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Travel-Study Students Present Findings

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The 24 Ross School of Business students who traveled to India, China, Rwanda, and Honduras as part of the course on health care delivery in emerging markets will present their findings at 5:30 p.m. on April 21 in Room R0320 at the Ross School. The event is free and open to the public.

Travel-Study Students Present Findings

Travel-Study Students In Rwanda


Faculty members from the Ross School, Medical School, School of Public Health, and the College of Engineering have been invited to the event, as have students from the Ross School.

Ross faculty who might be interested teaching the class next year or in 2013 is encouraged to attend to learn more about the structure and flexibility of the course, and the resources and support available. The Ross Dean's Office and WDI provide financial assistance for the travel-study course.

A formal call for proposals will be sent to Ross faculty in the next few weeks. Any Ross faculty member is eligible to propose a course, and proposals will be reviewed by a committee.

“The course has generated a high level of interest among students and their feedback has been very positive every year,” said WDI Director Robert Kennedy.

This year, BA 685 International Business Immersion - “Provision of Healthcare in Emerging Markets” - explored some of the issues involved in healthcare delivery in emerging markets. It was taught by Paul Clyde, the Andy Andrews Distinguished Adjunct Professor of Business Economics and Public Policy at Ross.

The course, open to MBA2 and Evening MBA students, began with an overview of the issues in healthcare delivery, a number of case studies, and guest speakers from Johnson & Johnson and the UM Medical School and College of Engineering.  Five different projects at healthcare institutions in China, Rwanda, Honduras, and India were explored in depth. In late February and early March, the student teams visited and interviewed leaders and staff at each institution. 

The five student projects were:

• A team of students worked with Ruli District Hospital in Rwanda on improving the efficiency of the interaction between the hospital and the clinics that refer patients. This project follows on work done as part of a WDI internship last summer. There will also be a WDI intern working with this hospital this coming summer.

• A team of students worked with a mission hospital in Honduras on their cost structure.  Specifically, the team generated specific costs for each unit and identified potential improvements in the operations.

• This student team worked on a start-up clinical support project for diabetes in Hyderabad, India.  Building on some work done by a major health care company, the team identified services such as counseling, data, reminders, etc. aimed at changing the behavior of diabetic patients.  The project supported the work done by clinicians in the area.

• A team of students worked with Agewell, a new rehabilitation facility in India, designed to support hospitals that have provided clinical services to patients of stroke, orthopedic surgery, etc. who no longer need the complete care provided by a hospital but do need care that cannot be provided at home.  Agewell is founded by Dr. Aravind, a Ross School alumnus and a member of the leadership team at Aravind Eye Hospitals.

• A team of students reviewed the operations of a government hospital in Kunming, China, including gaining an understanding of the relationship between clinical training and clinical services.  The final project included a comparison of the operations at the hospital in Kunming, China to similar operations in the U.S. such as UM Hospital.

The course is designed to enhance participants’ global leadership capabilities, increase awareness of diverse business issues on the current international landscape, and provide on-the-ground experience in a foreign country. The course responds to the increasing need for managers to have an international business perspective that enhances their business and management knowledge.

This is the third consecutive year the Ross Dean's Office and WDI has jointly supported the Ross travel-study course. In 2009, students learned about Turkey and travelled to that country as part of the course, “Bridging in a Globalizing World: Turkey and the European Union.” Last winter, Ross students travelled to Moscow and St. Petersburg as part of the course “Marketing in Russia.”

Shannon Saksewski, an Evening MBA student, says her trip to Hyderabad, India to work on the diabetes project was a great opportunity to potentially make a difference in people’s lives. It also challenged her.

“No amount of reading and discussion can truly prepare someone to understand and enter an unfamiliar business market,” she says. “Speaking with stakeholders, observing processes and participating in the environment are essential components to learning. Thankfully, our hosts were extraordinarily gracious and willing to share their knowledge.” 

Ukrit Archapairoj, who traveled to Hospital Evangelico in Honduras, said working in the country was “much more enjoyable than researching on the Internet or from library.”

“We can understand the business much deeper by interacting with people and observing the business issue by our eyes,” he said. “Moreover, the amazing thing is that we stayed in the the house of Nahim, the hospital managing director, which allowed us to see how enthusiastic he is and how often he was in touch with the hospital staff.”

Chris Chojnacki, who traveled to Rwanda to work at Ruli Hospital, said it was a great experience.

“The hospital was really happy to have us, and even asked for more students to come from the business school, school of public health, and the medical school if possible,” he said. “Everyone we met was extremely friendly and grateful.”

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