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Mark Lavoie ’18 with classmates in Colombia

Getting a Global Perspective on Student-Led International Trips

During their time at Yale SOM, students have multiple opportunities to get a global perspective. The International Experience course, Global Network Week, and exchange programs offer opportunities to study business environments around the world. In addition to these formal programs, many students expand their global experiences by joining a classmate on a visit to his or her home country. MBA students reflect on these unique experiences.

Dmitry Aksakov ’17

“I liked the idea of taking a group of students to another country, introducing them to a country’s business capitals and historic landmarks. I came up with the idea of doing a similar trip to Russia, my homeland. I received tremendous support from faculty and advice on how to organize the trip. I also reached out to some SOM alumni who gave me very good tips. I thought that the trip would be about 15 people, but to my surprise, we had tremendous interest and almost 60 people ended up going. I loved introducing my classmates to my homeland, telling them more about our culture and what our business environment is like. In St. Petersburg, we went to the Hermitage, the Fabergé Museum, the Catherine Palace, and many other famous sites. The Moscow leg of the trip was more centered on business. We met the governor of the Central Bank of Russia, the co-founder of one of Russia’s most prominent and powerful business consortia, and the founder of one of Europe’s most successful fin-tech companies. So many of my classmates told me that the trip completely changed their perception of Russia.”

—Dmitry Aksakov ’17

Mark Lavoie ’18

“Some of my second-year classmates who are from Colombia organized a trip back to their home country. They shot out a note to their Yale friends, saying, ‘Hey, we'd love to do an SOM Colombia trip.’ I hadn't been to Latin America before. Seeing some of my classmates—whether they were from Argentina or Brazil or Colombia or Mexico—in their region of the world, showing us all around, was a really cool thing. It drew us all a bit closer. Staying in hostels, traveling together, we gained a better understanding of each other. Opportunities like this in diverse places let you engage with people in new ways.”

—Mark Lavoie ’18

Eve Kordyback ’18

“Over spring break, I traveled to Lebanon with a group of 15 Yale students and partners to visit the home of our SOM classmate Hussein el Husseini. The vacation was unanimously described as the best of our lives—we learned about Lebanon’s rich history, as well as the context for the current geopolitical climate. We explored Beirut, visited vineyards and seaside towns, and indulged in traditional Lebanese music and cuisine. But the absolute highlight was visiting Hussein’s family hotel in Baalbek, about two hours outside of Beirut. The Palmyra, which was built in 1874, is steeped in history, thanks to its famous visitors (Charles de Gaulle and Ella Fitzgerald, to name a few) and the rooftop view of Heliopolis.

“After spending an evening playing backgammon at the hotel—which could easily be the set of a Wes Anderson film, replete with dazzling antiques and historical portraits—we visited the neighboring Roman ruins and picnicked in the Bekaa Valley, a beautiful region close to the Syrian border. This whole experience was made possible by the hospitality of our host and his willingness to share his home with us. We couldn’t be more grateful.”

—Eve Kordyback ’18