Jon M. Huntsman School of Business

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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Huntsman Scholar's Priceless Experience

We had spent hours together.  The group was tired, the days seemed to stretch on, but something kept us going.

It was the final project of the revered "Huntsman Scholar Semester." Every fall, 30 of the "best and brightest" of Utah State University's Jon M. Huntsman School of Business students are gathered together and taught by three of the best professors in the school. Students, like myself, learn how the United States fits into the global business context and how Europe, most especially, perceives political and economic policies. The fund established by Jon M. Huntsman was set up to provide students with opportunities to travel and better understand international business.

My group had gone from business to business, organization to organization, and all over Europe.  In sum, we visited Switzerland, Italy, France, Norway, Greece, and Belgium. We talked to hundreds of Europeans about their perceptions of the United States, and specifically Utah. The trip was enjoyable, but we knew it was all to culminate into one big project at the end of the year.

The Utah Department of Tourism wanted us to help them understand what they could do to better target their European tourist audience and influence them to come to Utah. We each worked in small groups of three or four people to come up with a basic overlay of the project and where we thought we saw it going. During this time, we were also working on other major projects, and were exhausted by our return from Europe and accelerated nature of the 15 upper division credits. It was exhausting, taxing, but rewarding.

After we had come up with a basic direction for the project in these smaller groups, we were organized into two large groups, one to represent Northern Utah Tourism, and the other to represent Southern Utah Tourism. We came up with 15 to 25 minute presentations that we presented to the Utah Department of Tourism. Students presented webpages they had created in a matter of days, an overhaul of the Utah Tourism Facebook page, maps suggesting possible travel routes (which in turn also suggested alliances with other states) and a "Prezi" presentation that the audience could watch from their own computers while we Skyped with half of the group still in Utah (some of the members came up to campus to watch the presentation in person).

It has been hard, but real projects like these have shaped my understanding of the global business world. We all know the global world of business is competitive and often ruthless, but as students of the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business we also understand there are programs like Huntsman Scholars that give us an edge that no one else has.

Joshua Blume

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