The Academy supported an interdisciplinary group of business students to travel to India and China in the winter of 2012 as part of an intensive that studied the emergence, growth and challenges facing the Indian and Chinese economies. Both economies represent great opportunities to study and understand the emergency of vibrant market-driven economies and the challenges facing countries trying to overcome decades of too much state control of the economy.
The Academy supported a group of students who participated in an international competition in Sao Paolo Brazil to develop new and better ways of encouraging sustainable economic development. The students met with business leaders, entrepreneurs, government officials and students from around the world to better understand the role of markets, businesses and non-profits in helping to spur economic growth and achieve environmental sustainability.
This course was offered in January 2009 and took 28 students to what has long been one of the world's freest economies, Hong Kong and the former Portuguese colony of Macua where the casino industry has recently grown larger than Las Vegas. While in the two Special Administrative Regions of China, the 28 law students in the course heard from a wide range of speakers including The Economist's Asia Business editor, lawyers and finance specialists and two of the founders of the Lion Rock Institute, a think tank devoted to preserving Hong Kong's free market economy. They learned how Hong Kong has used its long tradition of the rule of law to develop its international business sector serving as the gateway to China for many Western businesses. While in Macau, the students toured the MGM Grand and Wynn casinos with the general counsel of the casino's Asia operations learning how gambling is regulated differently in China than the United States.
This course was taught in Spring 2010 and offered to University of Illinois law, finance, accounting and business students an opportunity to learn how to structure offshore financial transactions in asset securitization, captive insurance and hedge funds through meetings with lawyers, business people, accountants, and government officials in the United States and the Cayman Islands. By learning how international business transactions operate, students had the opportunity to see how markets can reduce costs through competition. For example, many charitable hospitals in the United States handle their insurance needs through Caymanian captives reducing operating costs and increasing their ability to serve their missions. Investment funds in Cayman route billions of dollars of capital into the U.S. economy providing the means for businesses to expand. Moreover, Cayman's success in international finance is itself an important story — from a virtual barter economy in the 1950s, Cayman developed into a leading financial center with a per capita GDP larger than Britain's, its former colonial power, through a focus on developing markets for financial services.