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Wednesday, March 23, 2022 at 08:53 p.m.

International Trade Mission, at the URJC

International Trade Mission, at the URJC International Trade Mission, at the URJC

This project of the Belgian university HELMO University gives students of marketing, ADE and similar degrees the opportunity to delve into the functioning of their professional sector

Daria Efimova

This March, the students of the Rey Juan Carlos University had the opportunity to participate in the International Trade Mission, a project developed by HELMO University (Belgium) and the networking organization Businet. Focused on students of marketing, ADE, advertising and similar degrees, it aims to connect students with companies from different sectors, as well as promote collaboration between higher education centers from different countries. 

The welcome day, in which the students presented the results of their respective projects. was held on March 14 on the Madrid campus of the Rey Juan Carlos University. On the other hand, the fair where the students exhibited their products, 'Trade Fair', took place on March 18, at the Novotel Madrid Center. It was attended by the Belgian Ambassador to Spain, Gerard Cockx, and the Dean of the Faculty of Legal and Social Sciences of the URJC, María Luisa Delgado Jalón. In its entirety, the event has welcomed 44 companies from 5 different countries, and 151 students have participated in the project.

an international mission

International Trade Mission was born as an internal project of the Department of Economics and Business of HELMO University. A mandatory activity is proposed for students who are pursuing their degree at said faculty, for which they will also have recognition in their academic and professional curriculum. As explained by the dean of the Department of Economics and Business at HELMO University, Eddy Brune: “We didn't have any projects focused on these students. So, we decided that it was a good time to create, on the one hand, an activity related to marketing, and, on the other hand, adapt an activity that we already had for the students”. Trade Mission had already been underway for several years; but, since then, the penultimate year students of this faculty have been involved in it. 

To prepare the activity, the students had several months to study a certain market. Each year, a different city and country are chosen, in which the participants have to carry out surveys and contact companies in the sector present in the region to determine the viability of the project. They also received training on how to make a commercial pitch, to help them sell their products to potential customers. 

After a long period of work, in the month of March, a fair is organized, entitled Trade Fair, in which they exhibit and share their results. In 2015, this event has become international at the suggestion of Eddy Brune. In this way, the first International Trade Mission took place in Mexico. 

An opportunity for collaboration and closeness

Since then, Spain has hosted this project twice: in Bilbao in 2018, and in Madrid in 2022. The URJC, as a collaborator with Businet, was chosen as the host university for this edition. The chosen sector, biotechnology, has been a particular challenge this year. According to Ignacio Jose Mariano Guedez Ruiz, a Marketing and Business Administration student at URJC who has been part of the project: “It is a very complex area to contact. We were looking for clients, which, for the most part, are companies with great economic power, and it has cost us a lot of effort to find entities that would like to collaborate with the students”. Apart from this sector, some of the groups also collaborated with companies of other kinds, such as gin and chocolate. They have, at all times, the support of the organizing universities, which guides them on how to adapt their strategy according to the sector they want to approach. 

During the month of November, students of marketing, Business Administration and Management and similar degrees, have been able to submit their applications to be part of the project. Once selected, about seven working groups were formed, which contacted their colleagues at HELMO University in order to help them approach local companies and businesses. 

The proactivity, willingness and closeness of the URJC students has become one of the differentiating features of this edition. "We have had a particularly good reception from the student body," says the International Coordinator of HELMO University, Laurence Messina. “They worked very closely with each other. We have never seen the participants so excited.” 

Venturing into a world outside the classroom

International Trade Mission represents a great opportunity to forge ties and learn from students from another country, as well as to get out, for a time, from the academic environment that characterizes universities. "It is very powerful to have put into practice a job that students cannot do in real life until they have some experience," says Susana Díaz Iglesias, professor at the URJC Department of Business Economics. “It is a very interesting activity to take the theory learned in the classroom and apply it in the world of work”.

Ignacio Guedez also highlights it: “You can get involved in a project that has employment implications for your career. In addition, you work in a multicultural environment, which gives you a very different perspective and enriches your training, both professionally and personally”.