Kellogg’s international MBA Exchange Program offers students the worldBy Sara Langen
11/18/2010 - Leaving Keio University Graduate School of Business Administration in Japan to study abroad in the United States was a challenge for Mari Hirata. Going from a class size of about 100 students to a large institution like Kellogg was daunting at first, but the diversity of the Kellogg student body and faculty made her feel right at home.
“There are so many students and faculty from different backgrounds,” she says. “The professors are really well prepared and the classes are well organized. It’s very impressive to me.”
Studying outside her home country wasn’t so much a choice as a necessity in today’s global economy, Hirata says.
“Because our business environment is getting to be more and more close quarters, it’s important to learn how to communicate in a diverse environment,” she explains. “We can learn diversity in class, but we really need to see it with our own eyes. You can’t really form your own ideas and concepts about different countries and markets until you experience them.”
Hirata is one of 103 international students who will study at Kellogg this year through the MBA Exchange Program. Another 103 Kellogg students will travel abroad to study at partner institutions. From Beijing to Buenos Aires, students get to learn about business from different perspectives and experience different cultures, says Assistant Director of Student Affairs Debbie Kraus.
“This can be an important part of the global pillar for students,” she says. “We want them to have the chance to gain a global perspective on the ground. Since business is increasingly international today, it makes them more marketable and knowledgeable.”
Kellogg began offering the program in 1980 to promote cross-cultural trade and business practices with other top-notch business schools around the world. Since then, more than 1,000 Kellogg students have participated in more than 20 countries on six continents.
In addition to exposing them to different business practices and cultures, the program also gives students the opportunity to network internationally, Kraus says. These are the reasons Evren Cakirahmetoglu `11 says he decided to study at London Business School this quarter.
“I wanted to learn from some of the best teachers in the field,” Cakirahmetoglu says. “Taking classes with students from different programs gives all of us a chance to use each other’s know-how and experiences to develop different approaches to the same problem. I would strongly advise people to go for an exchange program.”
Enjoying her experience at Kellogg, Hirata also believes students should participate in the program if they can.
“Kellogg has a lot of good partner schools and students should take advantage of that,” she says. “These programs are very valuable. I’d be happy to welcome Kellogg students to my school in Japan one day.”