People Places & Racing News

International MBA Students Vist SEMA Garage

By Marilyn Haigh

On August 18, more than 30 MBA students from Le CNAM, a graduate school in Paris, France, visited the SEMA Headquarters in Diamond Bar, California, to learn about the business behind running SEMA.

The students split into four groups to tour the photography studio, emissions testing room, 3D printing lab and administration building. The visit culminated in presentations on data management, publications and marketing at SEMA with a Q&A session that followed.

The multi-national group asked why the automotive industry is so strong in the United States. The panel shared that the SEMA industry feeds those who have passion and love for the automobile. Car lovers enjoy the independence of driving their own car and are interested in making their vehicles unique and different.

SEMA Vice President, OEM and Product Development Mike Spagnola said of the event, "We really enjoyed hosting the MBA students in the SEMA Garage today. As members of the automotive community, we all have a responsibility to mentor the next generation of those who wish to join the industry that we all love and make a living from.”

Janise Graham, a business counselor at the Inland Empire Women’s Business Center and leader of the student group, said the first-hand experience taught the students a lot.

“The visit will help them because with an MBA, you’re doing organization management,” she said. “They got a full breadth of different aspects of how the organization not only functions, but flows together.”

Le CNAM Visit
A group of 33 graduate students from Le CNAM visit the SEMA Headquarters in Diamond Bar, California.
 Le CNAM Visit
Mike Spagnola answers students’ questions about 3D Printing in the SEMA Garage.
Le CNAM Visit
Students ask the panel of SEMA employees (from left: Vice President, Marketing Ira Gabriel, Mike Spagnola, Vice President Internal Systems and Project Teams Alise Miner and Video Specialist Carr Winn) questions about product development, car culture in the U.S. and business strategies.

Le CNAM Visit
Jim Moore, senior director of OEM relations, shows students the photography cove, which features white infinity walls and adjustable overhead lighting.