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North Country News

McGill Group Leaves To Tour Emerging Economic Region

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McGill University Desautels Faculty of Management
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Every year since 2007, a group of students, alumni and faculty from McGill University in Montreal travel to an emerging economic area of the world. The group leaves today on its 2015 “Hot Cities” tour to Jakarta, Bali and Hong Kong.

Previous expeditions of McGill’s Desautels Faculty of Management Hot Cities Tour have gone to Israel, Dubai, India, South Africa, Russia, Mongolia and South Korea.

This year, Hong Kong, Bali and Jakarta are on the itinerary. Hong Kong is already a strongly  established economy and associate professor Karl Moore, who leads the class of 30 students, says spending two and a half days in Hong Kong will illustrate a sharp contrast in economies.  “Partly it’s the contrast to look at Jakarta which is a mess in terms of traffic. It’s incredibly populated, very much a real contrast between wealth and poverty. But enormous growth rates. The fourth largest population in the world and one of the more sprawling countries of the world. So it’s one where we see the future is unfolding there. The slogan of the trip is ‘Taking The Future To The Future.’   That is young people, thirty undergraduates, to where the world economy is growing a lot. And we certainly see that in Indonesia and Hong Kong provides us almost a foil to look at Indonesia.”

Several previous tours have been to Asia and Indonesia. Moore says population growth and political changes are contributing to dynamic growth.   “Part of it is that China has become less communist, more capitalist in a way. But if you look broadly you see enormous growth there because of the middle class which is growing because the systems are loosening enough in terms of the economy. They have greater freedom where there’s a potential for growth. So you see a bunch of interesting dynamics occurring.  The big corporations of the world clearly they’re seeing that the U.S. is the biggest economy. But when we look for growth, which capitalism loves, we see the growth is largely occurring in Asia. And that’s why we keep  going back there.”

Economics undergrad Sabrina Butt is originally from Philadelphia. She came to the Canadian university to seek diversity and believes this trip can broaden her future career opportunities.  “Southeast Asia is an emerging market in itself and being able to meet senior business executives there and seeing how they view business in a different cultural landscape, it would be a completely enriching experience for me. It is an opportunity for us young students to see the future, to see if we can have an impact in these fast growing markets.”

Each of the Hot Cities tour selects a charity to help. This year they hope to raise $5,000 to support the XSProject, which addresses the severe poverty of trash pickers in Jakarta.  “It’s also our duty as business leaders and as aspiring business executives to bring back to the community wherever we are. We all have aspirations for an international impact, a global impact. And it starts with helping these small locations that we’re visiting.”

During the 11-day tour, the travelers will meet with about 20 organizations including corporate leaders, entrepreneurs, and UN ambassadors.

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