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Quinlan School of Business

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Study abroad in Mexico immerses students in local business culture

Study abroad in Mexico immerses students in local business culture

A class photo in Guadalajara, Mexico.

In March 2017, 13 graduate students spent two weeks immersed in the business culture of Mexico as part of a global and comparative employment relations and human resources management course led by professors Peter Norlander and Arup Varma.

Here, Quinlan graduate student Alexandra Hanson, MSHR ‘17, discusses her time abroad.

Reflections on our study abroad trip

When I initially signed up for this trip, I was a bit hesitant as to how the trip would go due to the current contentious relationship between the United States and Mexico. However, upon arriving I must say that my fears never materialized.

Once we arrived at our host university—Iteso, Universidad Jesuita de Guadalajara—we quickly met the students, faculty, and staff there. And they definitely went out of their way to make us feel welcome, as they hosted delicious lunches, dinners, and scheduled on-site visits with local companies. I can honestly say that these rich interactions exposed me to the local culture in Guadalajara, Mexico.

On-site visits

Prior to this trip, I had never been aware of the prevalence of engineering in Mexico, as their density is higher than that of the United States. And so after we got settled, I was excited to learn that we would be touring Intel, Continental, and Sophia—leading global corporations with excellent recruitment and talent development practices.

One of the first things I remember about touring these local companies was being really amazed by the design and overall scope of their facilities. I had no idea that Mexico had some of the largest design centers in the world. I was also really enamored with the natural beauty of each company we visited--they were so nice that sometimes I forgot I was actually in a work environment.

The three on-site visits provided insight on the different approaches to business in Mexico with regard to employment relations and human resource management. After these on-site visits, in class we would discuss what was different and what was similar to gain a better understanding of the global landscape of employment relations and human resource management

Host University

The ITESO campus was so unlike college campuses in the United States, it’s actually a botanical garden and is one of the main attractions of the school. The picturesque scenery, along with the copious amount of open outdoor space designated for students make the environment seem way less stressful than that of a traditional college campus.

The professors were also extremely willing to go out of their way to work with students and in our case their guests. They happily took time out of their schedules to give us extra lectures, invite us into their classrooms, and attend events to get to know us one on one. I do not think that they could have been more welcoming than they were to us, and I would not hesitate to go back to Guadalajara in the future—whether it be to attend school there, go for work reasons, or to simply visit as a tourist. 

Final thoughts

This trip really opened my eyes to the hidden side of Mexico, and really made me change my worldview, which is especially important given the current relationship between our two countries. 

Trip Photo Gallery

View the photos in the gallery below or on Quinlan’s Flickr page.

Guadalajara, Mexico Spring Break Study Abroad 2017

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