Business, cultural trip to Mexico broadens perspective of Wright State students

Wright State students relaxing at the town square in Puebla, Mexico.

Tours of cement, bakery and coffee companies, visits to pyramids and cathedrals, and culinary experiences highlighted a trip to Mexico by 11 Wright State University students.

The Ambassador “How to Do Business in Mexico” trip ran from Aug. 8 to 17 and included stops in Mexico City and the cities of Puebla and Cholula in central Mexico.

The eight graduate students and three undergrads were led by John Martin, professor of strategic management in the Raj Soin College of Business.

“The learning experience was far beyond what I could have imagined,” said student Maria Schmitz. “It was an awesome mix of manufacturing, business, culture and history that gave me a broader perspective of the global business climate.”

There was a stop at CEMEX, the second largest building materials firm in the world, with businesses in 50 countries.

“I was never presented with an opportunity to visit a manufacturing facility until this trip,” said student T.J. Klopfstein. “I was exposed to aspects of business that I had only read about and it really helped me connect the dots.”

The students also toured Grupo Bimbo, the world’s largest baking company, with brands such as Oroweat, Sara Lee, Wonder Bread, Thomas Muffins, Ball Park Franks, Boboli Pizza and Entenmann’s. In addition, the group visited The Italian Coffee Company, a privately owned family operation with over 400 locations in Mexico.“It was awesome to see manufacturing facilities and have an open discussion with local businesses on the challenges they face,” said Schmitz.

Wright State University students getting culinary lessons in Puebla, Mexico.

The students attended lectures on cross-cultural communication, the construct of happiness, international trade relations between the United States and Mexico, and how Puebla attracted Audi to build the company’s Audi Q5 manufacturing plant.

“I was overall shocked by just how advanced some of the businesses we toured were,” said student Jennifer Ebright. “They had very modern and large machinery as opposed to having people carry out most of the day-to-day tasks.”

Cultural experiences included climbing the Teotihuacan Pyramids, touring the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City and visiting the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

“The trip was a great cultural adventure of a foreign country with rich history,” said student Craig Mestemaker. “It was amazing to see Mexico’s rich Catholic beliefs through their magnificent shrines and cathedrals.”

Cultural activities also included taking a boat ride through the Xochimilco Floating Gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage site; touring churches and a library in the State of Puebla; and visiting the pyramid and cathedral in Cholula.

“The Mexican culture is definitely warm and inviting, almost feels like you are a part of their family,” said student Kellyn White. “I found a different side of me on this trip, a much stronger and mature side.”

For the first time, students took part in a cooking class at a culinary school. And they took a bus to El Vilsito Taquerias, an auto shop and taco stand featured in the Netflix series “Taco Chronicles.”

Wright State students asking questions of the chief operations officer for The Italian Coffee Company.

Ebright said the students were offered a variety of delicious cuisine at inexpensive prices during the trip. She left with a much different view of Mexico than she anticipated.

“Where I expected to see pollution and crime, I found scenic views and a rustic paradise,” she said. “Where I expected to find an impoverished country, I found a place full of color with astonishing murals and architecture.”

Another trip to Mexico is scheduled for August 2020. To learn more or register, visit the University Center for International Education website or contact Martin at

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