One of the highlights of Michigan State University’s Executive MBA program is the required Global Marketplace course and residency week. The experience focuses on the opportunities, costs and risks of conducting business around the globe. The anchor of the course is a 7- to 10-day residency abroad that provides firsthand experiences with international business and the global economy.
Each year, the Executive MBA program team identifies one or more countries with an interesting or emerging economy and a culture different from the United States. Past EMBA student groups have traveled to Brazil, South Africa, Thailand, India, Hungary, Argentina, South Korea and many other countries around the world. Our faculty coordinate a rich set of business visits, presentations and corporate tours designed to expose students to a wide breadth of industries within that country, and we weave in key cultural experiences and representative meals so that students gain a holistic understanding of the region. There’s not much free time as we seek to soak up as much as possible. Our students routinely say that the Global Marketplace was one of the most rewarding aspects of Broad’s top-ranked EMBA program.
The Global Marketplace has been a priority for our Executive MBA program for decades, and our students consistently say their time abroad had a life-changing impact on how they see the world. There are so many amazing insights to share. Here are just a few highlights from previous years’ students and faculty:
- In Beijing, China: “We ended the art tour at about 5 and I headed out on my own to look at the grounds surrounding the Temple of Heaven. It was past the point in the day where the temple was actually open, so it was fairly empty and peaceful except for a few groups doing yoga and a group of people flying kites.”
- In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: “It’s hard to believe the level of activity here. The United Nations Summit on Sustainable Development is all around us. We’ve seen world leaders and delegations from many countries. Sirens are sounding, horns are honking and the city is buzzing. What an exciting time to be in Rio!”
- In Mumbai, India: “Our Executive MBAs met with leaders of an NGO that’s helping to make a difference in India’s slums before being guided through Dharavi to see the many businesses in operation there: plastic recycling, garment making, leather coloring, small shops and more.”
- In Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam: “So chaotic! There’s so much happening everywhere. It’s crazy to learn about the American war, to see the energy of the people and the opportunities for business expansion. What an amazing experience!”
It’s fast-paced and comprehensive. Throughout the course, students gain insights that help them effectively work globally: knowledge of international finance, global marketing, international supply chains and global cultural differences that impact business. The academic work is done before and after the residency week so that the time in country can focus on firsthand experiences, interacting with locals and sharing observations with classmates.
When we return from the experience, Flex, East Lansing and Troy students come back together to share what they’ve learned as they compare experiences from different regions. In the wrap-up classroom experience, they apply their new knowledge and perspectives as they present recommendations for global expansion to their peers. They complete the experience with a personal reflection plan for continuing to leverage their global competencies.
As one student said, “The international experience illuminated the fact that cultural intelligence is the foundation for interacting professionally with global markets, developing a career in multinational organizations and enhancing business acumen that transcends foreign borders. Proactively embracing the value systems of other cultures will open a passageway for learning that will naturally inspire personal and professional growth by gaining a new perspective on how the priorities of values, relationships, time and money drive the people of the global economy.”