Preparing MBAs for the global economy

MIT Sloan Deputy Dean JoAnne Yates

Our global economy calls for managers with a global business education. A solid foundation in management theory must be accompanied not only by practical applications of that knowledge, but also by a deep understanding of the cultures and economies in other regions, exposure to students, faculty and experts from around the world, and opportunities to learn first-hand about business issues in other countries.

MIT Sloan has been a pioneer in this area, recognizing the need early on to prepare MBA students for global careers. For nearly 30 years, our MBA student body has reflected this commitment with approximately 40% of students coming from outside the U.S. And as a global institution, we’ve been able to attract and retain top faculty from around the world. Students benefit not only from professors’ cutting-edge research on international business issues, but also from their diverse perspectives on business.

We also recognized long ago the importance of providing immersive learning opportunities for students on a global scale. Starting as international field trips in emerging markets such as Cuba, these opportunities have evolved over time to include international career-related treks and hands-on projects in which over 50% of our MBA students participate.

For example, students can take our flagship international project course, known as “G-Lab,” which links teams of MBA students with entrepreneurs in emerging markets in Latin America, Africa, Southeast Asia, China, and India. Students share their knowledge, experience and research with business owners, helping them address challenges like internationalization, commercialization, financing, and marketing. While supporting these entrepreneurs with their management skills, our students gain invaluable first-hand experience in global economies.

Because of G-lab’s success and popularity among students, we recently added two additional international hands-on learning programs: China Lab and India Lab. Each project-based course features a combination of focused class work, consulting projects for high-potential entrepreneurial clients, and intensive faculty mentoring – all of which leads to students making a real impact.

MIT Sloan’s commitment to global business education goes beyond our students. Through global programs, we provide people and organizations with the knowledge necessary to productively conduct business in every corner of the globe. Some of our primary initiatives in this area include collaborations with the top schools in China, South Korea, Brazil, Russia, Portugal and most recently Turkey. We’re also engaged in educational and research initiatives throughout five continents. Explaining our goal for many of these programs, MIT President Susan Hockfield said in a recent speech, “Rather than produce a ‘cookie-cutter’ replica of MIT Sloan, the MIT-China Management Education Project encourages Chinese management faculty to develop MIT Sloan’s knowledge base responsively to local context and opportunity.”

As we have done for more than 30 years, MIT Sloan will continue to innovate and lead in global management education. With our rigorous training of future business leaders and dedication to the establishment of management practices that strengthen local economies, we help shape global business – the ultimate marketplace for our graduates.

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