Global Initiatives

Doing Business in Japan and Singapore: Asia's Tigers Old and New

Faculty Professor Martin Dresner and Professor Koki Nagata
Destination Tokyo and Singapore
Eligibility Open to 2nd and 3rd year full-time and part-time MBA students. No application required to register for AY 2016-17.
Estimated costs

Fall 2016: 1 credit of tuition + $2500 Program Fee
Program fee covers shared accommodation, in-country ground transportation, some group meals, business visits, applied learning component, and cultural activities for the abroad portion of the program.

Spring 2017: 3 credits of tuition + Education Abroad Fee ($250) + Mandatory International Health Insurance Fee ($39, estimated)

*Not included: international airfare, flight between Singapore and Tokyo, visa processing if applicable, most meals, personal expenses.

Registration instructions To come.
Add/drop deadlines Final course drop date is Friday, September 9, 2016.
Credit structure 1 credit earned during Fall semester + 3 credits earned during Spring semester.  Total credits earned = 4 credits.
Dates on campus

Sunday, September 25, 2016
Sunday, December 4, 2016
February: TBD
April: TBD

Dates abroad January 10 (arrive in Singapore) - January 18 (depart Tokyo), 2017
Info session TBA
Questions? Contact the Office of Global Initiatives, ogi@rhsmith.umd.edu

Singapore and Japan represent two central economies in Asia.  In this program, students will develop an understanding of the business practices that have allowed Singapore to advance from a very poor country in the 1960s to a high-tech and logistics powerhouse in the 2010s, and how Japan advanced from a defeated country following WWII to the manufacturing and engineering leader it is today.  Students will also gain a better understanding of Japanese practices by exploring its cultural heritage, and learn about how the country has coped with inflation (bubble economy), deflation (falling prices), and an aging population over the past 30 years.  In addition, students will learn how Singapore has successfully integrated its various ethnic groups and formed a governing structure that is touted as an alternative to Western liberal democracies.

Applied learning component

Prior to the study abroad, students will become acquainted with the economies, cultures, and business practices of Japan and Singapore through case studies, discussions, and relevant videos. During the study abroad, field case studies will be undertaken of businesses in both Singapore and Japan. Presentations on these field studies will be made following the conclusion of the study abroad. Finally, students will be required to conduct an analysis of an industry in either Singapore or Japan in order to gain a better understanding of the Asian business environment.

Skills and knowledge gained

Upon completion of this course students will:

  1. Learn about important business practices in Singapore and Japan.
  2. Understand how political, social, economic and cultural factors impact business and the economy in the two countries
  3. See how businesses in the two countries fit into the global supply chain
  4. Gain knowledge of the importance of these two countries in the world economy

Doing Business in the Middle East: Mega Projects Management in the United Arab Emirates

Faculty Hassan Ibrahim
Destination Dubai and Abu Dhabi
Eligibility Open to 2nd and 3rd year full-time and part-time MBA students. No application required to register for AY 2016-17
Estimated costs

Fall 2016: 1 credit of tuition + $2500 Program Fee
Program fee covers shared accommodation, in-country ground transportation, some group meals, business visits, applied learning component, and cultural activities for the abroad portion of the program.

Spring 2017: 3 credits of tuition + Education Abroad Fee ($250) + Mandatory International Health Insurance Fee ($39, estimated)

*Not included: international airfare, visa processing if applicable, most meals, personal expenses.

Registration instructions March 2016: Register for MBA Global Business Courses when registering for Fall 2016 courses.
Add/drop deadlines Final course drop date is Friday, September 9, 2016.
Credit structure 1 credit earned during Fall semester + 3 credits earned during Spring semester.  Total credits earned = 4 credits.
Dates on campus Sunday, September 25, 2016
Sunday, November 6, 2016
Sunday, December 4, 2016
February: TBD
March: TBD
Dates abroad January 6 (arrive Dubai) - January 14 (depart Dubai), 2017
Info session TBA
Questions? Contact the Office of Global Initiatives, ogi@rhsmith.umd.edu

The history of the Middle East dates back to thousands of years, and throughout its history the region has been a major center of world affairs and business. In modern times, the Middle East remains a strategic region for world business and a critical player in international relations. The course aims to provide students with a good understanding of doing business in the Middle East, using the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as an example. While significant stocks of oil give the region economic power, several countries have diversified their economies into services, including banking, finance, trade, tourism, and logistics. UAE has a highly developed economy and suffering, perhaps disproportionately, during the 2008/2009 world economy, the country was able to bounce back. The course will provide a window into how a country copes with change, and the opportunities, and challenges in the Arab world at a time when such understanding is increasingly vital. In addition to providing a general understanding of doing business in the Middle East, the course will address management of projects of major size, which have become associated with the UAE in general and Dubai in particular, such as: Burj Khalifa (the world tallest building), The Palm Islands, and Masdar City.

