SOM expands global initiatives

Two new initiatives in the School of Management’s Global Network for Advanced Management aim to strengthen the bonds between SOM and the international business community.

Representatives from 20 schools in the Global Network, a group of 23 international business schools that SOM Dean Edward Snyder created last year, met last week in Beijing to discuss the network’s progress since its founding. At the meeting, SOM decided to partner with five new business schools along with one of its initial partners to organize an additional Immersion Week in October, in which students from schools in the Global Network can take classes at peer institutions. The school will also launch two for-credit online courses — one on mobile banking and one on competition policy — that will virtually convene students from Global Network schools this fall in its effort to expand its international presence.

“Giving students the option to work the way they might one day work in multinational corporations is in itself an important pedagogical objective,” said Senior Associate Dean for the full-time MBA program Anjani Jain. “We want to see how technology can enable learning across different communities.”

Immersion Week — an initiative that allows second-year MBA students at SOM and at schools in the Global Network to take intensive weeklong courses on one of the participant schools’ campuses — took place for the first time this March between SOM and four other business schools, and 90 percent of SOM students said they would like the school to organize an Immersion Week each semester, according to a survey taken after the initial Immersion Week. The school will still organize Immersion Week as planned in spring 2014 with its four original partners, universities located in Brazil, China, Turkey and Spain, said Senior Associate Dean for Executive MBA and Global Programs David Bach ’98.

Bach praised Immersion Week for helping SOM forge connections with new institutions in different regions of the world, adding that the school hopes to partner with up to five new Global Network schools over the next three years. The program’s growth is financially sustainable because SOM has received several gifts to host Immersion Week, said Joel Getz, SOM senior associate dean for development and alumni relations.

Bach said the additional Immersion Week and the two online courses SOM will pilot in the fall both aim to enable SOM students to “work across time zones, language barriers and business perspectives.”

“Imagine the National University of Singapore offering a course on family business in Southeast Asia — that’s something we might not offer, and through these courses, students will be able to take it,” Bach said. “These are student exchanges, even though people don’t physically move off campus.”

All SOM administrators interviewed said Snyder has “tangibly” used the Global Network to increase the school’s international presence.

Snyder could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

The additional Immersion Week will involve business schools in Costa Rica, Ireland, Spain, Japan, Israel and Mexico.

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