Making Connections

18 Weekend MBA Students Spent a Week in Budapest Visiting Startups and International Companies

Ema Buco is UAlbany’s assistant director of the department of residential life and a student in the MBA program.

ALBANY, N.Y. (July 25, 2018) – UAlbany’s Weekend MBA Program spent a week in Budapest to visit nine companies, from local startups to international corporations such as Mercedes-Benz and T-Mobile.

The 18 students participating also traveled to Austria and Slovakia to see companies focused in banking, information technology, renewable energy and tourism, among others, according to Don Purdy, director of the program.

Purdy said the program, geared to preparing students to become business executives, offers its students a broader understanding of global business strategies.

“You can learn about international business in a classroom, but you can really only experience it by actually going to these countries, meeting with business leaders and immersing yourself in the culture,” he said.

The trip, which takes place each year midway through the two-year program, is also meant to facilitate business connections, said Jakov Crnkovic, a service associate professor in the School of Business.

“We want this trip to serve as a two-way street, where we can establish relationships between the businesses and our students as well as open up possibilities for import and exports contracts,” Crnkovic said.

He said the program has visited more than a dozen countries over the years, including Argentina, Ireland, China, Germany, India and Peru.

In addition to Purdy and Crnkovic, Hany Shawky, the interim dean of the School of Business, led courses on the trip. The group returned to the United States earlier this month.

Ema Buco, UAlbany’s assistant director of the department of residential life and a student in the MBA program, said the program has solidified her financial and accounting skills, as well as given her access to a global business network.

“One of the reasons I’m most grateful to be in the program is that it allows me to gauge my interests with my experiences and to get excited for the future,” said Buco, who is also an adjunct professor of sociology at the University. 

For student Gary Pierce, the program made earning an MBA a realistic goal despite a demanding work schedule.

"There are many days in the week where I work 12 to 16 hours, so there was never time for full-time school," said Pierce, a senior staff member for procurement at Global Foundries. "The Weekend MBA was perfect for me."

The Weekend MBA is aimed at working professionals who are, or are seeking to be, in leadership positions, according to Crnkovic. The program requires 48 credit hours, with participants able to complete the degree in less than two years.

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