UK-UofL Exec MBA Program Journeys to Vietnam and Japan

“It was an incredible experience and an amazing adventure,” Michael Aldridge said. “This trip exceeded all my expectations from an educational and personal level,” echoed Don Wolf.

Aldridge and Wolf are two members of the cohort of students in the University of Kentucky – University of Louisville (UofL) Executive MBA program who recently returned from a 12-day trip to Vietnam and Japan. The UK-UofL Exec MBA is a 20-month program designed for C-suite executives and other business professionals. It is the first truly comprehensive executive MBA in the region and is the only program in the area to have been awarded a Tier One Global Executive MBA ranking by CEO Magazine. Currently, the same publication ranks the UK-UofL Exec MBA 28th in its world rankings.

“We specifically design this international trip to pair a developing economy with an established economy that is different from what we experience domestically,” said Lorna Patches, director of the Executive MBA and the Don and Cathy Jacobs Executive Education Center (EEC) in the University of Kentucky’s Gatton College of Business and Economics. “This provides our students with a great deal of insight in terms of how business is done outside of the U.S. market.”

Rest assured, the trip was no vacation as students together with faculty from the program were kept busy from early in the morning to late in the evening each day. The Vietnam leg of the journey centered on Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) and included visits to an Alltech production facility, the Esquel Group, makers of high-quality polo shirts, and Hung Phat Tea. Tokyo was the hub for activities in Japan, including meetings with KPMG, CMIC, a company which operates in the pharmaceutical industry, and Wunderman, a marketing firm.

Among the many cultural highlights was a boat tour of Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, a visit to Tokyo’s Meiji Jinju shrine, and the Tokyo Skytree just to name a few. Students also had time to do some exploring on their own.

A major component of the UK-UofL Executive MBA curriculum, the international trip is invaluable, said Patches.

“Despite already having achieved a tremendous amount of success in their careers, many of our students lack a truly global perspective on the business world. Participating in this trip opens their eyes to new opportunities and challenges present in the global economy, as well as giving a look at a different set of cultures.”

The small size of the cohort admitted to the UK-UofL Executive MBA program each year, approximately 20 students, is a huge plus, according to Patches.

“Students bring firsthand industry insight to compliment the academic environment, while really getting to know each other and building a tremendous professional network.”

To apply to the UK-UofL Executive MBA program, visit For more information on the Don and Cathy Jacobs Executive Education Center, go to