Students learned about Caseificio Bio Reggiani’s “zero km supply chain” during a tour of the organic parmesan cheese factory.

Dr. Galina Boiarintseva, assistant professor of management at Niagara University in Ontario, believes that an international viewpoint is critical for learning. That’s why she facilitates an opportunity each year for her students to travel abroad, where they can see how the theories, concepts, and practical exercises they learn in class are applied outside of the North American market.

In May, eight students in the university’s MBA program accompanied Dr. Boiarintseva for a two-week trip to Italy that included visits to Tuscany, Modena, Bologna, and Rome.

The first leg of their journey was in Tuscany, where they stayed in a 15th century villa and visited Fattoria Al Dotto in Lucca, a small, family-run winery that has been in business for five generations.

“The winery tour was great as we learned how family businesses have run successfully for generations, a concept that is quite rare in North America,” said student Sayantan Sarkar. “For the Italians, it's not all about the money; they have strong ties to their families, and they prioritize their well-being and that of their families over financial gains. These are the values they bring to their businesses and thus they have so many successful family-owned businesses.”

The group also went to Florence, where they toured the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum, a fashion museum dedicated to the life and work of the Italian shoe designer, to learn about company’s approach to invocation and sustainability.

In Modena and Bologna, the group toured Caseificio Bio Reggiani, an organic parmesan cheese factory that sells its products directly to consumers, to learn more about its “zero km supply chain,” and explored the luxury automotive industry with tours of the Ferrari and Ducati factories.

The group concluded its trip in Rome, where a historian led them on guided tours of the historical sites of the city. On their last night, they enjoyed a meal of classic Italian dishes that they prepared themselves during a cooking class.

“One of the strategic pillars of the Holzschuh College of Business Administration is creating global citizens,” Dr. Boiarintseva said. “This particular trip was designed to showcase the rich family business history of Italy and demonstrate how the theories and concepts learned in our program can explain the success of these businesses, from small family-owned operations to world-renowned enterprises. By experiencing firsthand the intricacies of businesses in geographically and culturally diverse environments like Italy, the students gain insights into the global landscape of entrepreneurship and management. This exposure not only enhances their understanding of business dynamics, but also fosters their development as global citizens.”