George Mason University’s School of Business has been engaging students globally since the mid-1990s. Since then, students have participated in more than 100 global residencies around the globe. These residencies offer first-hand experience on how business is conducted outside of the United States, and the importance of acknowledging the cultural differences that exist between countries.
Global residencies are typically 10-day travel and business experiences where students are immersed in educational programming including company visits, discussions with industry leaders, meetings with executives, and cultural excursions. Faculty play an integral leadership and mentoring role in the course before, during, and after the residency occurs. For students, these trips are typically their most memorable class of their graduate degree program.
“Last summer, 25 years later, I returned to Oxford to visit and reminisce about one of the best experiences of my life,” says Chris Carey, MBA ’95, who attended the global residency in the summer of 1994. “My wife and I were in an Oxford shop and I noticed a class picture hanging on the wall. I casually said to my wife that I have a similar picture of our Mason summer class at home. Then I took another look and realized that the photo was actually our class. It has been hanging in the shop for 25 years.” The trip was so memorable that Carey says he would love to reconnect with his classmates from the experience.
In the early years, Mason’s global requirement was the forefront of education. “In 2002, only 6% of part-time MBA students were required to travel abroad as part of their MBA program,” says Laurie Meamber, associate professor of marketing, who attended the MBA global residency to Northern Ireland and Ireland in 2008. “In a survey of our own students in that same year, 69% of MBA students had never traveled overseas on work travel.” Today, these numbers are much higher as many graduate programs offer international residency opportunities.
Mason graduate students have travelled around the world with the global residency program. Past locations have included Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Soweto, South Africa; Reykjavik, Iceland; Dublin and Cork, Ireland; Helsinki, Finland; Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Beijing and Shanghai, China; Buenos Aires, Argentina; Santiago, Chile; Munich, Germany; Prague, Czech Republic; and Istanbul, Turkey, amongst others.
Hun Lee, associate professor of strategic management, was one of the first School of Business faculty members to attend a global residency. “I attended my first global residency in the summer of 1998 with the EMBA program and have been on three residencies since,” says Lee. “Global residencies provide a valuable learning experience for our students, especially in developing their global mindset.”
The global residency program was initially offered to just the Executive MBA program, but soon many more graduate programs were included. Although the global residency program has been temporarily suspended due to COVID-19, the graduate programs are looking forward to offering it again to students when it is safe to travel.
Chris Carey, MBA ’95 in Oxford, England (top left)
India 2005 (top right)
Dubai 2018 (bottom left)