Global Initiatives

Graduate Programs

The Smith School’s graduate international opportunities offer students the opportunity to earn academic credit for courses that include an international travel component. These programs seek to imbue students with a global mindset and global business savvy so they are well positioned for leadership roles in an increasingly interconnected world.

Why participate in a Smith MBA global course opportunity?

  • Employ discipline-based knowledge acquired in the classroom to solve real-world problems faced by companies in a given country or region
  • Understand the major business opportunities and growth drivers in a country or region.
  • Learn about the institutional structure of a given industry in a specific national or regional context and place this knowledge in comparative perspective
  • Gain insight into the effect of cross-cultural differences on interpersonal interactions
  • Understand why individuals from different cultures react differently to similar managerial practices, work systems, and human capital management systems
  • Learn to effectively design, implement, and manage cross-cultural teams
  • Develop an increased tolerance for ambiguity

What are the MBA global opportunities?

Global Business Courses

  • 4-credits
  • Open to 2nd and 3rd year MBA students
  • On-campus coursework
  • 8-10 day travel abroad Winter break or Spring break 

While abroad, students travel with their professor and visit companies to enhance their business acumen. Students choose courses based on opportunities to develop expertise in their field of interest and based on the opportunity to network with colleagues, faculty and international company executives in their field. Also during the travel component of the program, through experiential and applied learning, students will have opportunities to immerse themselves into the host culture – for example by taking a cooking class to learn about local cuisine, participating in a service-learning project, or doing micro consulting with local students in the host city. 

The academic focus and location of these courses change each year.

Global business courses are offered every year and new courses are announced each Spring. 

AdVENTURE Challenge China

  • 4-credits
  • Open to all students, including first year students
  • On-campus coursework
  • 8-10 day travel abroad in May

Students will develop a business model and present it in a final international business model competition in China. The course will take students from Shanghai to Beijing. Along the way, students will earn points as they visit Chinese startups, multinational corporations, venture capital firms and cultural sites like the Great Wall and the Forbidden City. The challenge will culminate with a final competition at Peking University’s Guanghua School of Management. Students will compete for cash prizes alongside peers from Smith, Chinese business schools, and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.

Global Consulting Practicum

  • 2 or 4 credits
  • Open to all students, including first year students
  • On-campus coursework
  • 8-10 day travel abroad Winter break, Spring break, or Summer

International clients provide actionable consulting projects for which student teams will collaborate to develop and present an innovative, operational plan that will have the most significant impact and best possible outcome for their clients. Past clients include the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce in Sri Lanka, KW Foundation in Uruguay, AFAR in Tunisia, 3M in Chile, and the ARAVA Institute in Israel.

Global Spotlight

Companies will place greater importance on international skills among employees and management in the next ten years, according to the 2014 U.S. Business Needs for Employees with International Expertise (Daniel and Kedia, 2014). While the value assigned to specific indicators and measures of those international skills varied, it is clear from this report that employers will be looking to recruit talented professionals who demonstrate global skills and mindset that will lead their companies in the world market.

How are Smith School faculty, staff, and students preparing to meet this business need? How do we define global mindset? How internationally-minded are the individuals that make up and contribute to the global profile of the School? Over the course of this academic year, we will bring these answers to you in the form of a series of short articles highlighting the thoughts and experience of our community.

- Rebecca Bellinger, Director, Office of Global Initiatives

Our Global Profile

Undergraduates in Costa Rica
Undergraduates in Costa Rica

Global Opportunities. Global Perspectives. Global Mindset.

The Robert H. Smith School of Business infuses global opportunities and perspectives into our students’ education to create a global mindset. Our student population of 5,100 comes from 96 countries and 30 percent of our 200 faculty hail from beyond U.S. borders. Many others teach and conduct research on a variety of international business topics. Smith is proud to have a truly international curriculum which includes a strong undergraduate International Business major with more than 200 students and nearly 20 courses that focus on international business and cross-cultural issues.

The Office of Global Initiatives spearheads the internationalization of Smith’s students, faculty, staff, alumni, research, curricular, and co-curricular activities. The Smith School offers robust global opportunities such as:

  • Exchange programs with 14 partners in Asia, Australia, Europe, and the Middle East
  • Short-term study abroad courses in 12 countries
  • International consulting projects
  • International internships
  • Annual China Business Plan Competition at Peking University in Beijing
  • Leadership Executive MBA program in China

Globalization is a two-way street at Smith. Not only does the Smith School send more students abroad than any other school at the University of Maryland, but we host significant numbers of international students on campus. Such a high degree of global connectivity, including a vast Smith School alumni network of 55,000 alumni in 58 countries, offers significant opportunities for networking and career-building before and after graduation.

