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John Pappajohn Helps MBA Students Study in Greece

MBA-PM Students in Greece A group of University of Iowa MBA students will study international economics in Greece next month, thanks in part to Des Moines businessman John Pappajohn.

The 33 students in the Tippie MBA for Professionals and Managers program (MBA-PM) in the Tippie College of Business will study at the American College of Thessaloniki (ACT) May 1-10. The trip is part of their International Business and Economic Theory class.

While in Greece, the students will visit businesses, meet with corporate executives, and attend classes at ACT, in the northwestern city of Thessaloniki. Among the businesses the students will tour are a bank, cement manufacturing company, food processor, winery, and a communications company. They will also meet with representatives from the U.S. consulate there to learn more about doing business in Greece.

Terry Heinichen, director of the Tippie MBA-PM program, said students are given such opportunities so they can study global business up close.

"With global trade becoming a larger and larger part of the economy, the businesses that send their employees to our Professionals and Managers program tell us that international experience is more and more important to them," she said. "They want the students to have a deeper understanding of international business, and to have a broader cultural understanding, as well. Visiting another country is the most effective way to gain that understanding."

In the past, the MBA-PM program has offered opportunities to study in London and Hong Kong, but students expressed an interest in studying on the European continent this year, according to Dawn Wood, assistant director of the program and coordinator of the Greece trip. That's when the connections to John Pappajohn brought the two schools together; he sits on both the Tippie of College Business Board of Visitors and the ACT Board of Directors.

"In a sense, Pappajohn introduced officials at the two schools, who then worked together to provide the opportunity for students to study in his homeland," Wood said. "Both institutions have such a high regard for his work and his high level of accomplishment that he was able to help facilitate this."

George Neumann, a Tippie College of Business economics professor who teaches the class, said the focus of the Greece trip blends well with what the students are learning in the classroom.

"The class' focus is on doing business in other countries, so I'm teaching about things like how to interpret government actions, currency issues, learning to read the tea leaves, so to speak, to help business people succeed in international environments," he said. "Greece is particularly helpful because it's a member of the European Union, which is one of the United States' largest trading partners. Since all EU countries have the same trade and currency laws, it's just as easy to study in Greece as it is in Germany or France."

In addition to spending time in Thessaloniki, the students will travel to Athens to see the Acropolis and other culturally and historically important sites, as well as have time for sightseeing.

"The students who take this trip will be graduating soon so there's definitely a celebratory aspect to it as they reward themselves for completing their MBA," said Heinichen.

Of the students who will be traveling, 19 study at the program's Des Moines location, seven at the Cedar Rapids location, and seven at the Quad Cities program in Davenport.


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