North Central graduate students learn about international businesses in Costa Rica

Jan 24, 2014

Julianna Stevenson of Oswego is one of 12 North Central College graduate students who learned about coffee businesses, imports and exports, and other trades during a weeklong study experience in Costa Rica.

The group visited two different coffee operations during the field experience Dec. 7-15. Stevenson, who is pursuing a master’s of international business administration (MIBA) degree, recounts how the group learned about the different business challenges faced by a smaller operation like Doka Estates versus a larger business like Cafe Britt.

“In both instances we toured the operations and learned everything from how the coffee is grown from a seed to how it is distributed across the globe to different buyers,” Stevenson says. “It was amazing to see almost every aspect of the operations. Both companies were very transparent with information and it was beneficial to see both a small business and a large business in the same industry.”

The group learned about international trade while touring Procomer, a foreign trade corporation that handles goods imported to Costa Rica and products exported from the country.

“We learned about the company and how it tracks all of the exports and imports into the country,” Stevenson says. “They told us about their main exports and how they keep track of all the information. It was fascinating to learn about the variety of goods and services they handle and where they go throughout the world.”

The MIBA students learned about international manufacturing from staff at Phelps Dodge, which produces copper wires and cables.

“They showed us every single test the wires go through to stay in accordance with international standards,” Stevenson says. “It was just amazing to see the product from start to finish and then how they work to comply with all the standards so they can export their product to different countries.”

During their field experience the group also visited national parks, hiked up and down volcanoes, bathed in hot springs and went zip lining together.

“Not only did I have a wonderful study abroad experience, but I made a lot of good friends, too, who I know will be around for a long time,” Stevenson says.

Stevenson says she transferred from another school to enroll in North Central’s MIBA program as soon as she heard the College was one of the first Chicago-area schools to offer an MIBA degree. She previously studied abroad in Europe while an undergraduate at Eastern Illinois University.

“I want to not only have a career in business but be able to interact and travel to different places around the world and learn more about how people live and work,” she says. “I have learned so much about international business this past year and a half and now, after studying in Costa Rica and visiting all of the businesses, I feel like I have a much better understanding of what international business is.”

Candidates in North Central College’s master’s degree programs in business administration and international business administration have opportunities to work closely with professors in small classes, network with alumni and others who are leaders in business and develop connections to help advance their careers.

North Central College is one of the only colleges or universities in the Chicago area to offer a graduate degree in international business administration. The MIBA program includes a study abroad requirement and is among graduate programs in seven areas offered at North Central College.