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Club Spotlight: International Business Association

Photo courtesy of UMass Lowell) “The International Business Association meets in Alumni Hall.”

Nicholas Ewing
Connector Staff

International Business Association (IBA) is a club students can join to learn more about international business and join a community of like-minded students. President of IBA Justin Baez, and Vice President of Engagement Jason McKeon, welcome students from all majors to join and participate in their club that teaches and helps students practice international business from their activities and guest speakers. “IBA is an organization on campus with over 135 active members that introduces students of all majors to international business through concepts and practice. We do it by hosting events, playing activities, inviting guest speakers who are experienced in the industry, and by participating in national conferences”, said McKeon.

This week on Monday, February 12th, IBA hosted a guest speaker who traveled to over 145 countries, Professor Emeritus David Lewis. He gave insight to students on how to explore the world of international traveling on a budget. Lewis taught students how to best experience different cultures and work overseas while being mindful of financial costs. Afterwards, students had the opportunity to network with IBA e-board members, Professor Lewis, and each other to share their passion for international business and join a new, like-minded community.

New and current club members can gain access to this community that will help them develop their business skills, meet valuable people during networking dinners, listen to guest speakers, attend club parties, and have fun at their other social events. “Our meetings vary different from each other”, said Baez. It brings many new experiences for club members to participate and contribute in the club.

The club is very active with many ongoing projects and plans. The club has previously gone to Maryland for competition, consulted with business organizations in Panama, and partnered with local companies. This semester IBA will be attending conferences in Orlando and Las Vegas. Additionally, Baez and McKeon work hard to help their classmates succeed because IBA’s mission is to help students develop the skills and networks in their business club. “New students can expect to join a dynamic and inclusive community that can help them develop the skills and networks needed to succeed in the international business industry”, said McKeon.

Another experience IBA had was consulting small business owners in South America. Club members traveled to Panama to help small business owners with basic business functions taught at UMass Lowell. “We were teaching the small business owners business concepts we learned at school that these businesses lacked in resources and knowledge,” said Baez. The business owners learned how to write an income statement, how to market their products and services, and learned to manage their cash flows. It may not be much to turn around a business, but consulting is helpful for each party since one can develop experience and the other can gain access to resources they would not otherwise have.

If students are interested in joining IBA, then it is personally enriching for those who decide to take advantage of this opportunity. McKeon has detailed how becoming an e-board member since November 2022 helped him network with people, learned business skills that he put into action, add experience to his resume, and improve his confidence. “Socially, I got the chance to meet many new people. Professionally, I learned the difference aspects and nuisances of international business. Today, businesses are going global with technology that allows people to do business in China from the United States. People are doing business in the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and South America from here. It has changed my perspective on learning about different cultures,” said McKean.

Joining IBA gave Baez the confidence to be who he is today when he explained the club’s chaotic start to its successful rise. Given the position by the Dean, Baez needed to build the organization from the ground up. Baez recalls “It was challenging for the first meeting. I didn’t know what to do. I was a hot mess. I said, ‘What am I doing? Is it too late to quit?’”. Yet, Baez received positive encouragement from his classmates and faculty after admitting he did not know what was best for the club. Persevering through the initial setback, Baez said, “After my first meeting, it gave me the confidence to lead an organization. Then, I joined several other e-board positions”, as Baez’s leadership and confidence had grown.

If interested in connecting with IBA, then check out their next general body meeting on February 26th at 6:30 PM in Alumni Hall 102. Students can also follow IBA on Instagram @uml_iba and LinkedIn.

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