Global Business Learning in Crete and Cyprus

Monday, August 20, 2018TOPICS: International

USD SIBC students explore Crete
begin quoteFrom Cyprus to Crete, this summer has been an amazing example of the unique experiences that our SIBC facilitates to expand students’ business acumen.

This summer, our Student International Business Council (SIBC), one of just three privately-endowed, student-led SIBC’s in the country, organized two once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for students to explore the Mediterranean islands of Crete and Cyprus while gaining hands-on work experience at global organizations.

Marketing Analysis at the Sisois Family Olive Grove in Crete

SIBC students Mary Pat Abruzzo (Communication Studies ‘20), Alex Cooley (Finance ‘20), Kirsten Kuang (Business Economics and Finance ‘21), and Addie Hardten (International Business and Marketing ‘21), spent last semester working on a market analysis of the olive oil industry to help the Sisois Family Olive Grove turn their premium olive oil into a more profitable product. Over the summer, they then traveled to the idyllic Greek island of Crete to present their findings directly to the company. Their adventure started with a stopover in Athens, Greece before visiting Crete and the olive groves of the Sisois family. The group presented a market analysis and timeline to help the small family business expand into the U.S. market. “This presentation was an amazing way to learn the steps and barriers of starting a new business,” said Mary Pat. “It allowed us to gain real-world experience in seeing how a small business could expand into the U.S. market.”

USD SIBC students at the Sisois olive groves

Following the presentation, the students took a tour of the Sisois olive groves with a view that overlooks the majestic coastline of Crete. They learned the process of olive tree harvesting and tasted the olive oil that was produced from the grove’s harvest. “If we weren’t already full from the olive oil tasting, we were given more fruit and pastries at the grove. If there is one thing I learned on this trip, it is that Greek hospitality is unlike anything I have experienced” reminisced Mary Pat.

Cypriot Adventures in Digital Marketing

Almost directly east of Crete lies Cyprus, another one of the Mediterranean’s scenic isles. SIBC members, Marie Lawson (International Business and Marketing ‘19) and executive board member Julia Freund (International Business and Ethnic Studies ‘20), had the opportunity to intern in the digital marketing department at Famous Sports, the largest chain of sports retail in Cyprus, representing brands such as Reebok, Roxy, Quiksilver and Speedo, to name a few. Cyprus is an independent country that seems to fly under the radar when it comes to international business opportunities. However, it is becoming increasingly appealing to global companies. “Cyprus has become a very attractive location for international businesses to locate their headquarters due to various tax write-offs and its proximity to Europe and the Middle East,” says Marie.

Their time at Famous Sports not only gave them an opportunity to be immersed in an international work environment and the Cypriot culture, but it also allowed them to practice digital marketing in the corporate world and on a global scale. “We were introduced to the company's website database and were involved in preparing the website for the winter season products,” says Marie. “Julia and I were in charge of adding product descriptions, doing research on possible product imaging, and diving into the backend of the website.”

Julia also enjoyed the more relaxed and personal work environment in Cyprus and was surprised to learn how the Cypriots deal with routine communication at work. “There was a lot of collaboration and communication by the employees and, unlike some companies in the U.S. There was no such thing as Slack or another type of office communication web platform,” says Julia. “There were two offices that were across the street from each other, but instead of just communicating over their computers, they would always walk back and forth from one office to the other.”

While Marie and Julia were busy at Famous Sports, SIBC executive board member Carolina Lemmen Meyer (International Business ‘19) and Caroline Murray (International Business ‘21) were working on internships at Socialway eServices, a digital marketing agency. They describe their time at the agency as being very hands-on, with many opportunities to apply their newly acquired skills.

“[At work] we got certified as Facebook business professionals. This entailed learning how to properly advertise to various demographics on Facebook and Instagram, as well as create various ad campaigns for clients”, says Carolina. “Our coworkers even allowed us to help in the creation of their campaigns and it was extremely helpful to actually apply the knowledge that we have gained in class.” Not only did they learn the ins and outs of digital marketing, they also attended a launch event for Astro Bank Cyprus, where they observed the various elements of media marketing efforts that come together to successfully promote a large event. Astro Bank Cyprus played a large role in helping rebuild Cyprus’s economy after their 2012-2013 financial crisis; even the president of Cyprus attended the event to thank the bank for its contributions.

Learning Business as a Force for Good

Thanks to businessman and philanthropist Frank Potenziani, who generously endowed the SIBC chapter at the University of San Diego School of Business with several monetary gifts since 2002, the SIBC is a thriving asset of the international business major here at USD. Its aim to develop individuals who will play a fundamental role in peace around the world through business aligns with USD School of Business’s purpose of educating socially responsible and internationally competitive leaders to positively transform lives and communities, sustainably create value for business and society, and confront the world's most urgent problems and opportunities. From Cyprus to Crete, this summer has been an amazing example of the unique experiences that the SIBC facilitates in order to expand students’ business acumen while offering an immersive, international experience into different cultures.


Renata Ramirez
(619) 260-4658