Many executives with years of business experience under their belt still feel they need to match their technical expertise with multicultural fluency, and the International Learning Experiences on NEOMA Business School’s new and improved Executive MBA are delivering just that.
Experiential learning has always been a staple of the Global EMBA at NEOMA Business School, as the course takes students on four trips per year to business hotspots around the world. In previous years, students got to go to the US to visit the University of California at Berkeley, and to China to learn from large companies in business centres like Shanghai and Beijing.
But as the Global Executive MBA gets a reboot this October, the updated program is set to be even more rigorous.
The new course will include four International Learning Experiences (ILEs) aiming to further expand students’ perspectives of business and give them a global mindset.
These ILEs will take students to four continents, with course material that focuses on hot topics in business today. Students will study Fintech in New York; Innovation Management and Design Thinking in London; Social Business in Bangalore, India; and Entrepreneurial Upscaling in Emerging Markets in Accra, Ghana.
Christian Bebey, director of project finance and compliance at Global Voice Group South Africa, is a student on the current version of the Global EMBA, and fits his studies around his high-pressure job based out of Rwanda.
As a participant in past EMBA learning trips, Christian believes that the opportunity to experience business in a different culture has been one of the most enriching parts of his time at NEOMA Business School.
“The study tours in Asia and the USA opened the doors to new cultures, business practices, and methods,” he recalls. “The combination of both [trips] really showed us that everything is possible.”
This exposure to a diversity of cultures and business practices is not limited to trips abroad—situated in one of the main cultural centres of Europe, Paris, the school attracts an internationally-diverse cohort to its EMBA program, and 45% of its current MBA students are international. 80 nationalities are represented across the student community, and the school’s alumni network boasts more than 55,000 grads in over 90 countries.
“The international environment at NEOMA Business School is great,” Christian asserts. “We have lecturers who have worked internationally, but [the school] has also partnered with schools in other continents—that makes things even better in terms of shared experiences.”
As an international student, seeing a diversity of experiences represented in his classes has helped to make Christian feel more at home on the course.
“I have encountered many different nationalities [on the EMBA], and they all seem as integrated as I feel at NEOMA Business School,” Christian says. “People understand cultural differences and embrace [them]—it’s a really great learning experience.”
Bilal Chaabi, another current Global EMBA student, agrees. He credits the ILEs with broadening his experience of business and believes that it has made him a better communicator.
“These experiences are really breaking [down] all our stereotypes of how business works—you see people from many cultures doing business differently,” he explains. “It makes you very creative, very open-minded and understanding.”
When he’s not flying around the world for the EMBA, Bilal helps run his family's business: Chloride Egypt, a multinational car battery manufacturer. Though originally from Morocco, he was educated in Switzerland and works in Egypt, managing 500 employees across two main manufacturing plants.
“We are in the age of a lot of disruptions in various fields,” he says. “It’s a very disruptive environment, and you have to be open-minded; you have to be adaptive. The EMBA has helped me to see that and to understand it.”
As Charles Waldman, academic director of MBA programs at NEOMA Business School, explained speaking to BusinessBecause in March this year, that is precisely what the revamped Global Executive MBA program has been created to do.