Honors Students Travel
During spring break, Saunders College Honors Students travel to select cities to learn about careers and engage with alumni. Check out a summary of places we have been below, or view the Saunders Global Blog to hear more about these trips directly from the students.
Spring 2018 Trip to Dallas
Honors Program students from Saunders College of Business traveled in March 2018 to Dallas where they visited businesses and organizations, as well as met RIT alumni. Among the companies visited were ACTIVE Network, the Dallas Mavericks, Dialexa, JCPenney, Microsoft, the Pickle Juice Company, Robin Autopilot, Southwest Airlines, Texas Instruments and Toyota.
The accompanying photo shows RIT alumnus Filip Keuppens, VP, Sales & Marketing of the Pickle Juice Company, at the far left.
Spring 2017 Trip to Seattle
During spring break, Honors students in Saunders College of Business visited Seattle to tour various companies. The trip included visits to companies large and small, non-profit organizations, an alumni networking event, and exploring Seattle.
Students met with employees from Microsoft, Marchex, Liberty Mutual Insurance and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. They received important insights regarding daily responsibilities and business operations.
Throughout the week, students participated in multiple events. They met with large employee panels at T-Mobile and Amazon, met with employees at Nordstrom, toured a factory floor at Boeing (in the world’s largest building), and visited multiple non-profit clients of 501 Commons.
Spring 2016 Trip to Chicago
Saunders College of Business Honors Program students traveled in March 2016 to Chicago where they met up with Honors Program students from RIT’s College of Science and RIT’s College of Health Sciences and Technology.
The business students visited with Saunders College alumni Mark Czaperacker at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and David Little III at Sears Holding Corporation, as well as other RIT alumni at a Nathaniel Rochester Society event hosted at the Metropolitan Club in the Willis Tower by RIT alumnus Christopher Caruso of Nielsen Catalina Solutions.
The students also met many other business professionals who hosted visits at CME Group, Constellation Brands, the Field Museum of Natural History, J.P. Morgan, Nielsen Consumer Neuroscience, Nielsen Professional Services, and Signal.
Spring 2015 Trip to New York City
Once again, RIT Honors Program students from the Saunders College of Business had the opportunity to take a business trip during the spring semester break. As in recent years, this year's excursion involved visits with RIT alumni and other businesspeople at a variety of public and private companies.
Nine Honors students from the college visited 11 companies and participated in two networking events with alumni during the trip. Among the companies visited were Bloomberg, Christie's auction house, Ernst & Young, ESPN, Google, MEC Global, creative agency MRY, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Yummie by Heather Thomson.
The students met more than 20 alumni from multiple RIT colleges and learned about many co-op and full-time job opportunities.
Spring 2014 Trip to Silicon Valley
Over spring break, 14 Honors students from the Saunders College of Business had the opportunity to travel to Silicon Valley to visit ten companies, including caring.com, Cisco, Facebook, Google, IDEO, Intuit, MobiTV and PayNearMe.
Shortly after our arrival in San Francisco, we were already enjoying a fresh seafood dinner at an authentic Chinese restaurant with Professor Emeritus Eugene Fram, a retired professor who spent 50 years teaching at RIT. We had the pleasure of getting an insider’s perspective on the economy of San Francisco, and more specifically, Silicon Valley.
Professor Fram revealed shocking statistics about the large population that is living below the poverty line, and contrasted that portion of the Bay Area with the wealthy venture capitalists who invest millions annually into start-ups. After we understood the framework of Silicon Valley, we were able to more fully understand and enjoy the company visits that would come later in the week.
On Tuesday, March 25, we visited an RIT alumnus, Jake Maynard, who majored in New Media Marketing at the Saunders College of Business and is currently excelling at Intuit. As an interaction designer, Jake focuses on turning great ideas into even better products. He gave us a tour of the Mountain View campus, and coordinated several presentations from his coworkers in various departments. We even got to sit at the kitchen table where founder Scott Cook conceived the idea for Quicken, Intuit’s personal finance software. Jake explained to us that while Intuit employees do work very hard, there are also specific rooms available where they can meditate, listen to music, and recharge.
