Students Experience Middle Eastern Business and Culture
Susquehanna University students in the Sigmund Weis School of Business' London Program visited Bahrain in the spring to meet with Tim Murray '93, CEO of Aluminum Bahrain (Alba), one of the largest aluminum smelters in the world. The group, comprising 24 students, along with Marsha Kelliher, dean of the Sigmund Weis School of Business; Jerry Habegger, associate professor of accounting; and Ali Haji-Mohamad Zadeh, professor of finance and chair of the management department, toured Bahrain for five days.
The group had exclusive access to all of Alba's facilities and spent extensive time with Murray, who joined Alba in 2007. Since then he has worked to broaden the profile of Bahrain among students and faculty at Susquehanna.
A small island country off the coast of Saudi Arabia approximately 3.5 times the size of Washington, D.C., Bahrain has moved away from oil production to become a global banking center. The goal of the trip was to introduce business majors to the growing potential of the country, and the role Alba has played in diversifying Bahrain's economy.
"Alba places great value on sharing its knowledge and expertise with students, as they are the future leaders," Murray said when news of the trip was announced in April. "This visit provided many new insights for the students, and we hope that they will always remember their visit and take back the positive message about life in Bahrain."
Over their five-day visit, the students were given a full tour of Alba's operations and briefed about its state-of-the-art production processes as well as safety precautions and the environmental values of the company. They also visited downstream aluminum companies and numerous tourist destinations in Bahrain.
"It was an incredible experience," says Kelly Marinaccio '15, a business administration-marketing major from Upper Saddle River, N.J., who went on the trip. "We had all these preconceived notions about the Middle East, but once we got there, it was nothing like we expected. Tim Murray and his staff were all welcoming and excited for us to be there, and they had an incredible program set up for us."
The trip was so successful Murray also extended an invitation to students taking part in the London Program during the 2014-15 academic year.