Globalization has become a bit of a buzzword over the past decade. People use it about as much as students throw around the word “leadership” in business school and about as frequently as MBA admissions teams talk about “fit” when discussing MBA applications. But fortunately, many institutions today are taking globalization pretty seriously, including Kellogg, where students are offered a plethora of opportunities to engage in international opportunities.
I bring this up as about half of the first year class has just returned from GIM trips to begin the spring quarter here at Kellogg. My specific GIM Trip went to Kenya, while some of my other classmates headed off to China, Southeastern Asia, South Africa, Brazil, India, and a number of other countries. The thing that stood out to me about Kenya is that the trip is part of the Global Health Initiative, a project that brings together faculty and students from across Northwestern to address the unique challenges of global health.
Furthermore, many other students embarked on their own trips for spring break, some to enjoy a few weeks abroad with friends and others to visit friends and family that they left to come to Kellogg. This year students went to Israel, Patagonia, Chile, the UAE and other far-reaching locations.
In addition to GIM, Kellogg offers a variety of ways to take part in international activities. Kellogg’s international major is the most basic way to take advantage of its International offerings, where students not only have the opportunity to study accounting, finance, marketing, and other management topics in an international context but also the chance to get real-world experience abroad, through classes like Global Lab and Global Initiatives in Management courses, both of which recently got back from trips abroad for spring break.
In addition to these academic experiences, students have also taken part in non-classroom activities. While most incoming students participate in KWEST, there is ample opportunity to lead KWEST as a second-year student and participate in Kellogg Corps at the end of the summer.
In the midst of all of these opportunities, students are continually encouraged to demonstrate the ability to work across boundaries. They must absorb and build consensus amidst a variety of competing opinions and perspectives while still articulating their own views. They must also demonstrate the ability to work with and through other people. They are expected to have the capacity to confront a wide variety of issues.
Because more than just the trips themselves, it’s also about opening up your mind and understanding the importance of gaining new experiences and perspectives. Especially since many of us will work on diverse teams. And these multicultural teams have an obvious advantage – they experience new things and provide a different way of thinking.
So, the next question is, does Kellogg actually do that well? I suspect everyone might have their own opinions on that one. But what Kellogg does provide is the venue for students to engage. To take trips. Engage other students. Learn different languages. Take a variety of classes. And travel with people who know the country. And Kellogg has even upped their game recently. In a recent press release, Kellogg announced the following:
“On the global front, we continue to review all of our international programs, and I am pleased to welcome Paul Christensen to the Office of the Dean in the newly-created role of Associate Dean for Global Programs.” He will be in charge of tracking our global activities (including both teaching and research), managing our EMBA partnerships, and helping us to craft our global strategy.”
I’m glad Kellogg recognizes how important globalization really is. Because in the end, organizations that understand the value of globalization are the ones that will not only change their own industries but also change the world.
This post above represents a recent article I wrote an article for Kellogg’s newspaper, the Merger.