Applied learning component

An important component of the course is a group assignment, where each team (of 3 students) will research a particular economic sector/industry in the UAE, and propose an investment venture. The project report and presentation should be in the form of a proposal or mini-business plan, intended to capture the attention of venture capitalists, for whom you are pitching your project for funding. The presentations will be evaluated and the business plan will be critiqued by a venture capitalist with extensive experience in the Middle East.

Skills and knowledge gained

The course aims to:

  1. Prepare students for an increasingly internationally focused workplace.
  2. Provide hands-on experience of conditions affecting industry and country advancement.
  3. Put a framework in place for evaluating threats and opportunities present in a country.
  4. Build cross-cultural competency skills and an initial understanding of some basic language/vocabulary.
  5. Expose students to the diverse cultures of the Middle East.
  6. Provide students with a business compass to navigate business opportunities and challenges in the Middle East in general, and the UAE in particular.
  7. Enable students to expand their network of professional contacts in the government and private sector, which can help them further their careers and introduce new opportunities to US enterprises.

Doing Business in China: Opportunities in China’s Service Sector

Faculty Professor Zhi-Long Chen
Destination Shanghai, China and Hong Kong
Eligibility Open to 2nd and 3rd year full-time and part-time MBA students. No application required to register for AY 2016-17
Estimated costs

Fall 2016: 1 credit of tuition + $2500 program fee
Program fee covers shared accommodation, in-country ground transportation, some group meals, business visits, applied learning component, and cultural activities for the abroad portion of the program.

Spring 2017: 3 credits of tuition + Education Abroad Fee ($250) + Mandatory International Health Insurance Fee ($39, estimated)

*Not included: international airfare, visa processing if applicable, flight between Shanghai and Hong Kong, most meals, personal expenses.

Registration instructions March 2016: Register for MBA Global Business Courses when registering for Fall 2016 courses.
Add/drop deadlines Final course drop date is Friday, September 9, 2016.
Credit structure 1 credit earned during Fall semester + 3 credits earned during Spring semester.  Total credits earned = 4 credits.
Dates on campus Sunday, September 25, 2016
Sunday, November 6, 2016
February: TBD
March: TBD
Dates abroad January 10 (arrive Shanghai) - January 19 (depart Hong Kong) , 2017
Info session TBA 
Questions? Contact the Office of Global Initiatives, ogi@rhsmith.umd.edu

China is now central to the world economy. China is the world’s second largest economy measured by GDP and the world’s largest trading nation measured by the sum of exports and imports. The last three decades of economic reform has made China not only the world’s factory, but also the world’s largest market for numerous products. As such, a basic understanding of the modern China, including its socio-economic, political, and business and management aspects, is imperative for anyone interested in doing business in the global market. As China’s wealth grows, the population looks forward to providing and participating in a wider array and improved level of services. The Chinese government has set its service sector a priority for China’s economic development and has begun to focus more efforts on promoting a service-based economy. The contribution of the service sector to China’s GDP is expected to rise from the current 50% to a significantly higher share by 2020. China’s rapidly growing service sector provides ample opportunities for multinational companies. This course will focus on China’s service sector. We plan to visit two of the most important cities in China in terms of their role in China’s service sector –Shanghai and Hong Kong. We will visit a diverse set of companies in service industries including financial services, trading, logistics, consulting, IT and software, retail, and tourism. Shanghai has long been the China’s economic center and most important business hub. Hong Kong has long been viewed as the financial and logistics hub of Asia and has long served as a bridge between the mainland China and the outside world.

Applied learning component

As a part of the course, students will do two half-day consumer field studies, one in Shanghai and one in Hong Kong. This will consist of interacting with local shoppers in a shopping mall, observing products and prices, consumer behavior, etc. Students will be required to find some common consumer products that are made, packaged, or marketed differently for the China market from the same products sold in the US, and provide insights into why such differences exist. This will help students understand China’s consumers and China’s retail industry.

Skills and knowledge gained

Throughout this course, students will: 
   1) Experience first-hand the opportunities and challenges in doing business in China’s service sector.

   2) Gain first-hand knowledge about Chinese business environment and China’s culture and traditions.

