Lakshmi Raman stands strong with her experience of 25+ years in the field of academic administration and teaching. She believes in upskilling herself from time to time and exhibits strong informative learning. Ms. Raman associated herself with S P Jain in the year 2006 as Registrar and with her expertise currently spearheads S P Jain School of global management as Vice President (Administration), in the span of 14 years with the organization, has taken over larger responsibilities and prominent functions – from Admission to graduation, Strategy formulation & implementation, Operations, People services, corporate relations to name a few.
The concept of global learning was conceived in the late 1960s and early 1970s—a time of heightened awareness of and concern for global issues. Big companies were starting to set their sights on international markets. Demand for a new type of business manager emerged—those who could work in global teams and understand how to cross borders and leverage global opportunities.
As the world became increasingly globalized, business schools started to acknowledge that education was incomplete unless it prepared students for the rigors of a global workplace. As a result, ‘global learning’ found its way into the b-school curriculum, and today, it has become relatively common in business programs at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
So, how does global learning lead to more efficient managers?
Today, global business is all about embracing diversity in cultures, languages, people, history, and business practices and adapting to variable economic, political, and competitive market forces. All of these are taught in most business courses but don’t you agree that the most effective way to build a global mindset is to immerse yourself in a multi-cultural environment. This is where international programs offer an advantage.
A number of leading business programs offer international learning opportunities for students in the form of short-term global immersion, international exchange, or semester abroad programs. These are good options for students who want a degree with an international flavor.
A handful of universities and new-age business schools have taken the concept of global learning one step ahead by introducing multi-city / multi-country learning programs that offer students the opportunity to live and study (and even work) in two or more countries for a period of time—usually ranging from one semester to a year. These are best suited to students who are serious about expanding their horizons and developing a global mindset, regardless of whether or not they plan to pursue a career overseas.
Stepping out of the comfort of your country and into several countries provides an in-depth look at how different cultures compare. Students who experience this are able to relate to others and work effectively in culturally diverse situations. No matter the cultural context, they can accomplish business goals respectfully and effectively.
This multi-city experience has also proven to develop real-world skills that employers love and value—the ability to communicate with confidence, empathize, solve problems, think critically and creatively, and influence people.
Through projects and internships, programs that are hosted in several countries give students hands-on experience working in an international setting. Industry tours, guest lectures, and field study allow students to ‘extend’ classroom learning, view real examples, and have the chance to be involved, physically, with real situations. They add new dimensions to classroom learning through ‘teachable moments’ that rarely occur in the classroom. For instance, imagine learning about the digitization of supply chains at school and seeing it come to life during a visit to the DHL Innovation Centre in Dubai. Or, learning about international expansion and new market entry strategies from Coca-Cola’s Head of Sales Operations in Asia.
Such programs also include the opportunity to learn new languages and develop an awareness of different communication styles, cultural customs, organizational hierarchies, manners, and etiquette. Even the knowledge of business greetings or dining etiquette—which varies significantly from one culture to another—can give students an edge at work.
With reputed business programs drawing students and faculty from around the world, the diversity in the classroom in itself can add tremendous value to the global learning experience. You will automatically become part of a dynamic international community where you will have invaluable access to people representing different professional backgrounds, cultures, and work experiences. You will be forced to step out of your comfort zone, expand your perspectives and be tactful (and mindful) in dealing with others.