Seventy undergraduate students and professors from Guadalajara, Mexico, graduated this month from a two-week intensive business course taught at Arizona State University by international educators from the school’s Global Launch platform.
The University of Guadalajara students learned to build business plans as part of the Global Launch Transdisciplinary Entrepreneurship Program — which pairs business curriculum with guest speakers who are venture mentors and business experts.
“I am learning a lot,” said Alexia Soto Ochoa, a third-year law major at UDG. “Everyone has been excited, but it has been a tougher course than many expected. So it has been two very intense weeks and two weeks of working really hard and spending all our time on the coursework.”
The students, most of whom do not have a business background, worked in teams of four to create a business plan, and then deliver a presentation on their last day of class to judges acting as investors, said Emilia Gracia, Global Launch lead international educator. The judges graded each business proposal and named a winner.
“The main focus of this program was to create a business for profit in teams,” said Gracia. “None of these students that we know of actually have entrepreneurship experience, so they’re all new to it.”
Entrepreneurship and innovation are concepts that Mexico is focused on and it is something that has gained more momentum there in the past 10 years, Gracia said.
“It’s following that same trend of course as that of the United States,” Gracia said.
Gracia was the academic coordinator of the program. Global Launch offered a similar course in the past for Brazilian students but it focused more on leadership and was for high school students. This week’s course was all about starting a business and getting ideas from expert entrepreneurs who have done it.
“It was really helpful to have a person like Marcy Maslov here,” Gracia said. “She’s a CPA. She is very experienced in business ownership and operations, and she actually ran businesses in Mexico for seven years.”
Gracia said that Maslov speaks Spanish and knows Mexico’s system and was able to provide valuable information about government liability and taxes there.
“It was very valuable for the students to have her as a coach and as a guest speaker,” Gracia said. “She helped them with their financial information and their budgets, which of course, is something that people struggle with the most.”
All the guest entrepreneurs that spent time with the class were a good match to reinforce the course curriculum, Gracia said. She appreciated the time they took to participate in what she believes is an important collaboration in education between Mexico and the U.S.
“We hope to strengthen more of our partnerships with the University de Guadalajara and other universities in Mexico,” Gracia said. “Education really doesn’t have borders and there’s a lot of knowledge exchange and sharing that can happen. “
It’s important to work with your neighbors instead of against them, Gracia said.
“They have something you can benefit from and vice versa,” she said.
Global Launch is ASU’s platform that propels students, educators, and other professionals to thrive in the global marketplace. This global training unit provides academic preparation services, training in multilingual communication, and professional development skills.