Unlike the conventional 2 year MBA program that admits freshers or candidates with limited experience, quality Executive Education programs aim to broaden the mindset and expand the horizons of participants. International Immersion is a popular pedagogical tool to achieve this objective where participant visit a leading international B-school, learn from their faculty, exchange notes with fellow students, visit local industry and immerse in the international culture. Given its diversity and cultural appeal, combined with thriving industry, Europe is a preferred destination for such immersions. France, UK and Germany are favoured destinations. So how do Indian executives find such global immersions? Which aspects do they value most? And what are the key learnings? MBAUniverse.com decided to interact with a few executives who are part of IMT Ghaziabad 18 months Executive PGDM programme with International Immersion and have recently completed the 4 weeks of International Immersion at Burgundy School of Business in France.
Amit Kumar (AK), IT Professional in Aviation, Aerospace, ERP with 15 Years of Experience
Amit is an experienced IT professional with extensive industry experience of around 15 Years. His functional areas are IT, Analytics, and ERP, and his domain expertise is in Aviation, Aerospace, retail, and high-tech industries. He very well understands the latest technologies, such as Blockchain and generative AI. Amit led the team in emerging technologies, SAP green and brown field implementations and business and data analytics. Amit also led many digital transformation projects for Fortune 500+ clients.
Anchal Sood (AS), Worked with IOC for 6 Years in Supply Chain & Operations
Anchal Sood is a seasoned Supply Chain and Operations Professional. She has over 6 years of Experience in Oil and Gas Sector with the Fortune 500 Company- Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. Anchal was responsible for implementing automation and digital transformation projects at various locations in Delhi NCR, especially with reference to SAP integration.
Rajiv Bose (RB), 8 Years Work Experience with Asian Paints, Akzo Nobel, and Century Ply
Rajiv Bose is a Supply Chain and Logistics Professional with over 8 Years of working experience in the Consumer Durables and Building Material Industry. He possesses diverse supply chain & logistics skillset and has worked with industry giants such as Asian Paints, Akzo Nobel, and Century Ply. He holds an Advance Certification specializing in Supply Chain Management from IIM-Calcutta.
Moving forward with global management education system, IMT Ghaziabad, one of the premier B-schools, has launched 18 months full time residential programme - PGDM ExP for the candidates with a minimum 5 years of work experience. Its Learning and International Immersion Experience is one of the biggest strengths. To offer tangible insights from the student’s perspective, MBAUniverse.com interviewed IMT Ghaziabad PGDM ExP students who have participated in International Immersion in France and are poised to take big leap in their career growth. With great joy and enthusiasm, they recount their 4 weeks of International Immersion. Read this a bit long but evocative article for a trip down the memory lane of the students. We have used abbreviated forms of the students’ names
Pedagogy & Learning adopted for International Immersion
AK: Our international immersion program at BSB France focused more on experiential learning than theories, particularly emphasising foreign cultural and linguistic contexts for France. The aim is to foster cultural awareness and a deep understanding of global perspectives so that we can easily manage international assignments in future. Overall, the pedagogic approach in the program seeks to create an immersive and transformative learning experience that combines cultural understanding and personal growth.
AS: At BSB, the pedagogical approach encompassed a combination of experiential, collaborative, and project-based learning methods. Among the various lectures, the sessions on Green Communication stood out to me. The course provided us with the opportunity to analyze and resolve real-life case studies, allowing us to develop effective green communication strategies for brands. It emphasized the importance of a green communication strategy that genuinely reflects a commitment to environmental responsibility, engages stakeholders, and inspires consumers to embrace sustainable practices.
RB: The pedagogy employed at Burgundy School of Business had a combination of interactive lectures, case studies, and group projects which helped in fostering active participation and collaborative learning for all the students. During the international immersion, we completed courses on French Corporate Culture (Prof Jessica Slowik), Cross-Cultural Management (Prof Anna Di Nardo), Strategic Management Of Innovation (Prof Nicolas Velai), & Green Communication (Prof Patzioglou Elsa). My favourite group activity was the Everest Simulation as organised by Prof Anna in the Cross-Cultural Management course. This was a Team Management and Leadership values-based simulation activity. It really pushed us to brainstorm new ideas and helped us improve our leadership and team management skills.
Who were the faculty that impressed you during your immersion?
AK: I was impressed by Prof Anna. A PhD focused in Business Administration from Moscow State University and an EMBA from National University of Singapore and UCLA, Prof Anna
has a charismatic teaching style, which impressed me a lot. Dr Anna (Gryaznova) Di Nardo is specialized in international business and relations, including corporate culture, leadership, change management, cross-cultural studies and group and team dynamics. She is an associate professor with extensive experience in the business education industry and is skilled in Project Management, Strategic Planning, T&D, and Quality Assurance of Education. She taught us via a simulation approach where we all are put in actual life situations to climb Everest and manage the team, supplies, on the way, without claiming any casualties. In this way of teaching, she does not only direct or guide us on the tasks to finish but also involves us in the assignment where we need to put on our thinking hats, and the consequences of one wrong/good decision are visible instantly.
AS: I was particularly impressed by the Green Communication faculty, especially Prof. Elsa Patzioglou, who holds a PhD in Communication & Information Sciences. Dr Elsa Patzioglou, is independent lecturer and consultant in Management Strategies in Marketing & Communication.
