Annual Trip to the Dominican Republic
Each year, the SDSU Sports MBA program makes a trip to the Dominican Republic as an extension of its International Human Resources course. The program has two main objectives for the trip: first, the students receive a firsthand education in the operations of Major League Baseball on the island. Through visits to MLB team training facilities and seminars conducted by league officials, the SMBA cohort acquires a deep understanding of the player development process in the Dominican Republic.
The second objective–figuring out how to use the national passion for baseball to create positive change in Dominican society–requires that students interact closely with community members and observe their greatest needs. Past trips have included activities with local after-school programs, youth baseball teams, and children's shelters. Upon return to San Diego, students combine their local needs assessments with their understanding of Major League Baseball to develop programs that are mutually beneficial for the league and the community.
During the Class of 2012's trip, students spent the first three days in and around Santo Domingo, attending informational lectures by MLB officials, USAID, and employees of various teams' training facilities. The educational curriculum was supplemented by various service learning projects in the community.
The next four days were spent at the Padres Dominican Republic Baseball Park in Najayo, where key staff members educated students in the operations and recruitment practices of the Padres. During those four days, students also visited Alta Gracia–an apparel factory committed to providing fair wages and safe working conditions for its employees–and the Cigar Family Charitable Foundation–a facility set up to provide education, health care, and vocational training to community members.
Armed with a working knowledge of both MLB operations and community life in the Dominican Republic, the Class of 2012 returned to San Diego and immediately began to develop projects to implement over the course of the next several months. These projects include educational initiatives, microfinance, and social welfare programs. Each future class will be expected to continue these and any additional programs so that the SDSU Sports MBA Program can continue to add as much value as possible to the community and Major League Baseball in the Dominican Republic.