Rethinking Residential Teaching and Learning: Global Business Experience Goes Hybrid

This fall, the Global Business Initiative goes even more global.

CNDLS and the McDonough School of Business have partnered to create online course content for Global Business Experience (GBE), a foundational course for second-year Georgetown MBA students. Taught by Ricardo Ernst, Director of the Global Business Initiative, and various faculty from the areas of strategy, operations, and finance, the GBE is a 4.5 credit course that responds to the question “What does it mean to be a global leader?” by pairing students with multinational organizations on a consulting project, giving them the opportunity to apply their learning to real-world contexts.

Featuring signature GBE lectures and interviews with leading executives from the world of global business, this “Global Business in Practice” lecture series will be offered in slightly differing formats to two different audiences. In its MOOC format, an abbreviated version of the lecture series will be open to learners around the world through the edX platform, introducing some of the questions that drive studies in global business using lecture videos, poll questions, discussions, and peer assessment exercises. An extended version of the online course available exclusively to MSB students will include additional material that will provide students with a reflective framework for their coming consulting work and equal one credit hour—equivalent to and a direct replacement for the lecture series.

Global Experience

First offered in 1995, Global Business Experience is designed to provide students with the opportunity to partner with executives from multinational organizations as they work to address complex business challenges. As part of the course, students collaborate for several months in small groups before spending one week in their client’s country to present final recommendations to the organization’s leadership.

In 2015, students in the full-time, evening, and executive MBA programs, undergraduates in the MSB, and students pursuing an Executive Master’s in Leadership and a Master of Science in Finance completed 98 consulting projects across 10 countries. Their work demonstrated the breadth of expertise offered by the MSB for clients ranging from small entrepreneurial companies to global enterprises, from public- to private-sector institutions, and from local to international corporations.

Campus Impact

For students on campus, moving forward a hybrid classroom model with Global Business Experience brings flexibility into students’ busy schedules as they spend increasing time applying their learning in the real world. Additionally, the self-paced model that both the MOOC and online course will utilize acknowledges students’ self-awareness as learners and professionals. Approximately 1,000 students are enrolled in the MBA program, split between full- and part-time enrollment, and all will have access to the videos, activities, and more throughout their time in this course. For faculty in the MSB, individually filmed lectures and interviews mean that components can be easily updated and interchanged as needed from one semester to the next, keeping the content relevant while minimizing the time needed for upkeep.

For Georgetown as an institution, this particular course development project represents a continued commitment by the university to exploring the role of online learning for both remote and residential college students. As conversations about the future of higher education trend more and more in the direction of moving teaching and learning online, the struggle becomes striking a balance between embracing the role of remote learning and honoring the value of residential study. In the case of Global Business in Practice, translating the traditional lecture series into an online experience not only offers MSB students enhanced study flexibility for their busy lives, but also provides the unique opportunity to capture executive interviews specifically for the class. The result is a truly hybrid residential course, comprising both credited online work and traditional in-class experiences, working together to prepare on-campus MBA students for an increasingly globalized world. Concurrently offering a MOOC based on this material offers the dual benefit of showcasing and sharing Georgetown’s global expertise with the world and inviting prospective students to get a glimpse of learning on the Hilltop.

Those interested in exploring the new take on GBE can check out the course promotional video, which spotlights some of the speakers students will encounter later this fall. Information about the GBE MOOC, beginning October 25, is available on the edX course page.