Having an appreciation and understanding of other cultures is a precious commodity these days in the business world. A Harvard Business Review article in August cited a McKinsey Global Institute report noting there will be 3.5 billion people employed by 2030. And that is expected to result in far more skilled workers crossing national boundaries.
“Rather than assuming we’ll work in one location, in our native culture, we will need new skills, attitudes, and behaviors that help us work across cultures,” wrote Tsedal Neeley, one of Harvard’s leading experts in this field.
The importance of studying and living in other countries is also recognized by Halia Vallardes, dean of Capilano University’s faculty of business and professional studies. An expert in international logistics and trade, Vallardes told the Straight by phone that she once read a study showing that 53 percent of people who studied and lived abroad cited this as helping them secure a job.
It’s one of many reasons why she’s such a fervent advocate for Capilano University’s international management graduate diploma. This unique one-year educational opportunity combines one semester of international business education at the North Vancouver campus with a semester at the University of Hertfordshire in southern England.
In addition to the graduate diploma, those who complete the program also receive a master of science in international business degree from the British university. That’s two credentials in 12 months.
“Just by being in this program and living in two countries within a year, you are developing your cross-cultural management skills,” Vallardes emphasized.
She pointed out that one of her courses in the program teaches cross-cultural management. She added that many students in the program come from other countries, which elevates the cultural literacy of everyone enrolled.
Vallardes knows whereof she speaks: she was born and raised in Mexico and obtained her master’s degree in international business at Texas A & M, where most of the other graduate students had also come from other countries.
She maintained that it’s “extremely important” to be exposed to people from abroad to truly understand their cultures.
“My former classmates right now are CEOs or VPs of international companies worldwide,” she said. “Those connections nobody can take away from you. That can land you a better job.”
She also said that an education in international business can help someone launch a consulting career, become an entrepreneur, or gain employment in the import-export business.
Capilano University is accepting applications for the fall of 2018 for the dual graduate-diploma/graduate-degree program. Anyone with a bachelor’s degree who can demonstrate proficiency in the English language is eligible.
Because it’s a master of science program, Vallardes said some course work is more quantitative than traditional business education.
In addition, students learn how culture impacts operations, motivation, performance, planning, and execution.
“Instead of taking just human resources, you take international human resources,” Vallardes said. “Instead of taking a course in management, you take a course in international management.”
Students also gain insights into all trade treaties that Canada has signed, as well as how companies can take advantage of economic integration between countries. The program culminates in a capstone project, which can either be an international business report or an international business plan.
The report must be original, demonstrate a critical line of thought, and be independently created. It must incorporate research that focuses on any aspect of international management. The business plan also must be an original and independent dissertation. It should outline how to accomplish a goal, such as launching an import-export business.
The program offers opportunities to secure co-op work, which can enable students to stay longer in the U.K. and generate an income there. The same is true for international students who enroll in the program and come to Canada to study at Capilano University.
“They get the benefit of a work permit for a certain period,” Vallardes said. “It’s a huge extra benefit for people who are immigrants.”More