Later that same day, we had dinner at Cafè Del Sol with Victor Silva, a Saunders student who graduated back in 2003 with a degree in Management Information Systems. He is currently working for Echo Nest, a music intelligence platform, which was just acquired by Spotify in early March 2014. Silva described the start-up as a room full of several passionate people with computers.
At the end of the trip, the words Silicon Valley took on a whole new meaning for us. From the intimate conversations we had about the Valley over dinner with alumni, to the grandiose tours of Facebook and Google, we left no stone unturned.
Spring 2013 Trip to Atlanta
From the end of February to the beginning of March 2013, ten honors students from the Saunders College of Business visited Atlanta to experience first-hand how businesses operate and to learn about different fields in some prominent Atlanta businesses. The students also visited different Atlanta “must-see” venues to learn more about the culture of the area.
On Monday, students visited the headquarters of Chick-fil-A. They met with Tom Morder, Director of Customer Insights, to discuss marketing efforts towards Chick-fil-A’s large and diverse customer base. On Tuesday, students visited Coca-Cola. They had a tour with Roshawn Redwine, Executive Administrative Assistant, and had a discussion with John Reid, VP of Corporate Social Responsibility at Coca-Cola, outlining how the company came to be and different sustainability initiatives the company currently has.
On Wednesday, the visit was to Kimberly-Clark. Students enjoyed a presentation on finance from Brian Smith, followed by a tour of the site by Christine Kotula, a Development & Commercialization Senior Research Scientist. They also had the opportunity to speak with Robert Stargel, Vice President of Global Nonwovens. Later that day, students visited the Martin Luther King Jr National Historic Site.
Students visited the largest aquarium in the world, the Georgia Aquarium, on Thursday. They received a behind-the-scenes tour before opening hours by the Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Carey Rountree. After a thorough and interesting tour, the students had the opportunity to sit down with Mr. Rountree and learn more about the business side of the aquarium regarding finances and marketing specifically.
Students then visited world news leader CNN. They received an executive tour of the company that ranged from backroom operations regarding how the news is filtered and decided on, to the front room operations and how and where the news is filmed. The students saw a live newscast. After the tour, they met with Brad Ferrer, the Executive Vice President of Finance and Administration at CNN Worldwide.
On Friday, the students attended an American Marketing Association conference with other colleges from the area. The day was filled with different breakout sessions regarding a variety of topics from negotiating salaries to search engine optimization. After the conference, the students attended a hibachi dinner with the chaperones and the point man who set up most of the company visits, Dr. Kenneth Bernhardt. The students were grateful for all that Dr. Bernhardt did throughout the trip and expressed their appreciation at the dinner. Early Saturday morning the students flew back to Rochester.
Spring 2012 Trip to Dubai
Passport to Dubai: RIT Honors Students Navigate the Middle East. Spring break in the United Arab Emirates mixes business and cultural opportunities.
Dubai has burst on the global scene in the past three decades as a bustling metropolis in the Persian Gulf.
And first impressions count: “The people are very polite and hospitable to their guests.” “The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, the eighth largest mosque in the world, is nothing short of magnificent.” “Dubai is a marketer’s dream: There is advertising everywhere.”
It was a mixture of business and pleasure as 14 honors students from the E. Philip Saunders College of Business at Rochester Institute of Technology went to Dubai during spring break. And daily reports by Geoffrey Blosat, a second-year student majoring in international business, and Kristen Erickson, a senior in new media marketing, were featured the week of March 5 in an online blog at Rochester’s DemocratandChronicle.com.
Blosat, a native of Buffalo, says the experience, especially touring the trading floor of the Dubai Financial Market, was enlightening. “Their market is young and growing and it makes progress by the day,” he says. “We also saw that the RIT Dubai campus is a great option for Rochester students to get an international education. I would love to study there.”
Tom Traub, international adjunct professor in the Saunders College, says it was a great experience to accompany the students as a chaperone during this educational and cultural trip to the United Arab Emirates. “The business presentations and tours of the companies were priceless! In addition, the cultural excursions and talks by the guides were so interesting and filled with facts, the students had sensory overload at times.”
Graham Forsey, a Saunders College accounting major who receives access services from RIT’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf, was accompanied by two RIT sign-language interpreters who traveled with him from Rochester. Dubai, he says, is a long stretch from his home in Newfoundland, Canada.
