More than 40 students and alumni from the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University are visiting Mongolia this March, to help them understand the realities of doing business in a fledgling emerging market.
The Bachelor of Commerce students will travel to the deprived districts of Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia's capital, as part of the 'Hot Cities' tour, a revolutionary initiative led by students which aims to bring them out of the classroom and into emerging commercial markets.
By sharing their experience through social media and blogs at http://payitforward.mcgill.ca<, they aim to raise $20,000 for the Veloo Foundation, a charity that provides safety and education for children affected by urban poverty. Students will also have the opportunity to visit local companies and meet business leaders at the centre of one of the world's fastest growing economies.
New for this year is a consulting component. Students will work with Julie Veloo, the founder of the Veloo Foundation, to develop a permanent and workable marketing solution to enhance the visibility of the charity.
Mia Bernhardt, a student organiser for the trip, said:
"As the tour is designed for management students, they'll see what macro influences encourage people to do business the way they do in an economy like Mongolia's which has seen vast change in the past decade. It's a chance to see first-hand how businesses work with the cultural component while giving back and engaging with a charity on a sustainable, long-term level."
Professor Karl Moore, who runs the course at Desautels, says:
"Too often people of my generation flew business class, lectured emerging economies about the theory of markets and then flew back home. This generation is doing it better; they fly in the back of the plane with only their knapsacks, show up in the country they want to learn about, roll up their sleeves and ask: 'How can we help?'"
Students will spend three days in Mongolia before moving on to South Korea, where they will meet with local businesses, and connect with alumni.