Global Focus Lessons Learned

Author: Ellen McMahon, EdD

Thursday, June 26, 2014

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Now that the week-long study program in Krakow and Warsaw Poland is over and I have reviewed the student reflection papers and their consulting presentations I am struck again by how important global programs are. Not only does the Global Focus program at LFGSM provide an opportunity for students to apply what they learn in class to issues or opportunities in a global context, but it also gives each of them the opportunity to navigate daily routines in that same global context.

The consulting projects, all US companies exploring expansion into Poland, helped structure the kind of meetings and companies visited. Through the lectures of local faculty, students were able to understand the history and context of economic transformation in Poland.  Our primary local faculty, Dr. Kris Gluc, posed provocative questions that triggered debate and reflection.

Visiting a company that began after 1989, started in a garage and is now the leading fence and garage door company in Eastern Europe, or visiting a hat company that made Russian watch caps transform into the hippest snowboarding cap and favorite of winter Olympians helped the concepts of economic transformation come to life.  Discussions with these local managers allowed students to hear firsthand what they confronted as they faced employees at the hat company when Russia was no longer able to pay her bills. Or listening to the garage door managers share the history of the company and the decision the founders had to make when they decided to move out of their own garage and into rented space.

Here are some of the things that students say about Global Focus at LFGSM:

  • Global travel, particularly to places you didn’t think of as vacation destinations, pushes you outside your comfort zone and builds your confidence.
  • On a day to day basis you face “situations” that make you rethink some of your own assumptions and challenge you to be more creative and less rigid in your thinking.
  • You begin to see your “world” as part of something bigger, and your solutions or considerations take on more expansive and inclusive perspective.
  • Global Focus at LFGSM builds connections between your own companies, your own positions and responsibilities, and allows you to see the global implications of the decisions you make.
  • You begin to realize just how easily your own perspective can become parochial and ethnocentric without the firsthand experience of the benefit of something like the Global Focus.
  • When you have such a rich and engaging experience you can’t wait to do it again!

The LFGSM Global Focus courses offered throughout the academic year are open to all students and can be substituted for an elective in any of the Specializations. The courses are also open to our Alumni. Consider expanding your thinking and challenging yourself by joining us.

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