Carlson students travel to Argentina for inflation lesson

A group of 11 students studied abroad for two weeks during winter break.

Derrick Biney

To break from the mold of registering for a required class, business students enrolled in Accounting 3001 with an international perspective in mind.

A group of 11 students from the Carlson School of Management studied abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina, for two weeks during winter break; this was the first time the course was offered.

The country was selected based on student feedback from a survey the school conducted, said Anne D’Angelo King, director of international programs for the Carlson School.

The purpose of the class was to help students understand how managers make decisions based on information given by the firm’s accounting system, said Charles Caliendo, senior lecturer in accounting and instructor for the study abroad course.

In Argentina, students were able to observe how companies in an economy with high inflation make decisions based on the financial information given by their accounting systems, Caliendo said.

“The (mid-1990s economic) crisis in Argentina was similar to the crisis in America during the Great Depression,” Caliendo said.

Before traveling to Argentina, students spent half a semester learning the principles of accounting.

Human resources junior Tracy Canton said she and fellow classmates learned the fundamentals of the course and then applied what they learned in Argentina.

Students talked to local business professionals and visited company sites, such as Toredo, a local manufacturing firm, and Telefonica, a telecommunications service industry provider.

International business and marketing junior Brandon Kiel said the trip matched his career path, and the opportunity he had to study abroad gave him a better idea on how to do business in another country.

Kiel said the students were able to see the difference between Argentina’s economy and that of the United States.

International business and marketing sophomore Hailey McCarthy said the trip made her settle on international business as her major.

McCarthy said the trip was “awesome” because the students did not have much classroom time.

Students had to apply to the program by May 15, at the end of the spring 2005 semester, to manage their schedules, King said.

The cost of the program consisted of a $2,750 fee which covered course materials, lodging, group transportation to company site visits and two meals a day, she said.

Students were responsible for other meals, personal expenses and their own airfare, she said.

King said the Carlson School left the airfare expense to students because students thought they could get better deals on their own or would use frequent-flier miles. She said that sometimes students will arrive earlier than the program begins or leave later after the program is over.

Aside from understanding how people do business in Argentina, students were able to experience the culture of Argentina by eating at local restaurants, watching a tango show and touring different art districts. Students also were able to visit Iguazu Falls in a national park. Canton and McCarthy had the opportunity one night to eat with a host family.

King said the program is a good option for students who have internships or jobs during the summer, which can keep them from studying abroad.