During SIU’s Cultural Iceberg Workshop, students are presented with the opportunity to learn more about how culture impacts their present and future endeavors in the business world. It began by posing the question, “What does culture mean to you?” Given the fact that almost every student of the class was from a different nationality, it was interesting to see how culture had a different meaning for every individual. For example, we got to know how people from Sweden and Russia had a different sense of personal space compared to people here in Spain. During this SIU Talk students were able to understand how there are parts of culture we see that are just the tip of the iceberg , taking time to reflect on how profound these factors can be and how they cause different cultures to behave in different ways.
Students were grouped in teams, in which some were given the information about certain goods, while the others were told to act as a Chinese company looking to import apples. The rest of the groups had to discuss among themselves how to negotiate and convince the Chinese market to purchase their product. In the process, they also had to work out which type of apple would be most preferential for said market encouraging the students to also work as a team. There was insight as to how the Chinese markets tends to lean towards markets which allow employment opportunities for locals and were very sensitive about their culture.
Students learned how to prioritize the market and then standardize their marketing plan according to the region they are endeavoring to do business with, uncovering the Cultural Iceberg. There was also an emphasis on how important it is for a company to have a leader who has an open perspective and respect for different cultures, having the ability to train his or her employees to have the same mindset. Overall, the workshop was very enjoyable and will be very helpful for students who are not only pursuing International Business, but also for the students who are studying International Relations, Economics, or Hospitality and Tourism, as each of these subjects considers human interaction extremely important.