Red Deer College business students headed from the Canadian West to the American Midwest earlier this month on a trade mission designed to help them better learn their future trade.
Five students in the business administration degree program at the school were part of the trade mission to Missouri, organized by Central Alberta: Access Prosperity (CAAP).
In their global business class, groups of students had each been paired with a local business, and with those businesses being part of the trade mission, five students were chosen to attend alongside those company representatives.
The students visited universities, businesses, corporations and research centres during the five days in Missouri.
Third year student Tabish Rizaey said the best part of the experience was the networking he was able to do with American students and business leaders.
“I really underestimated the power of networking. Going into businesses and actually touring their facilities, you get to know better. It’s so much better than just looking at a website, emailing or Skyping,” he said.
Part of that experience was understanding the issues and challenges businesses face today and appreciating how economic development agencies operate.
“It was so much better than just sitting in class, learning,” said Rizaey, who was partnered with Ponoka-based oilfield company Alberta Flares.
It was the first trade mission RDC students have been a part of, and it is something the college is hoping to make standard as part of its business program.
Donald School of Business dean Darcy Mykytyshyn said there are a few other CAAP trade missions coming up he hopes students can also be a part of.
“One of the things we’re focusing on is trying to ensure that we can introduce an applied element to our students’ experience . . . We’d like to give them a chance to get into the business world and try to take what they’re learning from us and put it into play,” he said.
Last month, two students from the school attended the World Business Forum in New York City, a huge summit that draws prominent CEOs and business executives. Mykytyshyn said the student trips are part of RDC’s effort to differentiate itself from other schools.
Sarah Olson, Ponoka’s economic development officer, said the trips offer the potential to create a solid working relationship between business programs and the world of economic development, which she said is rarely focused on post-secondary business education.
Agriculture, oil and gas, plant and animal science and manufacturing partnerships were some of the areas of common interest discussed on the trip.