By Jessica Hirsch

This October, the Darden School welcomed a group of 19 students, one faculty member and one administrator from IAE, the Management and Business School of Universidad Austral located in Buenos Aires, Argentina for a week-long Global Immersion Program (GIP) taking place both in Charlottesville, Virginia and Washington, D.C.  After the Darden component of the program, the GIP students also visited companies in New York and spent two days taking classes at Harvard Business School.

While at Darden, students received instruction from several professors including Jon Megibow, Marc Modica, Rob Cross, Alan Beckenstein, and Lili Powell. In addition to case- based class sessions, students participated in visits to key sites such as the Darden Innovation Laboratory or iLab, as well as the Cato Institute and the U.S. Capitol building in D.C.

Although IAE is located in Argentina, visiting students hailed from four South American countries: Argentina, Colombia, Uruguay and Paraguay.

“The GIP was excellently structured, and it added value to our MBA Program because it opened our minds to new concepts and goals,” INALDE student and GIP program participant Gabriel Diaz said. “The professors were terrific in teaching new forms of negotiation and showing us which aspects to consider in different business models. This was the best international week I’ve experienced.”

As part of the program’s network focus, Philippe Sommer, director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership and the iLab at UVA, explained the role of the Batten Institute and how the iLab Incubator provides incoming entrepreneurs with the knowledge and skills necessary to propel their ideas forward.

In conjunction with his explanation, Sarah Rumbaugh (MBA ‘15), co-founder of RelishMBA,  gave a presentation about  her company and how the iLab has provided her assistance in developing her startup with fellow co-founder Zachary Mayo (MBA ‘15).

RelishMBA is an online recruiting platform for MBA students, corporate recruiters, and career services offices at top business schools. The organization utilizes company recruiting branding pages, access to student profiles through filtered search, data-driven matching, and relationship management tools to help students and recruiters streamline their recruiting and find more opportunities.

Rumbaugh detailed her own process of starting a business and gave a brief presentation pitch of her product, ending with a session for questions and discussion with students in the GIP program.

“It was a breath of fresh air to discuss entrepreneurship and its relation to business school with the international perspective the IAE GIP students brought to the dialogue,” Rumbaugh said. “The GIP program enabled a discussion on entrepreneurship’s impact on business school in an international context. The students’ insights were incredibly valuable to my company, RelishMBA, as we position for international growth.”

Through the diverse array of experiences, students learned a great deal of information on a variety of concepts in business, particularly networking.

“The topics I’ve studied in this program will be important for my future growth,” student Melissa Pantoja said.  “I am taking extraordinary tools back to Columbia which I’m sure will be very useful.”