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Kellogg students on the March 2008 China-South Korea GIM trip met with Lee Myung-bak, center, president of South Korea.

More than 500 Kellogg students participate in global leadership excursions

Annual GIM trips combine theory and practice, giving students intensive hands-on experience — and even a chance to meet world leaders

By Meg Washburn

4/2/2008 - In March, about 35 students from the Kellogg School’s Full-Time MBA Program met with Lee Myung-bak, president of South Korea, as part of the school’s Global Initiatives in Management (GIM) program. GIM is a global business leadership course designed by Kellogg students,in conjunction with faculty advisers,as a way to provide first-hand knowledge of the culture, economics and governance of foreign countries.

In addition to meeting Myung-bak in Seoul, South Korea, students on the China-South Korea excursion traveled to Shanghai and Beijing,interacting with senior business leaders, foreign dignitaries and Kellogg alumni. They also researched an array of topics, including competition in the Chinese and Korean mobile devices industry; the local automobile industry; the success of Korean high-tech firms versus Chinese tech manufacturers; and the effects of rapid expansion in China and Korea’s real estate markets.

And that reflected the itinerary of just one GIM trip.

All told, more than 500 Kellogg School students traveled to locales such as Argentina, Botswana, Brazil, Dubai, the European Union, India, Japan, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, Uruguay, Vietnam, and Zambia. During the trips, the students met with business leaders, government officials and Kellogg graduates for an intimate look at the global landscape. They also conducted the primary research essential for completing their final reports and presentations required for the GIM course.

The Kellogg School’s Global Initiatives in Management program began in 1990 when a group of students organized a course and an in-country research trip to what was then the Soviet Union. During the past decade, the program has grown tremendously. It consists of 10 weeks of classroom instruction followed by two weeks of international field study and research analysis. Approximately two-thirds of students within the full-time, part-time and executive MBA programs at the Kellogg School participate annually in GIM. The GIM course and trip abroad give students valuable leadership skills while enhancing their awareness of the global business environment.