On December 26th, 22 students along with Dr. Phil Vardiman and Australian native Dr. Ian Shepherd boarded a plane heading to Australia. 16 hours later, the group arrived in Brisbane. Unlike the cold Texas winter, Brisbane offered sunny skies and a beautiful beach in walking distance of the Mantra hotel. Students were eager to explore the amazing coast, do some sight seeing, and learn about the business environment in the Australian context. The perfect combination of a relaxing vacation, learning about business operations in a different culture, making lifelong friendships, and experiencing God in an entirely new way…what better way could students spend a winter break?!
A major theme throughout the trip focused on poverty and its effect on business opportunities throughout the global marketplace. In Brisbane, students met twice for class to watch videos and discuss the challanges associated with businesses in countries that struggle with poverty. Students were able to share opinions and ideas about how to decrease these poverty rates, integrating Christian values and perspectives with a mission to aid entrepreneurs in developing countries with starting new businesses across the globe.
Also in Brisbane, students were able to tour two local businesses, Industrial Tool Service and Carba-tec. Both companies allowed students to see how business operations differered in Australia from the United States. Industrial Steel Company is a smaller, family run business with only four employees. The company caters mainly to local businesses, specializing in bike pedals and other custom made steel products. Carba-tec is a company that specializes in wood making machines, offering a variety of products specifically designed for the creative handyman. At Carba-tec, students were able to visit with the company’s CFO, CMO, and head of operations. They also toured the facility, including the calling center, the distribution center, and the retail store. Despite the differences, both businesses shared the common theme that honesty, integrity, and customer satisfaction are critical factors in running a successful organization anywhere in the world.
“Touring Industrial Tool Service and Carba-tec allowed us to see the business environment in a new culture. It is always refreshing to get new perspectives on how operations are done differently in different settings,” said Libby Sinclair, a senior marketing major.
So were students allowed to participate in any other activites besides touring businesses and meeting for class? Oh yes! Students had plenty of free time to hang out by the beach, explore and shop in Surfer’s Paradise, go snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef, and a couple of crazy students even went skydiving! On New Year’s Eve, many students went to the beach to watch an amazing fireworks show. On one of the days, students went on a four-wheeling tour up the mountain, learning how to throw a boomerang, seeing kangaroos and koalas, and hiking into a rainforest to see numerous forms of wildlife and plant life.
After long days on the beach, wildlife adventures, and visiting local Australian businesses, it was time to say goodbye to Brisbane and head to the Outback! Next stop: Moree!