garcia, an IU professor of international business, said one of the main focuses of the trip is to demonstrate corporate social responsibility.
“It has a community service component to it but it goes much broader than that. If these firms are successful and they’re able to grow, then they’ll contribute to the national development of the county,” Garcia said.
Twenty MBA students are partnering with five businesses in Peru through the American Chamber of Commerce. The students will leave March 8 and spend two weeks helping five mid-sized businesses improve their exporting programs.
“They may be exporting some of their products already to nearby countries or even to the United States. But what they want to do is do more of it and get better at it. And given that these are all business students and they’re trained in different areas, like consulting, marketing or finance, they all have some knowledge and awareness of international business. The students then roll up their sleeves and try to understand what the companies are currently doing,” he said.
Election tension in El Salvador caused the students’ trip to be changed from its original focus on that country to Peru. Garcia said traveling to El Salvador at a time when elections were scheduled in the country would have been too dangerous.
“There was too much risk and some government rules didn’t allow groups like ours to travel freely around the county,” he said.
Garcia said he hopes to see this student-driven program continue, with more international trips in the future.