Cuba and Vietnam: Transitioning from Command Economies to Free Market Systems

The streets of the Cuban capital, Havana

The streets of the Cuban capital, Havana

With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and free market reforms in China that has enabled it to become the world’s second-largest economy, there are only a few nations that still retain command economies. Among these are Cuba and Vietnam, which are now transitioning to free market models. Mihaylo professors discuss the outlook for these economies.

In December 2014, President Barack Obama announced a major foreign policy breakthrough with Cuba, including normalization in relations and efforts to lift the trade embargo in effect since 1961. With an aging Communist regime on the island nation and virtually no support from its former Soviet sponsors since the early 1990s, most observers believe the new Obama policy will pave the way for a transition from a staunchly Communist command economics model to a free enterprise system in the only Communist country in the Western Hemisphere.

“As Cuba begins to experiment with capitalism in the form of private business ventures in limited areas and as the government employee ranks diminish, individuals will begin to develop an entrepreneurial initiative that may develop into larger private businesses,” Mihaylo Marketing Professor William Hernandez Requejo says. “At this early stage in the Cuban experiment, all marketing is done by word of mouth.  It will be interesting to see how this develops over the next generation.”

Mihaylo Marketing Professor William Hernandez Requejo

Mihaylo Marketing Professor William Hernandez Requejo

While Hernandez Requejo believes the island nation has economic potential, he also contends the future is uncertain. “With a population of over 11 million, and with a very healthy and highly educated and literate consumer base with tremendous needs for modernization, Cuba represents a new market in the Caribbean,” he says. “Cuba desperately needs a wide variety of goods and services. While many think immediately of vacation resorts and tourism, others exist such as renewable energy, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, medicine, infrastructure development and construction and housing. How the U.S. approaches this neighbor to the south will be paramount as to whether it will succeed in becoming once again ‘the Pearl of the Antilles.’”

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Mihaylo Students Learn About Global Business in China

Mihaylo students outside the Temple of Heaven, Beijing, China

Mihaylo students outside the Temple of Heaven, Beijing, China

A group of Mihaylo students visited China for three weeks from mid-May to early June, an annual short-term study abroad opportunity sponsored by the Center for International Business. Two students share their experiences.

For today’s business students, the Chinese economy is of paramount importance: the nation produced 17% of the world’s total GDP in 2014 and, by some estimates, is now the world’s largest economy. Mihaylo’s Center for International Business (CIB) sponsors several short-term study abroad opportunities for business students, including a Business Study in China, last held on May 17 to June 6. The three-week program included visits to Beijing, Shanghai and Tianjin, with regular lectures and field trips.

“This was my first time studying abroad, and it was a very insightful and different experience,” says Mihaylo international business student Amanda Tran ’16. “It made me see things with a different perspective and stop to think, ‘what do others around the world think about the U.S.?’ It only reconfirmed my love for international business and my plans for a career in the importing/exporting industry.”

In Tianjin, the group’s first stop, Mihaylo students met local students at the Tianjin University of Finance and Economics. “They not only showed us around their campus, they showed us around Tianjin as well, and that was a special bonding experience for me,” Tran says. The group also visited a farmer’s village for the opportunity to witness rural China firsthand.

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Posted in Economics, Economy, Events, International Business, International Experiences, Student Stories, Study Abroad | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Catherine Pearson: From the UK to Mihaylo’s Accounting Program

Catherine Pearson '15

Catherine Pearson ’15

Recent Mihaylo graduate Catherine Pearson ’15 has 12 years of accounting experience in her native United Kingdom and in California. Her passion is industrial managerial accounting.

For Mihaylo accounting and information systems alumnus Catherine Pearson ’15, her undergraduate education at the Mihaylo College has opened the door to career advancement and personal achievement. “The classes I have taken have prepared me for the workplace,” she says. “I am a well-rounded individual who not only left Mihaylo with a good understanding of the theory of accounting and information systems, but with the help of the professors, I learnt about real-world situations that I would be dealing with in the workplace.”

A native of Wrexham County Borough, located along the border between England and Wales in the United Kingdom (UK), Pearson held various accounting positions for Godfrey Edwards Chartered Accountants in Wrexham, Wales, and Bakkavor, the UK’s largest fresh prepared foods supplier.

Pearson immigrated to California in 2008, completing an associate degree in business management from El Camino College in Torrance in 2012.

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Mihaylo Alumnus Honored with Emerging Leader Award

Jimmy Nguyen '14

Jimmy Nguyen ’14

Mihaylo management alumnus Jimmy Nguyen ’14 received the Emerging Leader Award at the Vietnamese-American Chamber of Commerce’s 30th anniversary event on June 12. Finance student Trinh “Sky” Pham ’16 was also a nominee for the award.

“The education, activities and real-world business activities offered by Mihaylo College have impacted me in many ways,” Mihaylo management alumnus Jimmy Nguyen ’14 says. “They have given me experience with organizational leadership.”

Nguyen received the Emerging Leader Award on June 12. Nguyen and finance student Trinh “Sky” Pham ’16 were both nominees for the Vietnamese-American Chamber of Commerce (VACOC) honor, bestowed at the Westminster Rose Center Theatre in Westminster.

Nguyen was born and raised in Orange County’s Little Saigon community. He is a manager at the Surf City (Huntington Beach) Walmart and has been involved in several on-campus organizations, including the Vietnamese Student Association (VSA), Phi Beta Lambda, Society for Advancement in Management (SAM), Society of Excellence in Human Resource (SEHR), the Association for Inter-Cultural Awareness (AICA) and the Pre-Law Society.

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Mihaylo Entertainment and Tourism Management Professor and Student Meet CSU Chancellor to Discuss Hospitality Programs

Cal State students with CSU Chancellor Timothy White (center) in San Diego on May 1. At far left is Mihaylo College student Edwin Valenzuela ’15.

Cal State students with CSU Chancellor Timothy White (center) in San Diego on May 1. At far left is Mihaylo College student Edwin Valenzuela ’15

Mihaylo Entertainment and Tourism Management Professor Ellen Kim and student Edwin Valenzuela ’15 met with CSU Chancellor Timothy White and the advisory board and program leaders of the CSU Hospitality and Tourism Management Education Initiative to discuss hospitality programs in the Cal State system.

Southern California is among the major tourist destinations in the United States. Direct travel spending in California totaled $117.5 billion in 2014, supporting more than 1 million jobs in the state. In Orange County, home to Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, world-famous beaches and premier shopping destinations, nearly 45 million tourists visited in 2013, spending a record $9.6 billion. Despite the obvious importance of entertainment and tourism on the local economy, CSU Fullerton is the only public institution of higher learning in the county to offer a degree program in the hospitality industry, which includes lodging, event planning, tourist transportation and amusement park management.

Mihaylo Management Professor Ellen Kim, who teaches entertainment and tourism management (ETM) courses and serves as the lead faculty of the college’s hospitality program, joined Mihaylo Entertainment and Tourism student Edwin Valenzuela ’15 in representing CSU Fullerton at the annual CSU Hospitality and Tourism Management Education Initiative meeting on May 1. The event, held on the campus of San Diego State University, featured CSU Chancellor Timothy White, his staff, CSU Pomona President Soraya Coley and advisory board and program leaders of the CSU Hospitality and Tourism Management Education Initiative (HTMEI), which seeks to establish the Cal State system as a leading educational network for students interested in the industry.

“The meeting included a student Q and A session in which Valenzuela and other student panelists shared their interest in the hospitality industry, what they have learned through their university’s programs and questions for program advisors,” Kim says.

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