Fostering connection: Inside our pre-MBA Culture Camp
This content was originally published in Poets & Quants.
In August, we hosted our pre-MBA Culture Camp experience in person for the first time. The three-day experience helps integrate international students into the Kellogg MBA program by introducing them to their domestic colleagues, and it helps those U.S. students better understand the diversity of cultures they will experience in the Kellogg MBA. Read on to learn more about Culture Camp.
Kellogg hosted an online pilot version of its Culture Camp program in July 2021, the goal being to foster meaningful connection between domestic and international students before starting their MBAs. It was successful, so much so that the Kellogg School’s leadership decided to try a live version once that became logistically possible.
This year, with coronavirus restrictions on travel receding, Kellogg’s Global Experience team ran the Culture Camp as an in-person weekend bootcamp. Forty-three students representing 15 nationalities participated in the three-day August program.
“Students took away an understanding of just how feasible it is to form rich connections, as long as they’re willing to step outside of their comfort zones and be intentional about doing it,” says Gabrielle Viard, Kellogg’s associate director of international student experience.
‘You're a better human when you're aware of each others' differences’
“It’s much better to make mistakes here in an open, educational environment rather than when there is more on the line,” says Deborah Kraus, Kellogg Culture Camp leader and the school’s senior director of global programs.
Kraus realized that Kellogg needed a way not only to integrate international students into the Kellogg MBA, but also to prepare their domestic colleagues for intentional and thoughtful ways to engage with their international peers. Foreign students make up a large portion of Kellogg’s population: While this year’s class stats haven’t been released yet, 36% of the Class of 2023 were from outside of the U.S.
Kraus believes that blending international and domestic students in the Culture Camp provides a way to gain new perspectives — a key skill to becoming successful, global leaders.
“You’re a better human when you’re aware of each others’ differences,” Kraus says. “Plus, it’s critical to being successful in terms of business; there’s no way you won’t be engaging with people from other cultures in your career. And we want to help students be really good at that.”
Students in this year’s Culture Camp hailed from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Egypt, Greece, India, Japan, the Netherlands, Peru, Russia, Taiwan, Vietnam, and the United States, with the latter making up a quarter of the turnout.
Read the original article in its entirety on Poets & Quants to hear perspectives from this year’s participants.