Skip to main content
Student Experiences

Experiencing India Online

Every year, BYU students have the opportunity to enhance their international relations and business knowledge and skills by earning the global business certificate offered through the Whitmore Global Business Center (GBC) at the BYU Marriott School of Business. To earn the certificate, students are required to participate in an international travel experience. However, with COVID-19 canceling international travel throughout the world, Matt Sabey, a recent 2021 BYU MBA graduate from Littleton, Colorado, had to find another way to experience business internationally and earn his certificate.

The global business certificate is considered by the GBC to be “the highest form of academic achievement in international business that the BYU Marriott School of Business awards.” To earn this certificate, students must demonstrate proficiency in a foreign business language and international business by completing a number of business and language classes. Students interested in completing the certificate must also participate in an international business experience. However, because of the global pandemic, students who were planning on completing their international experience before graduating were no longer allowed to travel abroad because of travel restrictions.

the Taj Mahal
While unable to visit in person, Matt Sabey was still able to connect with business leaders from across India.

“For Matt, who was trying to graduate with his MBA in April 2021, the problems caused by the pandemic meant that the international experience wasn’t going to happen in a traditional sense,” says Jonathon Wood, managing director of the GBC.

After meeting with Sabey, Wood reached out to Florida International University (FIU). The GBC and FIU had worked together in the past to offer Faculty Development in International Business (FDIB) international trips. Because of COVID-19 travel restrictions, last year’s international experience, funded through the Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER), had to be moved to an online format.

The program was originally planned for faculty members and doctoral students from FIU and BYU. However, after Wood counseled with FIU, both schools decided to open the opportunity to BYU and FIU students. Wood informed Sabey of the virtual FDIB trip, who jumped at the opportunity to participate. Sabey and a few FIU MBA students attended the virtual international experience for five days from 15–19 December 2020.

Each day, participants visited a new city within India by attending a scheduled video conference meeting led by Anup Nair, CEO of Inspiration India; and Prashant Yadav, CEO of Liberty International. In addition to receiving instruction about the culture of India, students and faculty members participated in a virtual tour of the same country. “Our guide walked us through locations in India and showed us a lot of different photos. Sometimes he was mean and showed us pictures of food,” says Sabey jokingly, who wished he had the opportunity to try the authentic Indian cuisine. “I enjoyed hearing from him and seeing his love for his home country.”

In addition to the tours, program participants met with a number of business executives. Each executive would present on their business and how business in India works. “The virtual aspect of the tour was cool in that students had the opportunity to talk to people who they wouldn’t have been able to talk to if they were there in person,” Wood says.

Sabey appreciates the help he received from the GBC in finding ways to complete his certificate in the wake of a global pandemic. He plans to apply invaluable experiences he has gained from the global business certificate to his future work in business and the global supply chain. “Many suppliers are international,” Sabey says. “I’m going to use the skills I learned while earning the global business certificate to succeed in managing relations between companies and their suppliers.”

Writer: Rebecca Nissen