Embarking on a transformative journey, the Prague Global Marketing course offers students an unparalleled opportunity to immerse themselves in the vibrant city of Prague while honing their strategic marketing skills. Led by experienced instructors, Sandra Kumorowski and Professor Philippe Ravanas, this program pushes students beyond the confines of traditional academia, encouraging them to develop a global mindset and work closely with a renowned Czech cosmetic brand, Dermacol. With a focus on cultural sensitivity, business acumen, and personal growth, the program has garnered a reputation for shaping students’ lives and unleashing their true potential. Let’s delve into the enriching experiences and invaluable lessons that make this study abroad program an unforgettable adventure as we speak to Sandra Kumorowski.
1. What are your expectations for the students who participate in this study abroad program, in terms of their academic performance and their ability to work with a global brand on a strategic marketing project?
Students who attend our Prague Global Marketing program are expected to master several different skills upon the completion of the program. For many of our students, this is the first time they travel abroad. This experience exposes them to a different culture via customs and interactions they encounter on their journey. For those that have traveled abroad before, barely any of them ever visited such a unique country as the Czech Republic. Since I am a Czech native and I speak the language, along with Professor Philippe Ravanas, who is French, we can provide invaluable guidance to our students as they adjust to a completely different continent and culture. We expect them to orient themselves in these new conditions fairly quickly because the core requirement of the program is to adopt a mindset of a global marketer developing a strategy for a local brand in a foreign country. Lastly, at the end of the program, we expect each student to have acquired a certain level of cultural sensitivity as well as the ability to make cohesive, strategic business decisions.
2. How have previous iterations of this study abroad program gone, and what lessons have you learned from those experiences that you’ve incorporated into this year’s program?
We evaluate our program experience every year. Each cohort of students is different and it is our mission to provide a customized experience for each group. But one of the most important lessons we learned over the last 13 years is to have a balanced program in terms of academics, professional experiences, and cultural exposure. This balance ensures an unforgettable and effective learning experience.
3. What aspects of this study abroad program are you most excited about, and how do you hope they will impact the student’s academic and personal growth?
The most exciting part of the program for us is to get to know the students and have the opportunity to help them uncover their true potential. Many of the students that completed our program completely changed their professional and personal trajectories because of “Prague”. They call it “the best time of my life.”
4. What specific skills do you hope the students will develop as a result of working with a global brand and developing a strategic marketing plan in the Czech Republic?
For the past 3 years, we have collaborated with a Czech cosmetic brand that has international operations in many countries including the US. Students learn how to do consumer research in the cosmetic industry and how to identify trends that are relevant to the local brand. They learn how to do a thorough brand analysis/audit and use applied research to develop a marketing strategy based on the current needs of the cosmetic brand.
5. Could you tell us a bit more about the project that the students will be working on during the program, and what specific goals you’ve set for the students in terms of their marketing plan?
This year, as for the past three years, we will work with a famous Czech cosmetic brand Dermacol which was founded in Prague in the 1960s. One of the most important goals of the company is international expansion including into the USA. That’s when our students come in and develop specific plans to market the Dermacol brand in the US. Each year, the challenge is slightly different and presented by the owners of the brand, Mrs. Vera Komarova and Mr. Vladimir Komar, who are prominent Czech business people owning other brands and who have been the most gracious hosts of our program. The invaluable lesson students learn is the direct interaction with top executives, both owners, and the whole Dermacol marketing and management team. During the final presentations, Dermacol owners and the management team give our students direct feedback in a moment that is the pinnacle of our program.