MBA students from Sauder’s Robert H. Lee Graduate School were treated to a private lecture by the Colombian Ambassador to Canada, Nicolás Lloreda.

The class, The International Trading Environment, taught by Associate Professor Werner Antweiler, got an inside look into how the newly burgeoning country is making gains in the global economy.

The ambassador talked candidly about Colombia’s troubled history, and how his country has been recovering since the 1990s, partly due to efforts to attract international investment and opening its doors to trade, including key trade agreements with global leaders like Canada.

“As recently as 2003, Colombia was on the verge of being a failed state,” Lloreda said, “But now we’re a strong, emerging economy and a regional leader. How did this happen? We strengthened our armed forces, brought security to the country, and opened up our economy, alongside strong social programs.”

Antweiler was pleased to host the ambassador at the school, saying his visit provided students with a valuable experience, equipping them with the perspectives needed for an increasingly global marketplace.

“I believe strongly that guest speakers from industry and government enrich the learning environment by offering real life perspectives and insights,” said Antweiler. He added the Colombian case is important to hear, as it can easily be overlooked in discussions about investment and trade opportunities.

“Colombia was in fact one of the first countries to sign a free trade agreement with Canada – in 2011 – which demonstrates the pioneering character of this country with respect to trade relations,” said Antweiler.

The students of the MBA Society were instrumental in facilitating the ambassador’s visit. Karl Krochmal, the society’s president and a student in Antweiler’s class, was pleased to have the diplomat accept their invitation.

“It’s great to learn about the theory which guides trade, but to hear about it from someone who actually lives and breathes international trade, who’s directly responsible for making it happen, is a completely different thing,” said Krochmal. “Businesses around the world are all inter-connected, creating a global village – and having the Colombian ambassador in our class is proof of that.”MBA Society president Karl Krochmal asks the ambassador a question

Global learning is core to the UBC MBA. As part of a mandatory Global Immersion program, students travel to partner schools – The Indian Institute of Management Bangalore, Copenhagen School of Business, and Shanghai Jiao Tong University – where they form teams with MBA counterparts and work for multinational companies and organizations.

Each year approximately 25 per cent of UBC MBA students also participate in the Outbound MBA Exchange program to study at one of Sauder’s 37 partner schools around the world and deepen their understanding of the international marketplace.

“We are giving our students an international canvas on which to learn and work to provide them with the skills and opportunities they need to make a global impact,” says Murali Chandrashekaran, Associate Dean, Professional Graduate Programs at Sauder’s Robert H. Lee Graduate School.

As a result, he says, “Our students move up faster and travel farther.”

The MBA student body is almost 60 per cent international, representing 23 countries and speaking 29 languages. It’s this diverse mix of global knowledge and experience that continues to attract UBC MBA candidates from around the world.