As business goes global, more MBA students are looking for ways to gain international experience. A number of leading business schools offer students an opportunity to gain in-country experience while using their knowledge of business to help address pressing social issues. Today we’ll take a closer look at some of these programs.
At Stanford, the school’s Global Management Program organizes the Global Management Immersion Experience (GMIX), a month-long internship that takes place at the end of the first summer, usually after a longer traditional internship. Sponsor organizations range from international companies to small startups and non-profits, and they generally seek students to work on a focused project over the course of a few weeks. Following the international experience itself, students have the option to complete a research project and compose a paper on a topic related to their internship, earning two units of credit.
At Wharton, the school’s International Volunteer Program (IVP), a non-profit, student-run organization, has helped small teams of student volunteers arrange consulting engagements with charitable institutions in developing countries for more than 20 years. These summer trips usually last two to four weeks. During the summer of 2009, students traveled to such countries as Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Kenya, Zambia, Bolivia and Mexico. The club’s annual Winter Ball fundraiser is one of the most heavily attended student-run events at Wharton, and raises money to cover most of the travel and organizational costs of the program.
At Haas, the International Business Development (IBD) course is one of the most popular electives. Open only to first-year students, the course sends small teams of students to consult at client sites around the world for three weeks each summer. Students selected for participation are assigned to project teams in January of the first year and work with their teams in the spring semester to conduct background research and analysis. Following the end of first-year classes in mid-May, each team spends a dedicated three weeks on-site with the client, completing such projects as preparing a business plan, conducting market analysis, developing marketing or entry strategies, or recommending operational changes. In keeping with the course’s focus on international development, the sponsor organizations are largely regional companies or non-profits, including the Wildlife Conservation Society, the Beahrs Environmental Leadership Program, and Comaco.
For more information on the international consulting opportunities at the leading schools, be sure to check out the International Focus and Special Programs sections of the Clear Admit School Guides!