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WashU Olin Business School: Where the world is your MBA classroom

After almost eight years of working as a consultant, Nitish Kumar Yadav left Goa, India, in search of an unparalleled business school experience — one that would push him out of his comfort zone to develop new skills, talents, and experiences that a local education could not provide.

The US was a frontrunner — he knew business schools in the country were packed with international aspirants with the same intentions. Since cultural perspectives were a priority at Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis, its Full-Time MBA was the perfect pick for the growth he sought.

“The Global Immersion programme at WashU Olin appealed to me because of its emphasis on learning by doing, not just in the class or local community, but across continents and cultures,” he says.

True enough, he was given the opportunity to undertake consulting projects abroad, including for a local winery in Barcelona, preparing the go-to-market strategy for launching a doughnut business in China, and undertaking a crash course in South Africa on Africa’s business landscape.

The icing on the cake? The programme has helped Yadav forge lifelong connections with like-minded entrepreneurs from various backgrounds. “My classmates have been an undeniably strong influence on my understanding of businesses and challenges,” he says.

The WashU Olin Global Immersion experience was designed to complement the core MBA curriculum, helping learners develop an understanding of international markets while developing a deep understanding of other customs, values, and marketplaces. In the process, they learn to appreciate the different ways culture impacts businesses worldwide.

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The Global Immersion experience was designed to complement WashU Olin’s core MBA curriculum. Source: WashU Olin Business School

This makes the programme ideal for students looking to understand the global nature of business, with internationally influenced exposure and opportunities.

And the best part? While many MBA programmes conclude with study abroad opportunities, WashU Olin’s three-continent trip kicks off in the very beginning. “WashU Olin’s MBA classes began at the end of June, taking us on a tour through St. Louis, Washington, DC, Barcelona, Beijing, and Shanghai,” says Alexandra Ignatius from Washington, DC. “I have been in awe of everyone’s eagerness to put themselves in new, uncomfortable, and challenging situations.”

The class of 2021 Full-Time MBA students started the programme with three days of orientation in St. Louis, participating in an “Amazing Race”-style competition to explore the city while gaining key skills such as teamwork. In their third week, they began their second residency in Washington, DC, working with Brookings Institution — a world-renowned government and business policy think-tank.

In week four, students headed to Barcelona, Spain — a world leader in startup innovation, tech investment, social enterprise development, and investment capital. Partnering with companies and corporate leaders on the ground, WashU Olin professors introduce students to the core analytical techniques of managers, using real-world, on-site problems at European-based businesses at the seaside city. In Paris, they enjoyed a well-deserved long weekend.

Their last stop was Shanghai, China — a city known for its diverse economy and its role as a global commerce and manufacturing hub. There, students saw first-hand some of the early- and late-stage capitalism, as well as the complexities of state-run businesses. Students also became adept at interpreting business models and operational strategy through visits to factories and C-suite-level guest speakers, among other activities.

The incoming class of 2022 will start in St. Louis, before travelling to Washington DC; Barcelona; Paris; and Lima, Peru.

Students’ residency in Lima Peru — a country with one of the best performing economies in Latin America — will see faculty members focusing on foundational courses in interpreting business models and operational strategy. This is in addition to guiding students through experiential learning opportunities with real-world problems on-site at Peruvian corporate headquarters.

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The global exposure means students return to campus with a thorough understanding of value-driven, data-based management and leadership skills. Source: WashU Olin Business School

The global exposure anchors the WashU Olin MBA experience, allowing students to return to campus with a better understanding of managerial roles, how these professionals play a critical role in leading organisations, and the importance of making effective business decisions. They also develop the confidence to stay true to their values by delivering persuasive arguments and building consensus that supports their viewpoints.

“This is important to me because having lived in Zimbabwe, Wales, Durban, South Africa, and now the US, I appreciate what various places and cultures can offer to one’s life and significance,” says Lungile Tshuma from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. “Curiosity is rampant in my MBA classmates.”

Those keen on ensuring career readiness in a technologically advanced world will be happy to know that data is big in WashU Olin’s MBA classrooms. In fact, students go beyond becoming data-driven by learning to become data-resourceful. Interested students can also opt for WashU Olin’s STEM MBA or STEM-designated dual degree in analytics, finance, or supply chain management.

To tackle some of the biggest business challenges of our day, WashU Olin Business School’s Full-Time MBA has the resources to get you there. Click here to begin your journey.

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