Mihaylo College students pose on the Shanghai waterfront by night during a study tour in China in 2018.

Mihaylo College management seniors at the Shanghai Riverfront, one of the highlights of their study tour to China.

When Mihaylo College management students earned their capstone seminar in strategic management in China this spring, they gained an international understanding of the economic forces that are remaking the business world.

Led by Lorenzo Bizzi, associate professor of management and recipient of this year’s Executive Council Award for Distinguished Faculty, the two-week study tour featured behind-the-scenes perspectives of East Asia’s rising economic giant through business site visits in Shanghai and Hong Kong.

“This was a fully immersive experience that allowed students to better understand the practical implications of the theoretical issues that we discuss in class,” says Bizzi. “We saw firsthand competition in the international environment, and students were immersed in a completely different reality to understand how business is conducted in other parts of the world, how service is different and how markets are different.”

Mihaylo College students and Professor Lorenzo Bizzi at the National Basketball Association (NBA) headquarters in China during the Mihaylo College study tour in 2018.

A visit to the Chinese offices of the NBA provided insight into the dissemination of American popular culture to international markets. While in China, the students attended morning classes in their hotel’s conference room, with afternoons and evenings spent exploring the cities, including dining and cultural entertainment.

From the NBA to Hong Kong Subways, A Look at the Chinese Economic Transformation

Among the highlights were visits to the Chinese headquarters of the National Basketball Association (NBA), the Port of Hong Kong, and the infrastructure construction firm responsible for building the Hong Kong subway system, as well as cultural experiences such as calligraphy classes and visits to local antique markets.

“The core goals were to expand students’ horizons and fuel their motivation to become successful international managers with a global orientation,” says Bizzi. “It is one of our core values to create global leaders, individuals who are not simply focused on making an impact on the local economy, but worldwide.”

For a number of students, the study tour was their first experience abroad, which was a landmark experience.

“Students told me that they lived all their lives in Orange County and always thought about just staying here, getting a simple job and paying a mortgage,” he says. “Then, they told me that after this experience they want to become successful international managers, explore the world, build connections with global leaders and make a broader impact. That is what I consider a successful experience!”

A Global Perspective to Launch Management Careers

MGMT 449 – Seminar in Strategic Management integrates aspects of finance, accounting, marketing, human resources and operations in applying strategic management to organizations. Focusing on critical thinking and the interactions between various components of a company to anticipate the implications of strategic decisions to support optimal organizational performance, the course was further enhanced with an international component.

“This course is a bridge between the theoretical knowledge that students have acquired throughout the program and the real world outside,” says Bizzi. “After having acquired knowledge about the business functions, students have to apply it to real decisions and contexts to see how the theory interplays with practice. For this reason, international experience is ideal for the Management 449 course.”

CSUF Mihaylo students at a park in China during a study tour in 2018.

Mihaylo College students at a park in China. Lorenzo Bizzi, Mihaylo College associate professor of management, says the trip provided opportunities to witness the other side of the trans-Pacific global economy. “We saw firsthand competition in the international environment, and students were immersed in a completely different reality to understand how business is conducted in other parts of the world, how service is different and how markets are different.”

A Passion for Developing a New Generation of Strategic Managers

For Bizzi, who has taught management coursework in Italy and Quebec before coming to Mihaylo College in 2012, impacting the lives and futures of students is his motivation as a teaching faculty member.

“I am all about experiential learning and creating an environment in which students are engaged, thrilled and excited to learn. The most rewarding part of teaching is to perceive that you have a significant impact in students’ lives by mentoring them and helping them choose the path they want to take in their lives,” he says. “I individually mentored most of the students who went on this trip. They were all coming to me, telling me their struggles, their challenges, what they desire to do in life and what they are uncertain of. This is the best part. Getting them to tell you their hopes, desires and dreams, and getting them to play a role in helping them find a way to achieve their dreams.”

Bizzi believes that the Mihaylo College management program facilitates a bond between students and faculty. “The beauty of this program is that it helps me build a strong connection with my students so that I can better mentor them and guide them to help them make the best decisions for their lives.”

For More on Mihaylo College Management

The Mihaylo College Department of Management offers concentrations in general management, human resource management, operations and supply chain management, legal studies, entertainment and hospitality management, and entrepreneurship.

For more information, visit the Department of Management online or at SGMH 5313.