The city of London became the classroom for ten students this summer as they forged connections with British firms and businesses during a five-week course taught by Barbara Cartledge, senior assistant dean of academic programs for Brock School of Business.
Cartledge developed the course, Strategic Decision-making in U.K. Organizations, to be a unique opportunity for students to explore topics like effective leadership, marketing and communication, project and operations management, and mergers and acquisitions in an international context. She hoped that through exposure to a variety of business types in London, students would recognize distinctions between practices in the U.S. and the U.K.
As she prepared for the course, Cartledge paid close attention to the spiritual development students might experience on the trip. She chose Colossians 3:12-14 as a guiding verse and prayed that students would grow in humility and compassion through the class. “The Lord truly honored this verse within the construct and interaction of the class, and I would love to give God the glory,” she said.
Students spoke with professionals from leading institutions in the city like Miller Insurance, Lloyd’s of London and Natixis Bank. Also on the agenda were meetings at Lord’s Cricket Ground to learn about British sports marketing, with the architect who oversaw Daniel House renovations to understand construction challenges in London and at an entrepreneurial endeavor for student apartment rentals.
Students also met with executives from Luminary Bakery, a social enterprise in East London that offers skills training, paid employment and a supportive community for women experiencing homelessness, poverty, violence and criminal activity. Samford has a long-standing connection with the enterprise, with many students placed there for internships during the Samford in London semester abroad program, and Brock School of Business alumna Liz Simmons ’06 who served as director of Luminary until 2017.
Cartledge noted that these types of sustained partnerships for the university in an international setting are assets that will continue to benefit students for a long time.
“Our students were able to sit around a table with executives and engage personally with professionals in a wide variety of areas,” said Cartledge. “They made connections that can springboard them individually into international business in the future. That kind of opportunity will only continue to grow through future trips.”
As junior economics and finance major Cassidy Goble looks forward to her future, Cartledge’s course has made her confident she could excel in an international business context.
“It’s my goal to live and work in London. This trip showed me that it might be initially uncomfortable to adjust to a different culture of doing business, but ultimately I can feel at home and respect the differences between us.” w
Students in the Strategic Decision-making in U.K. Organizations course met with leading organizations across London.