Consulting Abroad Changes MBA Students’ Perspectives
June 28, 2011 – The benefits of a Georgetown MBA education extend around the world through the McDonough School of Business’ required Global Residency Program, for which students advise companies on several different continents.
Each year, professor of economics and international business Stanley Nollen, who oversees the program, meets with other faculty members to develop about 100 projects for MBA candidates to address real-world issues, questions or problems.
The students then collaborate with executives at the organizations abroad and Fortune 500 companies with overseas operations.
Kirsten Grubbs (G’11) and four other MBA students, for example, went abroad in March to work with Ninomaxx, a clothing company hoping to expand its market beyond Southeast Asia.
Changing Her Life
Grubbs didn't know what to expect from her experience in Vietnam, but "what we found when we got there was a thriving, burgeoning economic marketplace that was on the cusp of exploding onto the global scene,” says the alumna who now works in business development for a biotech company specializing in cancer treatment
Grubbs and her classmates helped Ninomaxx, a Vietnamese clothing company, with its global branding strategy. The students started working on the project in November 2010, learning about the fashion industry and business practices that might help the company.
“The teams work remotely with company representatives for several months,” Nollen explains. “They gather research, data, and other information necessary to address their project’s objectives. They then travel to the company’s facilities and make their presentation.”
Sense of Self
Ninomaxx sent Grubbs and her team clothing samples from their upcoming line. As part of their multifaceted research, the students conducted a survey with those asked to check out the clothes on racks in Georgetown’s student center.
Then the team presented their findings and recommendations to Ninomaxx’s board of directors in Vietnam.
“Our group stood up in front of a real-life board of directors and they were ecstatic about the recommendations and let us know they were going to implement some of them – it gave me a stronger sense of self,” Grubbs says.
The Global Residency Program began in 1995, and its proponents say it sets Georgetown’s MBA program apart from others in the country.
In recent years, teams of four to six students have traveled to such countries as Brazil, China, South Africa and India, working with companies as diverse as Philips Electronics to the World Bank.
“Our hope is that we can equip our students to be confident and comfortable operating in most any country or culture of the world,” says Nollen. “And that they are able to go where they need to go, whether it’s their home country, a country they know, or something very different, and that they are able to take on tasks and problems where needed, wherever they are.”