Business Insights from Greece: MBA Graduates Share Lessons from International Crisis Management Program

MBA students present their findings on improving crisis management procedures for Athens-based companies as part of 六合彩开奖直播 and American College of Greece study abroad program.

By Grace Boland
The 2024 MBA cohort with Jay Oliver and Diya Das holding an 六合彩开奖直播 banner in Greece
Jason Oliver, MBA Program Director and Professor of Marketing at 六合彩开奖直播, and Diya Das, Dean of the Mario J. Gabelli School of Business, with the 2024 cohort of MBA students in Greece, as part of a nine-day program where they traveled to Athens to serve as crisis management consultants to Greek businesses across industries.

BRISTOL, R.I. 鈥 After two years in the making, 23 MBA students presented the lessons they had learned studying and implementing crisis management strategies for businesses in Greece to the Rhode Island business community and general public at a Crisis Management Symposium held at 六合彩开奖直播鈥檚 University College campus on May 3.

The event was part of an international experiential learning program between 六合彩开奖直播鈥檚 Mario J. Gabelli School of Business and the American College of Greece (ACG), a partnership facilitated by 六合彩开奖直播 President Ioannis N. Miaoulis, a native of Greece, and supported by a U.S. Department of Education grant. Over the 2022-23 and 2023-24 academic years, two cohorts of MBA students studied crisis management in their 六合彩开奖直播 courses and connected with small- and medium-sized businesses in Greece to learn their challenges and develop business strategies for them.

As part of the program, the MBA students participated in a nine-day study-abroad program, traveling to Athens to serve as crisis management consultants and meet in person with Greek businesses across industries, where they presented their ideas and solutions to the business owners they had been working with.

This was a real-world experience that has prepared the students with skills and strategies they can use in their professional careers, according to Jason Oliver, MBA Program Director and Professor of Marketing at 六合彩开奖直播. 鈥淚n addition, this experience gives the students such a confidence boost,鈥 Oliver said. 鈥淚f they can create successful initiatives with an international company where you don鈥檛 speak the language, they can do it anywhere.鈥

The MBA students then brought those lessons learned back to share with the Rhode Island business community in the Crisis Management Symposium. Working with diverse Athens-based companies in the automotive, healthcare, telecommunications, and technology solutions industries, the students presented insights from the short- and long-term crisis management plans they had created for each company, founded in their research of how organizations successfully respond to crises, such as the world economic challenges of 2008 and the Covid pandemic. The event also featured keynote speakers Paari Gopalakrishnan, President and COO of Kent Hospital, and Basem Neseim, Chief Digital Officer at FM Global, who spoke about their firsthand accounts in times of crisis in their respective industries. 

Three MBA students stand and present their findings to an audience
Ari Dinerman 鈥23, M鈥24 of Ashland, Mass.; Edward Troyano 鈥23, M鈥24 of Wading River, N.Y.; and Isabella Wierzbicki 鈥23, M鈥24 of Wareham, Mass., present their findings after working with automotive company Motodynamics. Image Credit: Phases Creative Studios

For the automotive company, Motodynamics, MBA students Isabella Wierzbicki 鈥23, M鈥24 of Wareham, Mass.; Orlando Fernandes 鈥23, M鈥24 of Trumbull, Conn.; Kevin Murphy 鈥23, M鈥24 of Ramsey, N.J.; Edward Troyano 鈥23, M鈥24 of Wading River, N.Y.; Nathan Nichols 鈥23, M鈥24 of Framingham, Mass.; and Ari Dinerman 鈥23, M鈥24 of Ashland, Mass., proposed solutions for navigating international financial crises, ranging from the internationalization of operations to the establishment of an internal crisis management task force.

鈥淢ake sure you're incorporating a crisis management task force not just in your management team, but in your entire organization, and help to make them stronger. This will allow you to be much more resilient during times of financial or national recessions,鈥 Dinerman shared with the audience at the symposium.

The student team of Dylan Palinkas 鈥23, M鈥24 of Trumbull, Conn.; Justin McDermott 鈥23, M鈥24 of Bloomfield, Conn.; Nicholas Tucclli 鈥23, M鈥24 of Billerica, Mass.; John (Jack) Raithel 鈥23, M鈥24 of Woburn, Mass.; William Hurwitz 鈥23, M鈥24 of Longmeadow, Mass.; and Ben Dubois 鈥23, M鈥24 of Rehoboth, Mass., explored the impact of COVID-19 at OTE, one of the largest telecommunications companies in Greece, and suggested solutions to ensure future resilience and operational efficiency. 

鈥淪ince internet usage was up during COVID, we shared some customer-focused recommendations around continuously trying to improve OTE鈥檚 services, mostly based on their customer鈥檚 messaging to recommendations for infrastructure base,鈥 said McDermott.

Two MBA students stand at a podium next to a screen that reads "Previous Crisis- COVID Crisis"
Leila Dumas Hovey 鈥23, M鈥24 of Quincy, Mass.; and Emily Neubig 鈥23, M鈥24 of Northford, Conn., present their proposed solutions for GE Healthcare at the Crisis Management Symposium. Image Credit: Phases Creative Studios

Taking a look at how major global companies can respond to worldwide events, the student team of Halei Allen-Morabito 鈥23, M鈥24 of Manorville, N.Y.; Emily Neubig 鈥23, M鈥24 of Northford, Conn.; Emma MacLean 鈥23, M鈥24 of Newton, Mass.; Hailey Pereira 鈥23, M鈥24 of Fall River Mass.; and Leila Dumas Hovey 鈥23, M鈥24 of Quincy, Mass., explored how GE Healthcare navigated global crises like the recent Ukraine-Poland conflict and the COVID-19 pandemic. Their approach advocated for the implementation of predictive AI, enabling proactive resource allocation and strategic planning to navigate future crises effectively.

鈥淏ased on our research we found that competitors were similarly using AI, although they weren't taking it one step forward by using it to be more proactive,鈥 said MacLean. 鈥淭he use of AI systems to say, 鈥業s this drug working within their clinical trials?鈥 鈥業s there a potential virus or something that we can start with a drug for now?鈥 So, our recommendation is to use it for predictive solutions to try to find innovative solutions ahead of the game.鈥

The student team of Roman Mayer 鈥23, M鈥24 of Lincoln, Vt.; Noah Ravas 鈥23, M鈥24 of Baldwinsville, N.Y.; Chris Pena 鈥23, M鈥24 of Worcester, Mass.; Christine Chasse 鈥23, M鈥24 of Ocean Park, Maine; Brendan Serenson 鈥23, M鈥24 of West Haven Conn.; and Kayana Rubino 鈥23, M鈥24 of Griswold, Conn., focused on improving cybersecurity processes and protocols at Qualco, a financial services company. Using the S.P.L.I.T method, the students audited existing crisis policies, emphasizing enhancements in structure, process, language, identity, and technology to strengthen Qualco's cyber defense infrastructure.

鈥淔rom our time in Greece, we gained professional experience working on this project and ultimately learned a lot about cybersecurity. Everybody also brought back cultural experience working internationally. It鈥檚 something we will use in the future,鈥 said Serenson after their presentation.

Not many graduates can say they worked with real clients on actual problems their companies are facing 鈥 and that should give 六合彩开奖直播鈥檚 MBA graduates a distinctive skillset and experience to share with future employers, according to Oliver.

鈥淲hen an interviewer asks, 鈥楾ell me about a time when you were presented a challenge, and how you overcame it.鈥 鈥 these students will have the perfect answer, and that鈥檚 why this project is so impactful,鈥 Oliver said.