A Tale of Three Nations

Mason School Full-Time MBA student Helena Aguiar meets with some new friends.

Over the winter break, 25 Mason MBA and BBAs ventured into exotic Southeast Asia as part of the capstone trip for the Global Business Analysis and Immersion course. Led by Dr. Don Rahtz, the group visited Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam over the course of a three weeks. The trip provided for cultural and business immersion as we visited not only well known cultural sites but also companies.

In Bangkok, we visited the Royal Palace grounds. After spending New Year ’s Eve on iconic “Pub Street” in Siem Reap, we witnessed the first sunrise of the new year at the ancient Angkor Wat temple ruins in Cambodia. While there, the more adventurous of the group had a chance to taste deep fried tarantulas and crickets in Spider City. We entered Vietnam through a four hour river cruise down the Mekong River and made our way to Saigon.

Along the way, stops at the S21 detention camp in Phnom Penh and Cu Chi Tunnels complex brought to light the historical atrocities that the region has faced. Perhaps the most memorable for most of the group were visits to Knar School and Wat Bo School where had the opportunity to interact with local primary school children. Fundraising efforts for both of these schools were carried out by the class before the trip and will continue this semester.

As business students we also had the chance to see various industries in action in the region. Company visits included stops at Toyota’s Bangkok plant, a garment factory in Cambodia (making many brands we wear), silk and fish farms to a W&M MBA owned fishing net company among others. The culmination of the trip came in Phuket as we explored the islands and caves by sea kayaks. From camping on a deserted island to soaking in the sun on the beaches of our resort, the beauty of our surroundings was hard to escape. The trip brought a diverse range of experiences that will be remembered for a long time.

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Sanik Patel

Sanik Patel is a second year MBA student with the Mason School of Business at the College of William and Mary.

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