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Global Education: How Kellogg sets the standard

What makes an MBA experience truly global?

In the first of a two-part series, we look at how Kellogg brings global into the classroom and beyond

By Karen Maxwell

5/9/2016 - Increasingly, business schools around the world are focusing on their reputations as truly global institutions. At the same time, the industry is wrestling with how to quantify a “global” business education for students who want to make sure they are being adequately prepared for the ever-expanding marketplace.

“From the environment in our classrooms to the unrivaled depth and breadth of our immersion opportunities, Kellogg truly exemplifies what it means to be a premier global business school,” says Paul Christensen, clinical professor of finance, and academic director of global study programs.

With a record 95 percent of Kellogg students participating in immersion opportunities this year, Christensen sees students and alum reaping the benefits of their global education for the rest of their lives.

Inside the Classroom
“Kellogg classrooms are global learning environments in and of themselves,” says Christensen. “Students learn from their professors, yes, but sometimes at least as much from one another. With more than 40 percent of our students and faculty holding foreign passports, engagement in the classroom takes on a global aspect naturally.”

While many business schools are creating or maintaining majors in international business and requiring students to take “global electives,” Kellogg has melded a global view into every class that’s offered.

“Global business is no longer a standalone topic, nor should it be,” says Therese McGuire, senior associate dean of curriculum and teaching. “At Kellogg, a global approach is woven into every single course. It has to be. There is not one area of business that doesn’t require a broadened, multi-faceted perspective.”

Students also have a say in their global learning opportunities, as professors query their classes about the value of their global learning in course evaluations and are expected to report to administrators specifically how their courses support the global curriculum.

Curricular excursions
In addition to courses taught in the traditional classroom environment, Kellogg offers a variety of classes that include immersion components. One of the biggest of these is the Global Initiatives and Management program (GIM), which has existed at Kellogg for 25 years. This experiential learning opportunity allows students to focus their study on a particular region or country, then embark on a research project of their own interest within that country for two weeks. Recent excursions sent students to China, India, Latin America, Asia and East Africa.

Another differentiator for Kellogg in the global education arena is its Exchange Program, the depth and breadth of which is unrivaled by any other top-tier business school. Currently, students may select from 37 overseas partner universities where they live on campus, take courses with local students, and completely immerse themselves in the culture and environment of their country of choice.

A relatively new component of Kellogg’s global curriculum is the addition of project-based courses. They begin when a global corporation (headquartered outside of the U.S.) agrees to sponsor a specific business project for students to work on. Later in the term, the students travel to the corporation’s domicile, going directly into the market to help the company solve problems in its own environment.

A timely example is Professor Susan Perkins’ International Business Strategy Lab this spring, where students are working in partnership with the Ecuadorian Minister of International Trade, ProEcuador and the City of Quito to address specific issues ranging from the best use of the country’s abundant natural resources to branding and marketing sites to more effectively draw tourism.

“These courses are like short-term consulting projects,” says Christensen, a former McKinsey consultant who started Global Lab, one of the first such classes back in 2008. “Students are recommending real-world solutions to their ‘clients’ and are able to see the results of their efforts first-hand, rather than speculating about their ideas in a classroom setting.”

Engaging Clubs & Conferences
Kellogg is home to more than 100 clubs that complement curricular learning and engage students outside of the classroom. One example is Kellogg Corps, the international pro-bono consulting organization, which allows students to put their management skills to work for organizations around the world that are seeking insights to help expand or improve their operations.

Kellogg Corps member Laura Meier ’16 recently participated in a pro-bono consulting project working with Women LEAD Nepal, the first and only organization that offers professional leadership programs for young women in Nepal. During their ten-day trip the students were able to provide counsel and assistance in several areas, including accounting, in-bound marketing, staff restructuring and fiscal sponsorship. They also held two leadership training workshops with current and former program students.

In fewer than two weeks, the Kellogg team was able to put processes into place in four areas critical to the development of the small but growing organization.

“Not only was this project a great opportunity to exercise our consulting skills while serving a nonprofit in a developing country, it also was an eye-opening experience to see firsthand the resilience of the Nepalese people as they continue to recover from last year’s devastating earthquake,” Meier adds.

Kellogg also frequently brings renowned international leaders to speak at its key conferences. Earlier this month, for example, Kellogg hosted its Emerging Markets Conference, the school’s premier platform aimed at facilitating a rich dialogue on these critical markets. With “Rediscovering Sustained Growth” as its theme, this year’s conference featured more than 30 prominent business leaders, academics, and policymakers from around the world.

Amrit Chavada ’16, who assisted with its planning and execution, says the conference was an outstanding opportunity for Kellogg students to gain in-depth knowledge about the emerging markets in China, India, Africa and Latin America.

“It’s clubs and events like these that really capture what a premier global business school Kellogg is,” Chavada says.

A truly diverse experience
From coursework-connected excursion opportunities to more than 100 clubs representing various enterprises and geographies and premier conferences, Kellogg is setting the standard for international business education both inside and outside of the classroom.

“What we’ve been able to achieve and will continue to build is a truly global business education experience for all of our students,” says Christensen. “From classrooms filled with students and faculty who come from around the world and unmatched experiential learning and exchange opportunities for students and faculty alike, it’s clear that Kellogg is the place to be if you want to learn how to succeed in the global marketplace.”