First-year MBA students at Michigan State University’s Broad College of Business spent the week of February 25 immersed in lessons on globalization and international business. In a departure from their usual class schedule, these students took part in BroadWeek — a week-long experience that takes place midway through each semester of their MBA program to focus on special areas of interest and provide opportunities to gain real-world knowledge and experience.
“The focus of the week was on helping the students understand the policy issues and practical problems that businesses face when dealing with globalization, and providing students an opportunity to interface with faculty experts and industry leaders on various dimensions of international business,” says Sanjay Gupta, associate dean of MBA and professional master’s programs.
During the week, the MBA students took part in classes ranging from “Leading with Cultural Intelligence: Managing Effectively across Cultures,” to “International Trade and Economics,” and “Global Sustainability,” among others. These courses were taught by MSU and Broad College faculty, as well as speakers from the week’s corporate partner, Dow Chemical. Put into teams, the students were also tasked with writing a paper on global sustainability.
“Our students expect to work for multinational corporations and organizations that impact business and industry on a global scale,” says Wayne Hutchison, Full-Time MBA director of academic programs and student services, explaining the importance of these lessons. “Because of this, students need to be aware of the challenges of doing business on a global scale, from multiple perspectives.”
With exposure to the academic, corporate, and governmental perspectives associated with international business, the week’s activities provided real-world examples of the challenges in global business today. Dow Chemical’s senior leadership, for example, discussed “International Financial Reporting Standards” and the logistical concerns surrounding management and operation of more than 600 entities, as well as political and economic factors that come with doing business in more than 100 countries worldwide.
Rick Simonds, professor of finance, acted as the week’s faculty advisor. He emphasized the value of student’s exploring their role in international and global business issues. “Students are entering a work force where a premium is placed on individuals with knowledge and enthusiasm for international assignments,” he says. “This week helped raise awareness and prepare our students for the complexities and opportunities of firms in the global marketplace.”
In addition to the out-of-the-classroom BroadWeek experiences, MBA students are encouraged to participate in study abroad programs and utilize resources such as Global Edge, an online source for global business knowledge available through the International Business Center in the Broad College. These collective opportunities prepare Broad students to be competitive in a global business world.