Prof. Patzioglou inspired us to foster collaboration within our teams and pushed us to step outside our comfort zones, encouraging us to express our creativity through the creation of impactful advertisement videos and eye-catching posters. The lectures delivered by the faculty members provided invaluable insights and greatly enhanced our understanding of the subject matter.
RB: We learned many interesting frameworks, models and concepts as part of the curriculum during our international stint at Burgundy School Of Business. The faculty which impressed me the most was Prof Nicolas Velai. The most intriguing concept which he taught was the Minimum Viable Product Framework in the Innovation Management course. He also shared his practical experiences and learnings as being a founder of a start-up named Ouinnov. We gained many insightful learnings from his experiences of the real-world projects with giant corporates.
So, how was Campus Learning Experience?
AK: We went to two campuses in France, one at BSB Lyon and one at BSB Dijon. Each location offers a unique lifestyle and cultural experience, allowing students to explore the local attractions (like the famous Owl Street at Dijon), cuisine and traditions, and both campuses are beautiful and well-equipped with all academic resources. There are many extracurricular activities beyond academics at Lyon Campus; we went through the short practical course on 3-D printing and printed a few 3-D souvenirs for our family and friends.
AS: BSB France provides a lively campus life that combines academic excellence, student engagement, and a supportive community. With modern facilities and diverse student organizations, students can participate in cultural, social, and extracurricular activities. BSB's international community promotes cross-cultural understanding, while career services and professional development opportunities prepare students for success.
RB: Campus life at BSB during my international immersion was enriching. I had the opportunity to immerse myself in a new culture, interact with diverse students, and engage in practical learning. The social and networking opportunities were invaluable, and the campus facilities were top-notch. Apart from classrooms and breakout rooms where students engaged in groups for discussions on their academic projects, there were dedicated gaming zones, cafeteria, and lounge area for socialising. Overall, the experience fostered personal growth and expanded my global perspective.
How did you enjoy and learn from your Industrial visit?
AK: There were many industrial and cultural visits during our stay. As BSB is famous for its specific courses on wines and spirit management, we were taken to a few vineyards in France and shown the winemaking process's complete value chain from growing the grapes to ageing the spirit. I liked the visit when we went to the barrel manufacturing factory and understood the complete manufacturing cycle of Barrel making.There was also one visit to Start-Up Support HUB in Lyon, which I like to mention. This visit enlightens us about the start-up culture, their challenges and rewards etc.
AS: The industrial visits at BSB were meticulously planned to provide us with a holistic understanding of the business value chain. We had the valuable opportunity to engage with key stakeholders, enabling us to gain a comprehensive understanding of the processes and market dynamics. These interactions allowed us to delve deeply into various aspects, such as the operations, challenges, and strategies employed by the stakeholders. We were able to acquire in-depth insights and knowledge, enabling us to grasp the intricacies of the industry and market conditions more effectively. We could recognize the pivotal role that SMEs play in driving economic growth by intertwining cultural heritage with economic activities.
RB: As a part of the schedule, we also went to multiple corporate visits at locations across France. Our first industry visit was at Le Cassisium, a cherished family group business. With deep-rooted traditions and exquisite expertise, this esteemed distillery has been honored as a Living Heritage Company. Our second corporate visit was at Tonnellerie Rousseau, a family-based Wine Barrel making business, traces its origins back to 1954. We got to see the whole manufacturing process. Our subsequent corporate visit was at a company called H7, which started as community hub for small and medium-sized companies and start-ups. These corporate visits really helped me in understanding the most emerging & prominent industries in France.
What objectives and goals did you achieve from the immersion?
AK: This immersion at BSB prepared me for a more empathetic approach to global issues. I gained a deeper understanding of global interconnections, challenges and opportunities, fostering a worldwide mindset and sense of global citizenship. We became more independent, confident and open-minded going through unfamiliar situations and overcoming cultural and linguistic barriers.I achieved from this immersion is a global business perspective- its challenges and workarounds.
AS: The program's key highlights revolved around the inclusion of industrial and cultural visits. Recognizing the importance of understanding culture for achieving success in Global businesses, the international immersion program effectively met its objectives. Equally captivating was the visit to the H7 incubation centre, where multiple start-ups were actively working together under one roof to tackle real-life problems across various domains. This single-day experience exposed us to a plethora of Go-to-Market ideas, showcasing the diverse and innovative approaches employed by these start-ups.
RB: The international immersion program has been a transformative experience, providing me with several key learnings. The course such as Cross-cultural management deepened my understanding of global business dynamics, exposing me to different markets, industries, and management practices, especially in the European Countries. The international immersion program has been instrumental in my personal and professional development. The carefully crafted schedule allowed us to explore various courses, engage with industry leaders and experience the rich cultural heritage of France. These experiences have equipped us with a global perspective, invaluable insights, and practical skills necessary to thrive in an increasingly interconnected business landscape.
It seems that the goals and objectives of international immersion programme are met. According to Dr. Amoncar, “It is important that the students develop sensitivity towards differences in culture – both social and corporate. It is about exposing them to what happens in the West, and encouraging them to develop best practices that can help them facilitate innovation and transformation within globalised Indian businesses. The Immersion helps students develop empathy, openness and adaptability; all of which are important traits of effective managers and leaders.”
IMT PGDM ExP 2023-25 batch begins in Mid-October 2023. The application process is currently open.
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