University of Washington

Canada Study Tour

The Canada-US trade relationship is the largest in the world and therefore it is critical that UW MBA students have an understanding of the market structures and overall political and trade relations between the two countries. The Center works in collaboration with UW's Global Business Center in the Michael G Foster School of Business to offer an annual Canada Study Tour to Vancouver, British Columbia over President's Day Weekend. In addition, the Center supports student applications to the annual Canadian Leadership Institute in Ottawa, Canada for an intensive week of training on the Canada-US trade relationship.

Ottawa Leadership Orientation Program


2010 Canada Study Tour
Chair: Chris Bajuk
Fifth Annual Canada Study Tour

2009 Canada Study Tour
Chairs: Kelly Voss and MeharPratap Singh
2009 Canada Study Tour

2008 Canada Study Tour
Chairs: Tania Elliott and Tim Randall
Faculty Reps: Dr. Sukumar Periwal, Nadine Fabbi
2007 Canada Study Tour
Chairs: Saara Romu and Vanessa Brewster
Faculty Reps: Dr. Sukumar Periwal, Nadine Fabbi
Article from the Association for Canadian Studies in the US newsletter

Foster School of Business 5th Annual Canada Study Tour

Chris Bajuk

The Global Business Center in the Business School and the Canadian Studies Center collaborated to create a new program introduced in 2007, the Canada Global Business Study Tour. Despite the fact that the trade and investment relationships between the United States and Canada are among the largest in the world, the University of Washington MBA curriculum does not formally include Canada. The program supplements the MBA curriculum by introducing students to Canadian business practices. Through firsthand interactions with company executives, students have gained exposure to policy differences, macro economics, trade relationships, urban planning procedures, and the intricate planning for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Vancouver’s proximity to Seattle has allowed students facing time or budget challenges to participate in an international learning experience while highlighting the importance of the Canada-U.S. relationship.

During the 2011 Vancouver Canada Study Tour participants met with executives from TD Canada Trust, Canada Export Centre, Vancouver Convention Centre, Electronic Arts Inc, and Powerex. Participants also visited the U.S. Consulate at Vancouver to meet with the Consul General. All visits incorporated an in depth question and answer session aimed at exploring and understanding Canadian leadership style, bilateral trade differences and relations, and business competitiveness in a global economy.

The 5th Annual Canada Study Tour was led by MBA student, Chris Bajuk. The group was accompanied by Foster faculty member, Lillian Cheng, who has extensive international business teaching experience at both the MBA and undergraduate level both here and abroad. Dr. Cheng was able to broaden her own knowledge on cross-border business issues and facilitated academic discussions with the student group.

By participating in the 2011 Canada Study Tour, Foster MBA students were exposed to a diverse range of service sector companies giving them the opportunity to learn about trade and economic development – both top priorities in North American business communities. As leadership is a strong component of the Foster MBA, participants were able to compare their own leadership styles to those at successful Canadian companies they visited. Moreover, participants learned more about employment in Canada and opportunities for doing business regionally.

The 5th Annual Canada Study Tour was funded by a Government of Canada Student Mobility Program Grant. The Canada Study Tour is part of a new partnership between the Canadian Studies and Global Business Center – North American Economic Partnerships – to increase Canadian content in business courses and programming.

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2010 Canada Study Tour

by Chris Bajuk

UW MBA students on the annual Canada Study Tour to Vancouver. The group poses on the ice at General Motors place in Vancouver. Greg Shelton, Global Trade, Transportation and Logistics Studies (far left), served as this year’s faculty representative for the Tour.

Chris Bajuk is a Master of Business Administration and Master of Science in Real Estate concurrent-degree student in his first year of studies at the UW. He attended the 2010 Canada Study Tour to Vancouver, British Columbia and will lead the Tour in 2011. Chris was just selected to be the delegate from the Foster School of Business to the Canadian Leadership Orientation Program in Ottawa this June.

The Canada Study Tour is an annual opportunity for UW graduate students to learn about Canadian businesses and government organizations, network with business leaders and fellow graduate students from Canada, and explore the city to which they travel. The tour is organized through the cooperation of the Foster School of Business Global Business Center and the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies Canadian Studies Center.

Over the long Martin Luther King Day weekend in January 2010, twenty MBA students visited Seattle’s beautiful northern neighbor – Vancouver, British Columbia. In many regards, Seattle and Vancouver share more in common with each other than they do with the rest of their respective countries. They are similar in population size and demographics; both exhibit a diverse array of businesses, cultural learning opportunities, and outdoor adventures; and they boast unparalleled natural beauty with snowcapped mountains falling to water channels carved by the same ancient glacier.