   3) Explore opportunities and challenges in doing business in China’s service sector, in particular, in the service industries that we will focus on – financial services, trading, logistics, retail, consulting, IT and software, and tourism.

   4) Derive winning strategies that American companies can follow to operate a successful business in China’s service sector.

 

 

MBA Exchange

MBA StudentsThe Smith School encourages MBA students who are able to fit a study abroad experience into their coursework to take advantage of this opportunity. Part-time MBAs are able to go after finishing the core courses, and full-time students are able to go abroad during the second year. Full-time students please note that you will transfer 9 credits; take an extra class during the semester or a winter term/summer 1/summer 2 class to stay on schedule for graduation

In order to apply to study abroad, please contact the Office of Global Initiatvies well in advance of the deadline to obtain the forms and schedule an interview.

Objectives for graduate exchanges:

  • To develop an understanding of business and cultural environment in other countries.
  • To demonstrate ability to work effectively in an international setting.
  • Where applicable, to acquire the ability to communicate in the world's major business languages.
  • To adapt to conditions in the world's most important business centers.
Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology Australian Flag
Australia
Guanghua School of Management Chinese flag
China 
Copenhagen Business School Denmark Flag
Denmark
SKEMA French flag
France
WHU - Koblenz German flag
Germany

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.

An international client 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.

Project and application information for the 2016-2017 MBA Global Consulting Practicum will be announced in late July or early August 2016.

Winter Break, January 2016

Asia-Pacific: Handwriting Without Tears Market Research Project

Past Global Consulting Practicum

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

India: Facilitating Economic Growth with Tibetan Refugees

MBA Global Business Courses

2016-17 MBA Global Business Courses

Check the Networth site for up to date information regarding course numbers, registration details, program fees, withdrawal and refund policies, and scholarship opportunities.

Students should not purchase airfare for global business courses until the Office of Global Initiatives officially confirms that the program will be running and sends specific instructions for purchasing airfare.

The first class meeting for all MBA Global Business Courses will be Sunday, September 25, 2016. This meeting is mandatory for all students enrolled in Global Business Courses (both winter break and spring break travel programs).

The final drop date will be Friday, September 9, 2016.

Winter Break - January 2017

CHINA AND HONG KONG: Shanghai and Hong Kong
Opportunities in China’s Service Sector

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: Dubai and Abu Dhabi
Mega Projects Management in the United Arab Emirates

JAPAN & SINGAPORE: Tokyo and Singapore
Asia's Tigers Old and New

INDIA: Delhi and Bangalore
An Engine for Growth and Opportunities

SOUTH AFRICA: Cape Town
Doing Business in South Africa: Opportunities Along the Path to Economic Maturity

Capetown, South Africa

Spring Break - March 2017

BRAZIL: Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro
Growth Opportunities in an Emerging Market

EUROPE: Berlin and Milan
Doing Business in Europe: Central Germany and Northern Italy

 

Resources

Career Benefits

This page is designed for Smith students who are looking to utilize their study abroad experience to enhance their job search.

How to articulate your experience abroad to an employer

You know you experienced personal growth when you studied or lived abroad; maybe you took care of yourself while barely being able to read the labels in the grocery store, dealt with new levels of ambiguity and confusion with grace, made friends with people of different values and histories, and understood conflict in a different way.

But how do you talk to an employer about these skills? Very few employers set out to hire people with abroad experience as their number one qualification – but the way you illuminate the skills you have from your time abroad could set you apart from your competitors; you may well have developed the skills they are hoping for.

Some soft skills honed in a semester abroad could include:

  • flexibility
  • patience
  • maturity
  • decisiveness
  • leadership
  • responsibility
  • self-reliance
  • independence
  • managing, organizing
  • communicating

Before you go abroad

Plan on returning with at least one way you can say you went above and beyond. Some ways to begin to think about this:

  • What are you interested in that you can learn more about while abroad?
  • How can you help or learn more about the local people, even in a short time?
  • What professional connection might you be able to make? Do you have time for an informational interview? Or only enough time to discover an organization, but one that you can contact once back home?
  • What ways can you plan to show leadership or thoughtfulness going into the program?
  • Remember that many employers think that the only reason you’ve gone abroad is to have a good time. Make sure you come back with some serious things to say about how you used your time effectively.

When you go abroad, try to find an internship or other activity (informational interview, job shadowing, or volunteer program) that will:

  1. demonstrate your leadership abilities
  2. show that you took your semester abroad seriously and used it to expand your real world knowledge of international business.

