Whitman Sophomore Embraces Global Business through Immersion Trip to East Asia
Jacquelyn Trotman '26
Retail Management and Advertising
- Undergraduate Dual
As a sophomore, I am still early on in my college career and do not have experience in a corporate setting yet. Attending these visits and presentations provided me with valuable insights into the workings of international business operations and cross-cultural interactions. I am confident that this experience will serve as an asset, as I am able to offer a global perspective to any future role I work in.
Jacquelyn Trotman ’26 (WSM/NEW) fulfilled her desire to travel after the pandemic by participating in the East Asia Immersion Trip, where she spent 10 days in Tokyo, Japan, and Seoul, South Korea. The retail management and advertising student made the most of the busy itinerary, successfully completing a one-credit course, INB 400: Business in East Asia, and working on a case study at UNIQLO, a Japanese designer, manufacturer and retailer.
Trotman heard about the trip from Diane Crawford, executive director of institutional culture, and through the Whitman Multicultural and First Generation Student Resource Group. She immediately saw it as an amazing opportunity to learn about business in a more global context.
A typical day began early. After breakfast at the hotel, which offered a combination of traditional American and Japanese breakfast foods, Trotman would head down to meet the rest of the group, which included Whitman Associate Dean of Global Initiatives and Professor of Marketing Eunkyu Lee, Whitman Academic Advisor Anh Murphy, and Crawford.
Each day began by either seeing historic sites or touring different facilities where many Whitman alumni work. During the visits, alumni and other employees gave in-depth presentations about the companies’ history, business practices and culture, with the opportunity to ask questions of their own. Trotman enjoyed networking during these visits, as it opened her eyes to her work in the future.
“As a sophomore, I am still early on in my college career and do not have experience in a corporate setting yet. Attending these visits and presentations provided me with valuable insights into the workings of international business operations and cross-cultural interactions. I am confident that this experience will serve as an asset, as I am able to offer a global perspective to any future role I work in,” she says.
Following these visits, students would get lunch, trying Japanese and Korean cuisine. Afterward, the students and trip leaders came back together for a second activity each day, followed by the rest of the evening to explore.
At the Whitman School, Trotman had learned about the intricacies of businesses in the U.S. She found this experience to be unique because she could apply that knowledge in a more global context. The courses conducted on this trip allowed her to learn experientially through joint lessons with Japanese students at Musashino University in Tokyo.
Trotman remarked on how the U.S. tends to be very Western-focused and Eurocentric in nature. However, the experience proved otherwise, as she was able to expand her frame of reference and understand the uniqueness of the places she visited through their rich culture and economic significance. In addition to organizational strategies, Trotman noted the different cultural aspects found in the workplace. Practices such as bowing, gift exchanges, and the practice of “reading between the lines.” were a few she picked up on.
“One thing that stood out to me while in Japan and South Korea was that the businesses there all operate as multinational organizations and seem to have a focus on innovation,” she says, “This allowed these organizations to keep up with competitors while simultaneously staying ahead and maintaining leadership within their respective industries.”
She plans to take advantage of more international learning opportunities that Whitman has to offer, whether that be another program in the summer or an entire semester abroad.
“My biggest takeaway from the experience is the importance of travel. I was able to participate in intercultural exchanges and completely immerse myself in Japanese and Korean culture,” Trotman says. “The experiences I had are incomparable to anything you’d find in the classroom or in a textbook, and I’m extremely grateful to have been given those opportunities.”
By Anna Rooney ’24