Preparing to go Abroad: International Immersion Projects

By Ingrid Cazalis, Global MBA 2013-2014, France

Our Global MBA already offers a great deal of diversity, with students of 14 different nationalities. The International Immersion Project, the program’s capstone project, is a strategic consulting mission for a company located abroad, often in emerging economies. We waited anxiously till the spring to hear what missions and tasks we would receive. The 2013 class made us dream with destinations like Cape Town, Djibouti, La Paz…

Finally, in April, our IIPs were announced. The destinations were quite exotic, including Chile, Rwanada, Egypt, China, the USA, working with companies from large conglomerates to SMEs and social enterprises. Concretely, what are the different projects?
  • Market surveys in Africa to develop a new export plan in the FMCG industry;
  • Designing a spa resort/wellness concept that is profitable, practical and innovative respecting local Moroccan culture;
  • Supporting a Rwandan accelerator program for entrepreneurs to advise them on their projects;
  • Expanding a Chilean social enterprise concept from Latin America to Europe, giving 100% of the profits to charities
  • Defining a new marketing and implementation strategy for an Egyptian medical devices company.
After 8 months of MBA studies, we’ve already had to handle strategic projects like the Hult Challenge or the Grameen Veolia sustainability project, and now we’ll have to use the skills we developed on our IIPs. Some groups have already started working on proposals that have to be prepared before they travel abroad in July and August. This is a great opportunity to share ideas with each other and work out some of the difficulties we may encounter on site.

As we travel to emerging countries, I think that we will also need to prepare for and consider the cultural dimensions of working abroad. Some students will be working abroad during Ramadan, others will have to adapt to the food and local ways of doing things. The IIP will definitely be an opportunity to experience business in emerging markets and different cultural contexts, while responding directly to the needs of entrepreneurs in SMEs and the CEOS of major companies.

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