By Erin Roberts and Krista Bradley
Students and faculty from Ohio University's Global Leadership Center and Mexico's Universidad de Guadalajara travel to Marriott International headquarters in Washington, D.C., today to present research on the company's expansion into Mexico and enhancement of its service mission.
Part of the GLC's spring-quarter consulting services, the project is the latest in a series of collaborative research projects involving students from the GLC and the Universidad de Guadalajara since 2002.
"Working with GLC students has been an enriching experience," said June Farrell, vice president of international public relations for Marriott International and a 1962 journalism graduate of Ohio University. "We've asked them to explore various questions and opportunities we're thinking about and to come back to us with recommendations. The energy, enthusiasm and creativity they've put against the challenges we've asked them to address has been inspiring,"
Students from both schools conducted the consulting project through on-site visits to Marriott properties, online database research, peer competitor examinations and conversations with a Marriott property manager in Guadalajara. The students from the Universidad de Guadalajara -- Rafael Alejandra Sanchez, Horacio Ruvalcaba Gomez and Monserrat Velasco Santos -- traveled to Ohio University's Athens campus this week to meet with GLC students on final preparations.
"My team has created a voluntourism-focused campaign," said Emily Mitolo, a European studies major planning to graduate from Ohio University in fall. "It has been very cool to see where some of the information from other classes applies to projects. For example, business and finance majors in the GLC program have been able to use their analysis skills for business investigations."
Faculty guiding the project include the GLC's "Pang" Pichayalak Pichayakul from Chiang Mai University (College of Business) in Thailand and Professor Paola Adriana Solórzano Gutiérrez from the Universidad de Guadalajara. GLC Leader-in-Residence Mark Biviano, senior vice president of Rubber City Radio Group in Akron, has reviewed the students' progress and refined their research by asking questions and posing "What if?" scenarios via teleconferences and campus visits.
"My role is to guide the students through the critical thinking path," said Biviano, BSC '75. "I'm honored to have the Leader-in-Residence opportunity. I certainly hope I have been a help through advising and directing the students."
All three, along with GLC Director Greg Emery, join the students for the presentations today in Washington.
The Global Leadership Center strives to develop internationally minded, locally engaged leaders in all professions. It offers a two-year undergraduate through a curricular and co-curricular program that enhances other disciplines.
Earlier this month, the GLC co-sponsored the "NAFTA: North American Free Trade Agreement; Selling to Canada and Mexico" conference with the United States Commercial Service and the Ohio Department of Development at Ohio University. Students and faculty working on the Marriott consulting project attended the conference.