I thoroughly enjoyed every second of my time in Costa Rica. Pitt Business’ Plus3 program is an incredible way for their students to experience the world while learning things that will transfer over to their domestic studies. While abroad, we focused on supply chain management, specifically, how coffee makes its journey from, for example, a Costa Rican plantation to the Starbucks on Fifth Ave. Through the Plus3 Study Abroad Scholarship, I received financial assistance that allowed me to expand my horizons and continue my business education, while also experiencing another culture. Learning about global supply chain management was extremely beneficial to me, as I hadn’t taken any previous classes on the subject. The hands on component of Plus3 was especially remarkable; being able to actually tour coffee plantations and factories helped us all develop a much deeper understanding of what goes behind every cup of coffee.
While in Costa Rica, we visited various “checkpoints” in coffee’s journey from plant to mug. These included plantations, mills, packaging plants, and roasting facilities. At each location, we were given a presentation about that location’s operations, including the challenges that they go through in passing the coffee to the next channel in the supply chain. After visiting numerous locations around the country, we had gotten a holistic, complete education in the global supply chain of coffee. With this new knowledge, we were tasked with taking the role of a player in the supply chain and creating a project demonstrating the decisions that go behind a certain action that that company must complete. Each group was given an action and formed their projects around it. My group was assigned to focus on the selling component, and we chose to research Café Britt due to their very successful marketing strategies. Completing a project was a great way to synthesize all of the information I had learned over the previous two weeks, and was a great close to the Plus3 experience.
I look forward to returning to campus in the fall with a renewed sense of determination. I’m excited to further my education in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in accounting. Eventually, I’d like to sit for the CPA exam (and pass) before enjoying a career in public accounting. Along the way, I’d like to study abroad again, possibly at one of Pitt’s Global Business Institutes. Pitt Business is instrumental in helping their students, like me, reach their goals, and the Plus3 program is an example of that. By allowing their students to experience not only local business, but worldwide operations, Pitt Business is successfully preparing them for a prosperous future.