Carlson School students now have more opportunities than ever to study business on a global scale, and in doing so, fulfill the international experience requirement. The Carlson Global Institute introduced three new courses last year that have sparked enthusiasm for international exploration and renewed students’ interests in areas of business they might not have otherwise considered.

Following supply chain in real time

Tracing the Global Supply Chain immerses undergraduate students into the intricacies of supply chains on an international level, and gives them hands-on experience with the subject matter.

“The purpose of the class is to educate, excite, promote, and attract undergraduate students to the supply chain major and ultimately to a lifelong career in supply chain,” says Senior Lecturer Steven Huchendorf, who teaches the class.

In this course, 29 students followed products’ supply chains from store shelves all the way back to the source of the raw materials. For example, they witnessed the journey of a Polaris snowmobile from manufacturing to assembly. They visited the Polaris engine assembly plant in Wisconsin, followed the components back up the chain through the Los Angeles C.H. Robinson warehouse, on to the BNSF railway operation, across the Long Beach Port Authority, back to China through the port of Shenzhen China, where they concluded at the Chinese parts supplier. 

In total, the students visited 15 ports, terminals, crossdock operations, and manufacturing plants.

“If I didn’t go on this program, I wouldn’t have decided on supply chain as a major. The experience showed me what supply chain is about in real life, and really brought all the concepts to life. It’s so much fun to see how international trade and business work together, then apply it.” 


—Rahaf Alaish, ’17 BSB

They saw firsthand how international trade impacts the supply chain; how operations is linked to product design; and how companies try to ensure working conditions, safety, and environmental protection in corporate social responsibility and sustainability.

The experience inspired several students to imagine a whole new career path. At the start of the class, of the 29 students enrolled in the course, 16 had not yet declared a major. After completing the international course, nine of the students said they were planning to declare a supply chain major, and four planned to add a supply chain minor to their degree.

Evaluating new medical technologies, exploring a new market

The Medical Industry Leadership Institute (MILI) Global Valuation Laboratory challenged MBA students to evaluate a real-world medical technology and determine its potential value to the healthcare market in China and throughout the world.

Steve Scott Doug

The Carlson School partnered with the University of Shanghai for Science and Technology (USST), an institution with one of the largest medical device education programs in the world, to provide two medical inventions for the students to examine. In teams, they performed a market analysis—researched intellectual property rights, sized up potential markets, and completed an investment analysis— to determine the invention’s potential for success in global markets.

To better comprehend the healthcare system in China, students visited hospitals; toured companies like Pfizer, Medtronic, and Cardinal Health; and worked alongside engineering students from USST.

“Health is truly a global market, and innovation can come from anywhere,” says Professor Stephen Parente, director of the Medical Industry Leadership Institute. “When students explore markets outside the United States, they learn about how those other economies might function, but they also think about ways we could be acting more efficiently or creatively in our own system."

Developing a sustainable accounting framework

Integrated Corporate Reporting and the Triple Bottom Line explored a forward-thinking method of accounting that enables businesses to be better stewards of constrained resources. Integrated Reporting is an accounting framework that informs stakeholders about the economic, environmental, and social aspects of an organization, and their impacts.

Carlson School Ed Abroad

“Some assets—like using water or air, or the value of employees—aren’t recorded on the balance sheet because they’re difficult to measure. So this integrated reporting framework is trying to find a way to measure those,” says Accounting Senior Lecturer Frank Beil.

The course brought MBA students to the United Kingdom, where companies and scholars have made important strides in integrated reporting. The students visited companies like PwC and other firms at the forefront of this trend.

According to Beil, in a world where natural resources are increasingly scarce, it’s crucial for tomorrow’s business leaders to look beyond the assets on the balance sheet, and account for the materials firms are using up—a practice that is not yet common in the United States.

“Ten to twenty years from now, the students in this class are going to be at the director level and C-suite level of firms. So they’ll have the tools, the skills, and the mindset to really affect the change. And they’ll have the information they need to have a holistic view of the firm,” says Beil.