“It is sunny all the time; there’s no need to check the weather every morning when deciding what to wear,” Forsey says. “I am also very impressed with how Dubai managed itself to be a huge city in so short a period of time. I loved how we visited a wide range of companies, public utilities like Dubai Aluminum and Dubai Energy and Water Authority, to services like KPMG, to tangible products like Hircon, an apartment corporation, to meeting people like Dr. Mohammed Nurul Alam, an expert on Islamic finance.”
From a female perspective, Erickson said she learned a great deal from Josephine Ford, managing director of business development for General Electric’s global growth and operations team. “She provided insights on women in business and helped us understand that attitudes toward women in the Middle East are changing,” said Erickson in her blog. “While women in business here is not as common as in the U.S., it’s becoming more accepted and expected.”
But it was all business for Erickson when she spent an afternoon shopping at Dubai’s famous “Souks,” the outdoor street markets where local merchants sell their wares. “I found some beautiful Middle Eastern scarves and came home with too many of them,” she laughs, “but I did learn how to barter to get the best price.”
Spring 2011 Trip to California
For their spring break, a group of Saunders College of Business Honors students traveled to Southern California to visit companies and network with alumni. Eleven students and two staff members flew across the country for a week to experience a completely different culture from snowy Rochester. The trip covered a broad array of industries and opportunities for business professionals. The Honors students talked with alumni and business professionals in businesses ranging from software companies to television studios.
Monday afternoon, the group met with Phil Ohme ’99 at Intuit to discuss the opportunities for business majors in the software industry. The tour of the company started with sitting in on a meeting with all the product managers in the various corporate locations via video conference. Students helped to keep the meeting lively and added to a pre-brainstorming session. The group later talked with two product managers and the VP of Software Development. Topics such as design thinking, entrepreneurship, and market research drove the discussions and gave the group from RIT a glimpse of what it was like to work at Intuit.
The Honors students hosted an alumni event at Dillon’s Irish Pub in Los Angeles Tuesday night. Jen Smith, ’06 helped to organize the event and publicize it. Former students who attended the event included: Jesse Arnold, PJ Gaynard, Jim McPartlin, Curtis Sherman, Debra (Segar) Sherman, Mike Timm, and Brian Veronica. The students enjoyed the opportunity to speak with industry professionals that came from RIT and are using their education in their lives. The event even served as a reunion since some of the alumni had not seen each other in 20 years.
The week was not all business meetings and alumni visits. One morning, the group of Saunders students met up with fellow Honors students from the Kate Gleason College of Engineering to attend a taping of the Price is Right. The group also had an opportunity to visit the San Diego Zoo and tour Old Town while in San Diego. Some students even attended an LA Clippers game one evening.
Following the visit to the Price is Right, the students visited Harold Gutierrez ’99 at Red Bull North America. Harold is the outgoing finance manager for North America and will be starting his new position as regional finance director for Red Bull in May. Harold talked about how important it is to get your work done in school and how it will reward you in the future. With an unlimited supply of Red Bulls, the Honors students were eager to learn about working for a large, international company that focuses its efforts on creating a culture around high intensity, full-throttle sports.
The final day of the trip was filled with visits and culminated with a tour of the W Hotel Hollywood by Jim McPartlin ’88. Being the week after the Oscars, Hollywood was buzzing with excitement, and that meant a busy week for Jim. After providing accommodations to multiple celebrities at his hotel and bringing his staff to the opening night of Avenue Q, Jim was gracious enough to give the group an all-access tour of one of the nicest hotels in Hollywood. From rooftop pools to multi-million dollar condos, the W Hollywood encompasses the fame and fortune of Hollywood. The students enjoyed discussing with Jim what it was like to interact with celebrities and manage such a popular hotel. It was sad to see the week come to a close, but the visit to the W Hollywood definitely concluded with a bang.
Over the course of the trip, students also met with a panel of business professionals at Hewlett-Packard; Bob Carroll ’08, software engineer at DefenseWeb Technologies; several product managers at Yahoo!; Patrick Garney of Nickelodeon Studios; and business managers at KABC-TV Los Angeles. Eric Senna ’91 was an active contributor to the activities in the Los Angeles area, and helped to put together the visit to KABC-TV.The challenge for next year will be to top this action-packed week.