International meets local and connects over a traditional South African braai

Posted on April 11, 2016

Wednesday, 16 March 2016, was a memorable day for the BCom Marketing Management Honours class. The students met a group of management students from Rutgers University in Camden, New Jersey, and hosted them in their class, followed by an informal braai sponsored by the visitors. 

Dean of the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences at the University of Pretoria (UP), Prof Elsabé Loots, officially welcomed the guests, whereafter Prof Banerjee shared some background on their study trip and experiences in South Africa. The group of 28 students and staff members were taken on a campus tour, whereafter they joined the Marketing of Services honours class.

The two groups of students from Rutgers and UP prepared an Ivey Publishing case study written by a team from GIBS, titled 'Banking on Social Media'. The case discussion created a conducive environment for the students to share their thoughts for the analysis of the case and provided the students with an opportunity to hear different perspectives and views, which further contributed to the learning experience. It was evident that conversations naturally evolved into discussions on how the banking systems of the two countries differed and how they were similar in many ways. These discussions created a wonderful opportunity for formal and informal learning to occur. The discussions were so constructive, that some of the students required more time to share their thoughts on the case, which from a facilitators'perspective, is always a great sign.

After class, the students gathered at 'Uitspan' at the LC de Villiers Sports Grounds, where they enjoyed a typical South African braai. Head of the Department of Marketing Management, Prof Yolanda Jordaan, greeted all at the braai and explained the true South African nature of the menu. Students then had the opportunity to enjoy the food and get to know each other informally.

There was a great atmosphere amongst all and it seemed as though the students had known each other for a long time as laughing, dancing and discussions filled the evening.

Some students' impressions from their interaction with the US students were: 'As students we often read about how cultures are different globally. Last night I got to experience that personally for myself', 'Knowledge gained from this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity will definitely be applied in my everyday life', and 'We were enormously lucky to have them here, so we could also gain a different perspective and broaden our understanding of international business'.

At the end of the evening, names, email addresses and Facebook invitations were exchanged. In the words of one of the students: 'From this whole experience we ended up learning about other business views, but the best outcome was the new friendships formed'.

The Department of Marketing Management hopes to welcome Rutgers University back next year for more productive, informative and educational interaction between the two student groups.


- Author Department of Marketing Management

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