Having experience outside of your university will give more examples to share with your interviewers about your adaptability and your willingness to go above and beyond. This is what most companies want in their new employees. Also remember to provide specific examples- this will give the interviewer a better sense of who you would be as an employee, and will set you apart.

Once you return

Develop three to four stories that you can share with employers. Everyone who has studied abroad has their own list of "wild and shocking" stories to share with friends. These edgy cross-cultural experiences are fun to share, but not with potential employers. You need to modify them or devise a new set of cross-cultural career related stories about your study abroad experience. Craft these stories ahead of time, and build them to reinforce professional skill sets. Here are a few examples:

  • Describe your role when working with student teams while abroad.
  • Describe your encounters when meeting professionals working in your field.
  • Speak about personal encounters that gave you insight into the local culture.
  • Speak about the link between your country and the host country, especially in terms of the workplace.

You only need three or four of these pre-scripted career stories when job searching. One story alone is often enough to demonstrate a whole grouping of your professional skills, maturity, insightfulness, sound judgment, cross-cultural knowledge, etc.

Before the interview

Before your interview, consider whether your potential employer values your experience abroad or does not yet understand the value. This will help shape what you share and how much you speak about study abroad.

If you think your employer already wants to see some abroad experience on your resume, then jump right in with your stories and be ready to tell how you excelled. How did you go above and beyond while abroad? How did you lead cross-cultural teams, informally or in class? Remember that your interviewer may want to share some of his/her experiences abroad – ask them (briefly)!

If you think your employer could not care less about your time abroad, you are going to need to take a few steps back. Remember two things:

  1. They almost certainly have some preconceived notions of what you did – have a good time and backpack around – while abroad. You are going to have to be that much savvier about how to talk about your experience.
  2. Most new graduates will be “domestic internationals” – employees whose international work is based in their home country. Most people continue to live and work at their home base, but with links to the world.

Be prepared to answer questions about your time abroad: "Why did you decide to study abroad?", “How did the experience live up to your expectations?". Remember to use specific examples when you can- this will always be viewed better than general answers such as- "because it sounded like fun", "so I could get away from mom and dad for a while", etc. You might find it helpful to think back to what you wrote in your essays to be accepted into the program, and why you chose to travel to your host country. If you can convey your passion for where you went, and why, your answer will stand out from others who stick to generalities. Also, you may want to think of things that surprised you about your host country while you were over there, however, remember to stick to the positive. You may find it helpful to keep some sort of journal where you can list the things that stood out to you while you were overseas. This will provide something for you to refer back to prior to your interview.

Interviewers may also ask you what accomplishments you were most proud of from your experience abroad. Again, activities outside of class will help you stand out. You can discuss the pride that came from learning how to not only adapt to college life in a foreign country, but also how to adapt to a work culture abroad. Discuss how this has made you a more well-rounded individual and worker. Also discuss how this experience would tie into your abilities at the specific job you are interviewing for. This piece of advice leads into other questions you may be asked- “What did you learn overseas that will help you do this job successfully?”, or “What have you accomplished during your time abroad that you are most proud of?” Again, providing specifics is the key to these questions. Discuss the goals you laid out for yourself prior to going abroad, and how you were successfully in achieving those goals.

Here are some questions to get you started, no matter how long you were abroad:

  • Were you creative in solving problems by applying familiar concepts to unfamiliar situations? How could that help in the job you are applying for?
  • Did you have to be flexible and adaptable? Able to work in ambiguous circumstances? Almost all employers like to see “self-starters” – does this experience abroad prove that you are?
  • Describe your encounters when meeting professionals working in your field.
  • Speak about personal encounters that gave you insight into the local culture.
  • Speak about the link between your country and the host country, especially in terms of the work place. Describe your professional skills through a story about a cross-cultural encounter that went wrong.

Specific tips for those who participated in short-term study abroad courses

Unless you are applying for a position abroad, employers are probably going to be more interested in the actual skills you picked up in your short time abroad and what you learned in the class. You will probably need to be succinct.

  • What was the class topic? Can you develop one sentence about what you learned? Why were you interested in that course?
  • Short-term study abroad is very intense – not much downtime, a lot of together time. Is this of value in the position you are applying for? Think it through and discuss until you distill a good story.
  • What is one good story from your time that illuminates your ability to understand something quickly or adapt.
  • What professional contacts did you develop? How did you make them? What do they offer you and your potential employer?
  • How do you understand the global aspects of the industry now?

Compiled from Jean-Marc Hachey, The BIG Guide to Living and Working Abroad
Short-term study abroad and Effective Marketing of International Experiences to Employers by Cheryl Matherly, Rice University.

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