For most Semester at Sea participants, the experience is marked by a series of firsts: first time out of the country, first trip to South America, even first time in an airplane. But for business professor Don Howard, who‚Äôs traveled to over 120 countries in his lifetime, the firsts are far fewer. He’s already visited each country on the itinerary, except for ports in Ghana and Mauritius, but he’s still happy to be a part of his first Semester at Sea voyage.
Howard gained much of his international experience while serving as an Air Force pilot for nearly three decades, flying supplies to American embassies around the world (and once even to Mother Teresa). He also saw more of the world through military exchange programs with the Jordanian Air Force, Argentine Air Force, and German Luftwaffe. After 8 years on active duty, he spent 21 more in reserves and balanced military service with his primary career in higher education.
Howard, a long-time business professor, is well-aware of the benefits of a global education for his students. Currently a professor at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio, he formerly taught at Kent State and started the international business program at the University of Akron. That‚Äôs just within Ohio. He‚Äôs additionally taught in Croatia, Taiwan, Switzerland, and Denmark, and led student groups to the Netherlands, Israel, and the Soviet Union. His children started school in New Zealand, and he just finished a teaching stint at Vietnam National University before joining the Spring 2012 voyage.
Students haven‚Äôt needed reminders from Howard about the value of this global experience, as he‚Äôs been immensely impressed with their initiative this semester. ‚ÄúWe were talking about the things that make an international business executive successful,‚Äù Howard said of his Global Marketing and Marketing Research classes. ‚ÄúThose attributes are flexibility, interest in other cultures. That‚Äôs why these students are here. It‚Äôs a group of like-minded students who are all interested in seeing the world.” In his eyes, the duration of each port is the most valuable feature of the voyage. “This is the only program I know where you spend multiple days in each country. You can get off in Hong Kong and meet the ship in Shanghai. It‚Äôs a nice opportunity to get your feet wet and travel safely in a foreign country.‚Äù
To all students thinking about a career in international business or marketing, there is no better opportunity to experience the diversity and dynamism of the global economy than on Semester at Sea. Howard will take his students on a business tour of the world this semester, exploring a Shanghai marketplace, meeting Brazilian CEOs, and learning about the export market of Cape Town wineries. ‚ÄúI wish I could have done this when I was their age,‚Äù Howard noted.
Click here to read Don Howard’s biography.
Click here to meet the rest of the Spring 2012 faculty.