Six University of Notre Dame MBA students are in Sarajevo, Bosnia, trying to stay warm in sub-zero conditions due to the Russian suspension of gas supplies to that and other countries.
As part of a new course titled"Business on the Frontlines,"the students are examining the impact of local and international business on rebuilding war-torn societies during a field visit Jan. 2 to 11.Another team of six students is in Beirut, Lebanon.For the course, which began in October and concludes in March, the students are studying developmental economies and topics related to peace-through-commerce efforts.
One of the students in Bosnia, Keith Flatley, e-mailed a description of conditions.
“We are staying in an apartment that used to be heated from the natural gas,”he wrote.“Last night it was about 10 degrees below zero, so the place was freezing cold without the gas for heat.All we can really do is get up with the sun and get moving.People can’t go into the forest surrounding the city for firewood because it is filled with landmines.There are lines at stores that sell electric heaters.The price of an electric heater on Monday was under $100.It is now over $200.The Ukrainians and the Russians are not talking, and the people we have spoken with think they are flexing their muscles to the rest of Europe.”
“Business on the Frontlines”is taught by associate professor of management Viva Bartkus, who is spending time with students in both countries.
“After facing man’s inhumanity in our generation, and within the last 10 years in Bosnia’s case, there is a real challenge to figure out how to re-knit these societies deeply divided by religion, ethnic groups and socio-economic class,”she said.“We believe that business has a role in that, both international companies and local ventures.There is nothing to compare with the dignity of work and the ability to be able to look after one’s family after war.”
In March, the students will present a detailed case study of their findings to Catholic Relief Services, which partnered with the MBA program in organizing the course.
Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business MBA, which offers one-year and two-year programs, is noted for its innovative teaching in the area of problem solving and for its emphasis on personal and corporate ethics as well as social responsibility.The program was ranked 20th among U.S. business schools in BusinessWeek magazine’s biennial survey,“The Best B-Schools,”andNo. 5 on the Aspen Institute’s Beyond Grey Pinstripes, a biennial ranking and survey of top U.S. business schools’ incorporation of social and environmental stewardship into their curricula and research.
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