Vancouver was in the midst of final preparations for the Olympics, but we still managed to visit approximately ten organizations, making for an informative few days. The U.S. Consul General, Phillip Chicola, with a zest for all things international, was our first visit. He spoke at length about how important the U.S.-Canada trade relationship is to both countries, given we are each other’s largest trading partner. Saturday morning, we enjoyed breakfast atop a skyscraper with superb early morning views of the city, water, and mountains, hosted by the Regional Senior Vice President of Toronto Dominion Canada Trust, one of Canada’s largest banks. He offered his wisdom on being an effective leader and establishing a corporate climate that allows employees to flourish. That evening, the group compared notes with University of British Columbia Sauder School of Business MBA students while watching a Canucks game at the Shark Club Sports Bar.

The 2010 Canada Study Tour was enjoyed by all and achieved its mission of increasing students’ knowledge of Canadian businesses and how important the Canada-U.S. relationship is to the prosperity of both countries. Next year, the goal is to expand the scope of the Canada Study Tour from four days to two weeks in order that participants may visit not only Vancouver but Toronto as well. Visiting both cities will allow students to expand their knowledge of Canadian business and government entities, meet a greater diversity of people, and become more knowledgeable about Canada as a whole.

This project was supported, in part, by funding from the Center’s Program Enhancement Grant, Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Government of Canada. In Winter Quarter, Jennifer Adrien in GBC was awarded a Mobility Grant from the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Government of Canada to take the program to Toronto in 2011.

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2009 Canada Study Tour

by Kelly Voss and Mehar Pratap-Singh

2009 Canada Study Tour Participants (from top left) - Ryo Yamauchi, Anthony Choi, Jamie Nacht, Lindsey Sheets, David Kim, Randy Brians, Karen Wisont, Mehar Pratap Singh, Kevin Kirkpatrick, Matt Mellinger, Dharmik Mehta, Deep Paknikar, Chris Wilson, Stacy Young, Ann Huang, Lam Ma, Jun Wang, Jessica Didon, Ed Gali, George Wei, and Kelly Voss.

Kelly Voss is a Master in Business Administration and International Studies concurrent-degree graduate student in her second year of International Business studies. She was the co-leader of the annual 2009 Canada Study Tour graduate delegation to Vancouver. Mehar Pratap Singh is second year Master in Business Administration student and has a focus on International Business. He works full time at Microsoft in the XBOX division. He also serves on the board of Canada-America Society. He was the co-leader of the 2009 Canada Study Tour graduate delegation to Vancouver.

Every year a group of MBA students visit Vancouver businesses over the Presidents’ Day weekend during the annual Canada Study Tour sponsored by the Michael Foster School of Business and the Canadian Studies Center.

This year saw a record participation with 21 students taking part in the tour. Most students were from the Business School, with one from the Department of Engineering. The Canada Study Tour is open to all UW graduate students.

A main focus of the tour included discussions around NAFTA, Cross Border Trade, and Immigration Policy. The participants also got a chance to discuss various trade problems that exist between Canada and the US.

The kickoff of the tour was a pre-departure reception that was hosted by the Canadian Consulate in downtown Seattle. The student participants had an opportunity to meet with the staff of the Consulate and learn about the Consulate’s important function in the US-Canada relationship.

The group drove to Vancouver on the evening of February 12th to begin their four-day tour, and started their business visits next day with the US Consulate and the Vancouver Olympic Comittee 2010 Commerce Centre. In addition to visiting government entities the tour also gave an opportunity to experience the diversity of businesses in Vancouver. We visited the Canada Export Centre, a private trading house that helps Canadian businesses venture abroad and also helps foreign businesses find partners in Canada. We also visited a Canadian Law firm, Fraser Milner Casgrain, who introduced us to some of the legal aspects of doing business in Canada, the differences between American and Canadian laws and the impact of those differences on business.

On the weekend the study tour group got a rare game-day visit to the stadium of the Canucks Vancouver Ice Hockey team and met with executives of the company. Some other businesses visited by the group included financial institutes like the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and TD Bank Financial Group. We also visited technological companies like Microsoft Canada and Kodak Canada on our last day of the tour.

In an effort to build cross-border friendships, the study tour also included time with peers from the University of British Columbia Sauder School of Business and the Simon Fraser University Business School. We got an opportunity to exchange experiences with each other and to compare the relative strengths and weaknesses of each of the programs.

