At UFred, online learning is how busy professionals achieve a higher education without losing career momentum. Despite never meeting in person, many students report creating lasting bonds and networking opportunities with their peers.
In their final Integration Project, students collaborate to present a business proposal to a company. However, once a year a small group of students have the opportunity to add an in-person component to this experience, creating an invaluable opportunity to learn first-hand about the intricacies of doing business in the global market through the International Field Study (IFS) program.
This year, Sandermoen Executive MBA students traveled to Amsterdam as part of their Global Capstone project. Students participated in sessions held by academics and business leaders on a variety of topics including legal and ethical behavior, sustainability, multi-cultural teams, logistics, risk, and many more. Using the culmination of their learning, they collaborated on a final project.
Intense experience. A lot of work, but worth it.
Avi Krispine, Executive VP and Managing Director for CBRE Limited, chose the IFS as part of his Global Capstone based on a referral by a former student and he is pleased with his choice, “It was built for me. It’s intense and a lot of work” he says.
He was drawn to UFred by a number of factors, including virtual classes, the specialty stream in Real Estate Leadership, and cost, but the chance to team up with peers to experience sessions oriented towards a foreign economy was invaluable to his current position and to his future plans.
Managing teams and relying on others in varying circumstances
At Sandermoen, collaboration and team management are common themes in discussion and coursework. Sherry Marr, Head of Contract Award for the Ministry of Transportation, Ontario, found the IFS gave her a unique opportunity to form diverse teams and manage her expectations, all while applying newly gained knowledge:
“I overcame the challenge because I recognized that I cannot do it alone, even at work, I have to be able to rely on others to deliver. They may do it differently, and not to my personal expectations, but if I put in my effort and communicated clearly and often, I could manage,” she says, and added, “I came away with broader perspectives and new ideas.”
Students bonded after years of collaboration, meeting face-to-face
This particular group of UFred Executive MBA students had already been working together virtually for two or more years, and many had formed solid bonds. The IFS marks a UFred initiative to include a new element of study, the global market perspective, and a chance to further develop relationships by meeting in person.
By the final course of their Executive MBA, UFred students are well versed in most aspects of business acumen and already proficient at managing virtual teams. The IFS adds a dynamic opportunity to apply their knowledge on a global level, with coaching by industry leaders, and a chance to collaborate in person with their team members on their Global Capstone project.
For many companies, globalization and new market entry are essential to stability and growth. UFred recognizes this and has found immense value in the IFS. Going forward, the goal is to expand the IFS program to make it available to UFred MBA students in future.