The Importance of Going Global: Lisa Thompson of Cohort 56 Reflects on Her Experience in China
The opportunity to participate in study abroad as part of the MSGL Program is one of the key reasons I chose to apply to USD. It is important to get a great education at a recognized, accredited university, but it is icing on the cake to be able to actually apply course content during your studies.
Working with my Sr. Director of Human Resources, who was assisting me in chartering the course of my Masters program, we agreed that China would be a priority trip abroad, because at the time it was an emerging market for our organization. So, to China we traveled in August, 2012. Prior to the trip, students were requested to review recent business articles, practice a “little” language, and learn what we could about the culture. I also interviewed a colleague working in China to glean some valuable information.
Arriving in Shanghai initially squelched my excitement about the trip . . . it was a metropolis that reminded me of a cross between Manhattan and Vegas–big city during the day and “pretty” bright lights at night. What I didn’t realize until later is that big business is done in big cities! Shanghai turned out to be the perfect location for seeing the workings of a major city and experiencing firsthand the complexities of doing business in a foreign country.
We started in Shanghai with company tours to Intercontinental Hotel Group and WD-40 where we met with the President and an expatriate respectively. In the Comparative Management course that was offered during our trip, Dr. Pavett conducted several class sessions and encouraged our participation in pertinent case studies to analyze the best course of action for difficulties experienced with cross-cultural and virtual teams. What really pulled the course abroad together for us were the individual interactions we had with local people—we experienced the culture, the food and the history, which helped us to develop a better understanding of China.
The second part of our trip took us to Beijing by magnetic levitation train at 180 mph. You have to experience this at least once in your lifetime! Beijing was much more typical of what I expected—less big city and more time with “the people.” We were blessed to have had two trip mates that are living and working in China (Dean and Eli—Distance Learners). They made the trip extremely informative and educational for us, especially since Eli was doing business for his organization during our trip. He was able to share some of his challenges as an expat in a foreign country.
I highly recommend that MSGL students (and those from other programs) participate in at least one trip abroad as part of their studies. You will come away with information about market opportunities, challenges and business practices in the country, as well as the impact of politics and culture on businesses. This course will prepare you to recognize the differences in cultural value systems and behaviors in the global environment, how they affect leadership, and how you as a global leader can succeed in foreign cultures. This experience pulls the entire program together. Enjoy!
Lisa Thompson (Cohort 56) is currently in her third semester of the program. She serves as the Associate Director of Continuous Process Improvement for Hologic Gen-Probe in San Diego, California.
For more information regarding MSGL’s International Opportunities, please contact Scott Handley (firstname.lastname@example.org) or visit USD’s Ahlers Center for International Business.