  • 600+ Smith students study abroad each year (30 percent of all UMD students who study abroad)
  • Smith hosts 170 incoming international students on exchange and short-term programs annually

While we encourage our students to take advantage of our extensive global opportunities, students do not necessarily need to leave College Park to gain a global perspective. To this end, Smith offers a blend of on-campus academic and social programming to help our students achieve a global mindset and get to know their peers, faculty, and international students outside of the classroom. For example, experience one of Hinduism’s most important festivals with South Asian dancing and food at Smith’s annual Diwali Night celebration or simply invite the German exchange student in BMGT 446 out to lunch. Undergraduates are encouraged to join the International Economics and Finance Society (IEFS), an internationally-focused Smith student organization that has diverse social, academic, and professional-oriented activities.

The Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) is an integral component of the Office of Global Initiatives. Smith CIBER is a national resource center for teaching, research and outreach in international business and related fields. Established in 2006, CIBER implements major initiatives and activities such as the Emerging Markets Forum focused on four themes: government policy, emerging markets, global entrepreneurship, and sustainability. CIBER is grateful to the U.S. Department of Education, the Smith School, and the University for their generous support of the Center.

Undergraduate Programs

Why Study Abroad?

Employers consistently demand that their employees have global competency. But how do students develop such a global competency? The Smith School of Business offers a variety of programs – both abroad and on-campus – to help students develop their global mindset. 

Smith School Program Offerings

Faculty-led Programs

Think you don’t have enough time to fit in a study abroad experience while earning your degree? Think again!

Earn academic business credits during Winter Break, Spring Break or over the Summer months while experiencing a country or region first-hand. While abroad, visit companies to enhance business acumen and participate in cultural activities designed to facilitate cross-cultural understanding.

Semester Programs

A semester abroad challenges students to develop cross-cultural skills in a variety of settings and programs. Students who study abroad for a longer period learn how to successfully navigate foreign environments, communicate effectively with people from different backgrounds and cultures, and  adapt to a variety of situations. Some students may also choose to practice a foreign language; however, all of our partner schools offer courses in English.

Summer Programs

Looking for a way to enrich your summer? Can’t fit a semester abroad in your schedule? Want to gain professional and academic experience in Australia, the Caribbean, Europe, or Latin America? Enroll in an one of our summer programs and earn up to nine credits!

On-Campus Programs

Developing a global mindset doesn’t require you to leave College Park! Find out more about global opportunities available on-campus.

Last Day to Register for Smith EMBA Program

The Smith School is gearing up for its second Executive MBA class, scheduled to start on August 24, 2003, and the deadline for registration is today, August 1. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, and the August cohort has been gaining momentum since early spring. Plan to attend one of the July information sessions to find out more about Smiths exciting 18-month EMBA program.

About the Smith EMBA

Israel, Palestine, and Jordan: Cross-Border Greywater Feasibility Project

Destinations Israel
Faculty In collaboration with the Center for Social Value Creation, Professor Robert V. Percival from the Carey School of Law, and the School of Public Health
Program Dates During the Spring Semester students will participate in consulting training with UMD faculty to prepare for the on-site consulting project.
Class meetings prior to travel. Dates TBD. Dates abroad March 14th – March 22nd
Program Cost Approximately $2350. OGI and CIBER will offer grants to student participants.
Registration Students will be enrolled in Testudo by MPO once students are selected.


The application process is competitive. Enrollment in the MBA Global Consulting Practicum is not guaranteed. Students must apply to be considered in the selection process. Eligible candidates will have relevant academic, professional, and soft skills, such as: excellent interpersonal abilities and high tolerance for ambiguity and uncertainty that will ensure their success in an international, cross-cultural consulting setting.

To apply, students must submit a resume and cover letter to OGI at with GLOBAL CONSULTING PRACTICUM in the subject line. The application, resume, and cover letter will be used to evaluate each student's background and career interests in order to determine which potential consultants are the best fit for the Global Consulting Practicum.

Additional follow-up interviews will be held with a subset of the applicant pool to select students and assign them to specific projects.

