How International Offerings Can Enhance Your Curriculum

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Dr. Wally Sanders
President
Vanguard Global Institute

Globalization is one of the most important factors in today’s business environment. The success of Japan, the Asian Dragons (Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan) have been past reminders of a progressive global economy. 

However, we now face an even greater challenge from Asia – China. The increasing competitiveness of the global environment has been well established and business educators have begun to focus on the need to internationalize the curricula. Many universities are currently adopting a global mind-set for the good of the institution and students. 

Internationalization of the curriculum is not an option, but rather a strategic challenge that schools must embrace in order to prepare students for careers in the global environment. 

Competing in the global knowledge economy has serious implications for business education in that the world is moving towards a global knowledge society where information, skills, and competence are progressively becoming a driving force of economic, political, and social development. 

Businesses look to universities to prepare and train students to become successful in the global arena.

Colleges and universities now face a major challenge to develop curricula that will better educate students in the culture, politics, economics and geography of different countries of the world. 

The challenge for higher education in internationalizing the curriculum is often seen as a lack of desire on the part of faculty ad students to think globally. 

The enormous growth in international activities of multinational corporations has created opportunities and challenges for businesses as well as higher education. The challenge for multinational recruiters is hiring people who can function effectively across national borders. At the same time, this has created a need for colleges and universities to develop initiatives and strategies to supply graduates who are capable of handling international business functions. 

Many who teach in the field of global business state that “you cannot ignore the world any longer.” Further, “even if you don’t conduct business internationally, your competitor is probably flourishing in the United States.” 

As businesses, especially those engaging in multinational enterprises around the world, confront the ever increasing challenges of globalization, the need for developing managers who can think globally and understand the demands of the global marketplace becomes a critical issue. Colleges and universities have a special role in developing a global mindset and skill sets that will be appropriate when the job search begins. 

Many business executives and prominent leaders of world renowned institutions concur that there is a serious need to adapt global thinking into the curriculum. 

Andrews & Tyson (2004) of the London Business School, write a compelling article that sets forth valid arguments indicating the American educational system for its short-sightedness in not preparing MBA students for global thinking. The article states that given the employers’ shift in focus, business schools should consider becoming more global. The corporate executives interviewed for this article state that the business schools most produce a more flexible and more adaptive manager, capable of being molded and developed into a global executive. 

Providing students with a global education will increase their ability to succeed in a global market involving cultural diversity and rapid changes. Global education is a process that encompasses the knowledge and understanding of culture, language, geography, political, economic, social and technical perspectives that are ongoing developments within the competitive community. 

A global education is one that teaches the student to become aware of social positioning in a global economy and teaches the how their interactions in the global environment can have adverse effects upon citizens of the world. 

Educators must ponder questions such as “what are the necessary global competencies that will ready students for global assignments?” And, “How should educators and administrators determine the critical elements of a global plan to be adopted within the curricula?” 

Institutions of higher learning must look seriously at adopting concentration in the business curriculum as well as integrating global concepts throughout program disciplines. Further, schools must give serious consideration to study-abroad opportunities to incite the awareness of the global society in which we all function.

Finally, the 21st Century will belong to those who can adapt to the many changes and challenges that will be seen in the global marketplace, and to those who understand the importance of international co-operation.


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