The Telfer MBA program strongly values the international dimension of our program experience. Each year, we sponsor an elective course to Europe to explore high-performance in a European context [This link is no longer available]. The goal is to highlight the dynamics of doing business in an international business arena and to explore the complications of culture and politico-social elements that underlie effective business practice. Last year several of our non-Canadian international students suggested that coming to Canada was their version of an international experience. They asked: "Why don't we set up an ‘in-Canada international trip’ to help them explore business sectors in which Canada has strengths?" The same focus – high-performance organizations – could underlie the trip but the focus would be on examining the differences between doing business in their home countries and the Canadian context.
This year we brought this course alive. We have set up visits with exceptional companies in the "golden triangle" (Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal) that represent noteworthy Canadian business sectors. These include the entrepreneurial high-tech sector (Wesley Clover), retail (Costco), banking (TD Financial and National Bank), not-for-profit (Me to We), aerospace (Aero-Montreal and Bombardier), and international engineering products and services (Future Electronics). As we conducted the structured site visits, students were challenged to blog about their experiences. The following notes represent summaries of their experiences – what caught their attention and what learnings they walked away with.