In addition to meeting businesses, the group also hosted a lunch with Dr. Sukumar Periwal, Executive Director of Strategic Policy and Planning at the Intergovernmental Relations Secretariat of British Columbia. Dr. Periwal, former Canada-US Visiting Fulbright Chair of the Canadian Studies Center in 2006-2007, offered the study tour students some insights on border crossing issues presently facing the British Columbia government.

The study tour also featured cultural activities like bike riding along the Stanley Park sea wall and visits to Granville Island. Participants also got a chance to experience Hockey Night in Canada by going to a local sports bar to watch the Vancouver Canucks play against the Montréal Canadiens.

Overall the 2009 Canada Study Tour was a great success, and opened the participants’ eyes to the importance of improving business relations with our closest neighbor and largest trading partner.

This project was supported, in part, by funding from a Canadian Studies Center Program Enhancement Grant, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada.

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2008 Canada Study Tour

by Tania Elliott and Tim Randall, Co-Leaders

Dr. Sukumar Periwal (left), Faculty Representative for the 2008 Canada Study Tour with MBA co-chairs, Tania Elliott and Tim Randall with beautiful downtown Vancouver in the background.

Tania Elliott is a second year, full-time MBA student who is also working towards a Masters of International Studies from the Jackson School. Last summer she had the opportunity to be one of twenty MBA students from the US to attend the Canadian Leadership Conference in Ottawa and Montréal, hosted by the University of Ottawa. She used the knowledge gained at that conference to help develop a stellar curriculum for this year's Tour. Tim Randall is a second year evening-MBA student at the Foster School, who works full-time as an engineer at The Boeing Company. He was born in Montréal, Québec, and is a tri-citizen of Canada, Britain, and the United States.

Over President's Day weekend, 12 MBA students from the UW Foster School of Business embarked on the second annual Canada Study Tour. These students took advantage of their long weekend by traveling from Seattle to neighboring Vancouver, British Columbia to learn about trade and sustainability around the region. The 2008 Canada Study Tour explored the rich economic, political and cultural environment of the city of Vancouver and the province of British Columbia. Students also discovered how Vancouver is gearing up for the 2010 Olympics and why it is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in North America.

While in Vancouver, the students met with the US Consulate, the Trade Commissioner of Mexico to the Pacific Northwest, and the Director of International Relations for the Government of British Columbia. They discussed the vast business opportunities of the upcoming Winter Olympics with staff of the 2010 Commerce Centre; the importance of networking with the director of the Vancouver Board of Trade; and the strategy behind urban planning and environmental management with the Deputy Mayor of Vancouver and with a local urban planner, Lance Berelowitz. The group learned about the Canadian health care system while visiting Vancouver General Hospital; met with the Chief Operating Officer of the Vancouver Canucks hockey team; and dined with the executive chef of the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts, among other visits. The students were also able to start relationships with MBA students and faculty from the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University.

The annual MBA Study Tour to Canada is a joint effort of the Global Business Center, Foster School of Business and the Canadian Studies Center. This program is made possible, in part, by a Title VI Grant, US Department of Education and a Program Enhancement Grant, Foreign Affairs Canada. Dr. Sukumar Periwal, 2006-07 Canada-US Fulbright Chair, was the Faculty Representative for the Tour.

14-18 February 2008 - MBA Canada Study Tour

Students from the 2008 Canada Study Tour pose in front of beautiful metropolitan Vancouver.

Dr. Sukumar Periwal (left), Faculty Representative for the 2008 Canada Study Tour with MBA co-chairs, Tania Elliott and Tim Randall with beautiful downtown Vancouver in the background.

Study Tour members in the Canucks store.

Study Tour members at the Pacific Culinary Institute.

Kelly Voss, 2009 Canada Study Tour Co-Chair, trying out Vancouver Canucks paraphernalia.

The 2008 Canada Study Tour MBA students.

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2007 Canada Study Tour

15-19 February 2007 - MBA Canada Study Tour

Study Tour co-chairs Vanessa Brewster (left) and Saara Romu with Vancouver city planner and author, Lance Berelowitz.

2007 Study Tour group walking in downtown Vancouver.

2007 Study Tour group is treated to lunch at the Granville Island Restaurant by the City of Vancouver.

The 2007 group at the Segal School of Business.

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Canadian Studies Center
University of Washington
Box 353650
Thomson Hall, Room 503
Seattle, WA 98195-3650
T (206) 221-6374
F (206) 685-0668