The selection process will favor:

  • Students who already have extensive cross-cultural skills and wish to apply these in a consulting experience
  • Students with past experience in the specific region where the consulting will take place
  • Students who can demonstrate that they are flexible, adaptable and can handle uncertainty, particularly in a cross-cultural setting

*Language skills of the host country are not required, although desirable

Two students will be selected. Submit resume and cover letter to OGI at Application deadline is Friday, October 31st.  Cover letter should address each of the following:

1) The reasons for your interest in participating in a Global Consulting Practicum, the particular project in which you would like to participate, and your expectations for personal gain from participation in this project.

2) The skill sets, knowledge and work expertise that you can bring to this particular project. Indicate previous work experience, class/study, internship, etc.

3) Substantive experience closely related to the specific industry of the project and to the specific region where the overseas consulting will take place.

4) Experience working and/or studying in cross-cultural settings.

Description of Project:

The global consulting practicum allows students to translate their classroom learning into the development of real world solutions. Students will work on a 6-person multi-disciplinary collaborative consulting project for the Arava Environmental Institute (AIES), a premier environmental studies and research program in the Middle East. The final project will explore mechanisms to improve Arava’s business model so as to move the project away from one of charity to one of sustainability. Students will be expected to look at factors such as connection or usage fees for the recycled greywater that would lower the costs associated with potable drinking water.

Project goals:

  • Study the feasibility of using greywater for small-scale crop production.
  • Assist in finding solutions to water scarcity in the region, which is expected to get worse in the future.
  • Solve a complex environmental problem that implicates legal, public health, and economic issues.

Students will travel to the Middle East, where water is a precious commodity, and becoming more valuable every day as climate change brings longer, and more significant droughts to the area. Average yearly rainfall amounts have also been declining.

MBA, law, and public health students will work the Arava Institute to look at potential solutions to water scarcity, by specifically focusing on the reuse of greywater for agricultural production in off-the-grid communities who only receive potable drinking as little as once every three weeks. Using greywater (as opposed to higher quality drinking water) for agriculture frees up potable water for other purposes such as consumption and bathing.

The collective input from MBA, law, and public health students on the use of greywater in the Middle East has the potential to benefit other arid developing countries. For example, the law students from the team will bring legal expertise to overcome legal obstacles to the expansion of greywater projects, public health expertise will help ensure the safety of such projects, and business students will assist in the development of business models in order to scale up the project.

Students will be expected to read materials concerning the geographical, historical, political and environmental characteristics of the region affected. Students will be required to produce a collaborative report, based on the findings from the travel component and additional research. The final report will address legal, public health, and business considerations arising from the greywater project.

MBA Global Consulting Practicum

The Smith School Global Consulting Practicum is offered as a 2 or 4-credit independent study course to MBA students during their 2nd year.  Enrolled students will be assigned to teams based on their interests and skill sets, and each team will be assigned a Smith faculty advisor.

A client in each country will provide an actionable consulting project for which student teams will collaborate to develop and present an innovative, operational plan that will have the most significant impact and best possible outcome for their clients. Past clients include the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce in Sri Lanka, KW Foundation in Uruguay, AFAR in Tunisia, and 3M in Chile.

Past consulting projects include:

  • Designing an export-development plan for frozen-packed fish, defining a procurement and marketing strategy, and identifying new markets.
  • Helping a retailer with offices in Bangkok and Chonburi expand their market.
  • Developing an export strategy for a telecommunications firm.

Upon completion of the Global Consulting Practicum students will gain:

  • In-depth, first-hand experience providing consulting services in a foreign country.
  • Knowledge of global business practices.
  • Insight into cross-cultural differences that affect leadership and interpersonal 
    interactions such as communication, negotiation, conflict resolution and teamwork.
  • Tolerance for ambiguity, which is intrinsic to all global experiences.
  • Capacity to deliver innovative, operational plans to clients.
  • Increased competitiveness in today’s job market.

Students interested in the Smith School Global Consulting Practicum can expect to incur costs for roundtrip international airfare, tuition for enrollment in the course, and costs for personal extracurricular travel activities while in country. Costs for lodging, meals and site visits in-country will be covered by the program fee.  Grants are offered by OGI and CIBER to reduce program costs.

Spring Break, March 2015

Israel, Palestine, and Jordan: Cross-Border Greywater Feasibility Project


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