Globalization takes MBA students international at PGS
Globalization has brought American businesses to the point where they have no choice but to go global. Now, neither do students in the Profession and Graduate Studies master of business administration program.
Starting this fall, MBA students will no longer have the option of participating in a Chicago business experience but instead will go international, participating in either a China or South Africa and Namibia business experience.
Since the inception of the MBA program three years ago, students have participated in business experiences in Chicago, Europe, China or South Africa and Namibia. However, Professional and Graduate Studies administrators made the switch to an all-global business experience after receiving mixed reviews from students who had completed their trips.
“Those who participated in the international experience came back and said that they were really positively impacted and their lives were changed by going international,” said Robert Simpson, PGS associate provost.
“Those who went to Chicago thought it was a good experience but didn’t really have the same global impact on their life and it wasn’t really a life-changing experience.”
Students entering the program will choose one of the two international trips being offered roughly 12 months into their 18-month program. Students are required to go on a global trip in order to graduate and must complete a paper concerning their experience once they return.
Trips to China average about 30 students per trip while the largest group that has gone to Africa was 12 persons. The next trip, which will be to China, will take place over the undergraduate’s spring break, March 6-15, 2009. Undergraduate business students are invited to attend.
According to Simpson, who has gone on every business experience, the goal of the trips is to touch on international business, faith-based business, the educational systems of the country and the political issues each country is facing.
“In the MBA program, we talk about being a global business focus and having a global perspective,” Simpson said, who recently returned from a business experience to China. “We do that from a Christian worldview and just having a broad global perspective on how God’s called us all to be in a very unique place, wherever that is that he’s called us to.”
“It’s really a wonderful way to grow,” said MBA-graduate Monono Negash, who traveled to China last March. “It gives a different expression to what you’re learning. It gives understanding.”
For some, like MBA graduate Tricia Harney, it wasn’t until after their global experience that the curriculum began to come alive to them.
“I took the finance class and I struggle with that a little bit but as soon as I met the president of the banking system [in Namibia] and the CEO of the Namibian stock exchange that all these light bulbs went on,” Harney said. “You saw everything you read about, that you studied, that you did reports on, that you did team projects on - none of that would have been successful without seeing that and experiencing that.”
Simpson believes that the global experience will also help his students stand out in the workplace.
“Many in business have not had that experience. Now, they have their MBA and they have that global experience,” Simspon said. “Even though it’s a short, 10-day experience, they at least come away from that going, ‘Oh, I think I get a little more on how culture works and what happens in that country.’”
“It helps with negotiations and dealings with people from other countries,” Negash said, adding that her job in healthcare is often interlinked with China. “It helps us to understand their culture.”
According to Harney, a global experience is essential for all MBA programs.
“The world has gotten so small and the pace is so accelerated and the dynamics of policy and regulation are so complicated and interlinked,” Harney said. “I don’t think a program without a well-programmed and well-rounded international experience is complete. You’re leaving your classes at the door and you’re not learning everything you need.”