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Game to Learn

Visitors Gain Knowledge, Experience in Executive Management Certificate Program

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  • July 18, 2014

While much of the world is focusing its attention on World Cup 2014 in Brazil, a group of international students and professionals have come to the University of La Verne to immerse themselves in an American educational experience. Through classroom study, lectures, discussions and site visits, the visitors from South and Central America are spending three weeks learning about this country’s business, management, public administration and culture.

In all, 209 men and women from Brazil, Argentina, Guatemala and other countries are taking part in the College of Business & Public Management’s (CBPM) annual Executive Management Certificate Program. Experienced La Verne faculty are providing instruction and leading discussions covering an array of subjects.

“Our Summer Certificate Program gives international students and professionals the opportunity to experience the American educational system, American culture, and how business or public administration works in the U.S.,” says Dr. Abe Helou, CBPM dean and creator of the program. “My favorite part of the program is most students say it has been a life-changing event that exposes them to things they never imagined.”

Attendees are given an overview of best business practices and commerce activities through a series of guest lectures and site visits. Learning from working business professionals and seeing firsthand operations such as Domino’s Pizza, Citizens Business Bank Arena and Ford of Upland, the visitors can compare and contrast what they see here to how things work in their home countries.

“We have similar problems with government and taxes,” says Florencia Montilla, who attends a public university in San Rafael, Argentina. “I’m amazed; it’s no different. We have the same problems, just at a different scale.”

Many of the attendees have specific areas of interest. Melanie Lavastrou, another who came from San Rafael to study at La Verne, wants to learn more about human resources and leadership. She wants to be able to take the information back to the business where she works.
“Compared to my company, HR has much bigger (offices) here. They’re much more organized. I could see a lot of things,” Lavastrou says. “A representative came here and I could ask her about her company.

“I think Richard Simpson is a very good professor. We are working with a lot of cases and situations,” she adds. “I am learning a lot from my teachers and my partners.”

Classes and lectures are just part of the overall experience visitors seek from the program. Many want to use the opportunity to improve their English skills and expand their vocabulary – both business-related and overall.

“I like it a lot because I have a chance to improve my English. It’s not just the language; I am learning specific terms,” says Gisele Menezes Santos Fraga, a college student from São Paulo, Brazil. “Some of the things I study (in Brazil) we’ve discussed here, but they have put them in a different way (from) a different point of view. That is good for me as a professional.”

For Fraga, like many of the attendees, this is her first visit to the U.S. Getting to experience the country’s culture and how an American university differs from those in their home nations.

As for missing out on the Word Cup, many of the attendees confided missing out on the quadrennial soccer championship and the clamor that surrounds it has been a fair trade for what they have gained in coming to La Verne.

“Everyone here in California say to me ‘Oh, you are from Brazil. What are you doing here?’” says Fraga. “I feel it is a good choice to be here because I have the opportunity to improve my English, my vocabulary, and my knowledge about different business areas. It’s a good choice.”

The program continues through July 16, with afternoon and evening graduation ceremonies set for July 17 at the Sheraton Fairplex Conference Center in Pomona.

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