Tuck administrators, students prepare for global experience requirement

by Michael Qian | 4/7/15 7:14pm

Two decades ago, only one percent of Walmart’s stores were overseas. Today, half of its over 11,000 stores are abroad — a global business expansion that underlines the importance of giving students at the Tuck School of Business international exposure, associate dean for the masters of business administration program Phillip Stocken said.

Beginning with the Class of 2017, Tuck students must satisfy a global insight requirement through one of three options, which includes global first-year projects, on-site consulting abroad and a global insight expedition, or an approved alternative.

Though the requirement itself is new, it builds upon an existing and high rate of global learning at Tuck. More than two-thirds of the Class of 2014, for example, traveled on some type of international expedition during their time at Tuck.

“Tuck students have been clamoring for more international exposure,” Stocken said, adding that the school has expanded its programming in response.

In 2009, one group of students travelled to India as part of the first global insight expedition — a faculty-led travel course open to all years.This past spring interim, Tuck faculty led seven expeditions to Israel, Japan, Georgia, the United Arab Emirates and South Africa, among other countries.

“It’s one thing to read about Brazil, but it’s another thing to actually go there and talk to people,” Erica Johnston Tu’15 said about her global insight expedition last spring.

Johnston explained that her previous experience running a company’s international marketing program reinforced her decision to go on such a trip.

While in Brazil, she visited several businesses and organizations, including the M&M- and Twix-manufacturing Mars Center of Cocoa Science, where she said she learned about the relationship between social and strategic initiatives.

Global insight expeditions director Lisa Miller said the program — which will accommodate up to 200 people a year — allows students to apply business frameworks to the real world.

“More and more — whether you’re American or not — you encounter people from all over the world as part of your working careers, and so there’s tremendous value in having exposure — while people are still students — to the way business is done in different parts of the world," business administration professor Adam Kleinbaum said.

Tanya Gulnik Tu’15 recognizes the value of that exposure. She participated in both a global insight expedition and an OnSite Global Consulting course, in which students spend 10-12 weeks planning and executing a real-world consulting engagement for a client. The OnSite program includes three weeks of primary research at an international venue.

“The idea is that we create opportunities for Tuck students to work with companies on a real world consulting engagement,” OnSite director Kerry Laufer said. “The idea is that they can lead, plan and execute this project to apply the skills they learn at Tuck to a real-world challenge.”

Echoing Johnston’s sentiments, Gulnik said that when students travel abroad, they have opportunities to think more critically and question the material learned in a classroom.

“Honestly, even in the Tuck application essay, it asks you about global experiences,” Gulnik said. “It’s something important to Tuck. It’s important to me.”

Students can also fulfill the requirement through first-year projects with an international focus.

First-year project director Becky Rice said she anticipates that about 45 people will pursue a project this upcoming year.

Interviewed Tuck students, faculty and staff members said they agreed that the introduction of a global insight requirement was a positive addition to the school’s curriculum.

“I think that until now, the current approach has made sense, in part because the world used to be a quite different place than it is now,” Kleinbaum said, adding that the decision to create a global insight requirement reflects evolving realities of the marketplace.

Johnston said she did not think the change was unexpected.

“I don’t think [the requirement] was a radical change,” shesaid. “I don’t think it was a surprise to anyone, and I don’t think anyone opposes it.”

Students can also design their own program, building on an international internship or foreign exchange program.

Stocken said he envisions these globally-oriented opportunities as a way of better connecting the Dartmouth community. Tuck students could collaborate with undergraduates on projects, he said, citing a current proposal set to take place in Kosovo as one such example.

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