How Has the International Experience at Carlson Changed the Way You Look at the World?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

When I first arrived at the Carlson School more than 20 years ago, there were but a handful of faculty in the Strategic Management and Organization department studying international business. So I was filled with tremendous pride this afternoon as we celebrated how far we have come with global management education, research, and outreach and all that our school has done to help students, faculty, and the community become more global as we launched the Carlson Global Institute.

You wouldn't guess it by our location on the map, but we are better connected to what's happening worldwide than most business schools. In fact, I've had associate deans of international programs at several other schools wanting to study the Carlson School to figure out how we do it.

We were fortunate to have had leaders early on - folks like Professor Mahmood Zaidi -- who not only recognized that there would be a need for business education in emerging economies but foresaw that to develop this country's future business leaders you must provide an educational experience that takes faculty and students out of the country.

Last week at our Board of Overseers meeting, we heard from two undergraduate students, Miles and Emily, who had accompanied Professor Ravi Bapna to India for the international version of one of our core classes in Management Information Systems. Not only did Ravi and the students meet with firms in Hyderabad and Bangalore, and other places and learned to play cricket with students at the Indian School of Business where they were hosted; they visited NGOs and even a school that was working with underprivileged children.

I wish everyone could have heard these students talk about their experience. They came back from this experience transformed. It opened up new horizons for Emily as she spent her summer working in South Africa, and for Miles as he wrestled with the juxtaposition and coexistence of rich and poor and twenty-first century society with the ancient that is everywhere in India.

Thanks to the efforts of the faculty and staff in our Carlson Global Institute, there are many of you who have become global citizens like Emily, Miles, and the others in Ravi's class. For students and alumni who are reading this, I would very much enjoy hearing your stories.

How has the international experience you received at Carlson changed the way you look at the world?