In March, 25 Georgetown McDonough undergraduate students traveled to Lille, France, for their Global Business Experience (GBE), as part of the culmination of the three-month course. During the trip, students shared their final presentations with executives from companies such as Kiabi and Canard Street. Cindy Chu (GUSY), co-president of Georgetown’s Asian American Student Association, was one of five team members who consulted for Decathlon, a French sporting goods retailer.
“The main lesson we learned from working with a foreign client was that there can be differences in perspectives resulting from different cultural backgrounds,” said Chu. “Our first exchange with Decathlon’s representatives was with brand managers from the San Francisco store. When we traveled to France and had a preliminary discussion with a Decathlon French brand manager we realized that our client wanted us to deliver a different consulting product, and we adjusted accordingly. Our team was able to work together extraordinarily well because we had a breadth of majors in our group and were able to tackle tasks that were more specialized to our strengths.”
After several weeks of working in Washington, D.C., student teams presented to companies’ executive management as well as faculty and staff from the École des Hautes Etudes Commerciales du Nord (EDHEC). At the end of the residency, students embarked on a trip to the city of Brussels, host to several EU institutions, where they visited the European Parliament and the Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Belgium.
“For companies to both survive and thrive in today’s global economy they must adopt a global mindset,” said Chu. “And this starts with each one of us—if we, as students, don’t understand the ramifications of globalization and globality, and if our lived experiences don’t allow us to embrace and face the complexities of global business, then the companies we work for in the future will truly suffer. The GBE journey, for many of us, was a first step to gaining this necessary first-hand experience on global business.”
In addition to the students who traveled to France, GBE students studied the confectionery industry in Barcelona, Spain, and the wine industry in Mendoza, Argentina.