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.