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Emory Goizueta Initiates Pilot Program to Enhance Global Immersion Experience

Emory Global

Globalization is a key feature of Emory University’s Goizueta Business School. There’s an eye on international business throughout the university, coming in many forms. In lectures, students spend hours pouring over case studies from around the world. In addition, 17 percent of the current Class of 2021 are international students representing 31 countries, and more than 20 exchange students and 31 international company-sponsored students enter the MBA program each year.

However, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t areas where Goizueta can improve. Recently, Goizueta Dean Erika James pointed out an often-overlooked global resource: collaboration. James’ goal is to create more opportunities for students when it comes to international immersion as well as partnership. Her strategic plan is to explore more global collaboration opportunities across all eight focal areas for the campus.

As part of this global expansion, Dean James plans to continue to increase awareness of the influence and impact of global business firms, particularly since students consistently interact with these foreign partners and are hired by them.

“There is nothing new about globalization; no one even talks about it anymore,” James said in a recent interview featured on the Goizueta website. “In fact, companies expect that students will be on global teams or will interact with an international clientele. I want to make sure we are doing all we can to prepare students for an increasingly interconnected world. While advances in technology and transportation make the world smaller, it is still a melting pot of rich cultural differences and varied business norms. Our students can’t afford to not be aware of as much detail as possible.”

Goizueta Global MBA Strategy

According to Brian Mitchell, the associate dean of the full-time MBA program, international travel opportunities are key to understanding business. Personally, he’s recognized how a country’s culture and history influence how business is done, and he feels that it’s vital for MBA students to experience this first-hand. To do this, Mitchell reached out to Dean James to find more ways to strengthen Goizueta’s international perspective.

“As we discussed the student element of the global strategy, we saw a real opportunity to offer an interdisciplinary aspect of teaching culture, history, and language before our students actually go and immerse themselves in another part of the world,” Mitchell explained in an interview. “These courses would be taught by experts at Emory.”

Through leveraging the university’s network, Mitchell was able to bring cultural awareness alive for students and form a new globally-focused pilot program for MBAs. The pilot program explored the idea of including pre-travel lectures to enhance the international immersion experience. They were a huge success.

Goizueta full-time MBA students, staff, and faculty lead pose in Brazil.

Pre-Travel Lectures Pilot Program

Goizueta’s pre-travel lectures are short, interactive courses that introduce MBA students to their travel country before they ever leave the U.S. The initial pilot happened last fall ahead of MBA trip to Columbia when students participated in a six-week course that introduced them to important aspects of Columbian culture. There was language instruction as well as discussions based on food, geography, and industry. The goal was to teach students necessary vocabulary in Spanish as well as to introduce students to the economically diverse country of Columbia.

Then, in early 2018, before an MBA trip to Brazil, the pilot program extended across campus. In this case, students took a six-session pre-travel course taught by Associate Professor of Modern Latin American History Thomas Rogers, and the Director of Emory’s Portuguese program Catarina Teixeira.

“Our goal for the class was for students to understand one core truth about Brazil, which actually applies to almost any given country: it is a complicated and multilayered place whose complexity reveals a rich history and a vibra

Emory connections enhanced the cultural experience for students heading to Brazil.

nt actuality,” Teixeira on said. “If they understand that and grasp some of the basic contours of the country’s history and the contemporary moment, we’re happy.”

Once the trips began, what the faculty found was that the pre-travel lectures changed the experience. Not only were the initial lectures helpful and informative when it came to helping students understand the economic environment and social inequality, but they also did a great job helping them be more understanding and less critical.

“Ultimately, exposure to society, history, and language is to help students show up with a level of empathy when visiting a new country,” Mitchell explained. “When you show up with that increased level of empathy, it helps your learning, understanding, appreciation, and ability to lead in that context. Instead of just showing up and going 100 miles an hour, you enter with an appreciation for how this environment came to be: from the political, historical, and societal aspects.”

Eventually, Mitchell hopes to continue to expand and update the pilot program as they judge its effectiveness and scalability. However, those lectures are only a small extent of the school’s global strategy. In the coming months, Goizueta expects to continue to enhance its global offerings after some time to research and implement.

“This strategy will evolve but, for one, I’m happy to see collaboration in the university that allows for a deep, swift dive on culture and allows for trips overseas to be all the more beneficial,” James said.

You can find the original report here.

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About the Author


Kelly Vo    

Kelly Vo is a full-time freelance writer and content marketing specialist. She specializes in writing about MBA programs, digital marketing, and personal development. A business school and brand development expert, you can find Kelly at http://kevowriting.com/ where she helps businesses and executives develop their authentic voice.

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