Social Enterprise in Nicaragua

Professor Peter Roberts

The BBA Program offers a unique elective in the spring – Social Enterprise in Nicaragua. Taught by Peter Roberts, Associate Professor of Organization and Management, the course integrates classroom learning with an eight-day trip to Nicaragua in May.  Professor Robert has led numerous student trips to Nicaragua, in conjunction with Emory’s local partner, Comunidad Connect, and enjoys bringing eager groups of BBAs to this amazing country.

Students are exposed to the many development challenges in the region and engage in discussions on how business acumen and market-based approaches can be applied to achieve economic and societal impacts.  Issues covered in the course range from sustainability and business development to women’s cooperatives and the economics of coffee.

In explaining the program’s appeal, Anne Kocurek, Associate Director of the BBA Career Management Center, notes, “Traveling abroad creates awareness for a student’s potential contribution both globally and locally and prepares them for the business travel they will do later in their career.”

This two-part elective provides students with an opportunity to apply concepts covered in the classroom to a real world setting. Kocurek states, “Given the increasingly global nature of business, companies appreciate candidates who have traveled abroad.” The class is designed to expose and engage students to various non-profit and for-profit organizations as well as social entrepreneurs that are seizing opportunities to expand their businesses in Nicaragua.

During the weekly class meetings, students read and discuss articles to prepare for their stay in Nicaragua.  In country, they have the opportunity to link their specific experiences and observations to broader frameworks.  The group usually travels to four regions: Jinotega and Los Robles (agricultural issues ), Granada (cultural issues), Managua (urban issues) and San Juan del Sur (tourism). This variety allows students to fully identify and appreciate the various opportunities for economic and social impact using different approaches in each setting.  The short study abroad trip is a convenient alternative to the traditional semester-long study abroad program, allowing students with less flexibility in their schedules to be exposed to an international business experience.

Derek Kopen, Goizueta BBA13


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