LEARNING FROM DIVERSITY

While I chose the EDHEC Global MBA for several reasons, the aspect that attracted me the most was the international diversity of the candidates. My class of 77 peers is composed from 27 nationalities. It has been very insightful to have such a plethora of viewpoints represented in our class and in the team projects.

One particular instance was in the team project for Macro Economics. Our team was evaluating Hong Kong for a business opportunity and we were discussing the impact of the recent student demonstrations there. My peer from China viewed this demonstration over the democratic process in the region as fleeting and rather inconsequential. 

Another peer from a former Soviet Union country had a very different reading of the situation. He had seen the effect of democratic fervor upending the political structure in his native Communist country. He viewed the demonstrations in Hong Kong as a force with which to be reckoned. The internal debate about how to frame this issue was so intriguing and enlightening; it would have occurred had we all come from a similar perspective.

Our seminars on Leadership and Sense Making have provided other instances where such a cultural diversity has been very educational. It was very beneficial to get a wide perspective on how to motivate people, as well as how to suggest ways to improve. In our role-playing activities, it was extremely beneficial for me, as an American, to practice with someone from India, China, and Japan. Because these interactions depend so much on body language and other subtle cues, it was a great learning opportunity to have feedback during these cross-cultural exchanges. 

I am looking forward to working with my new peer-team in the next few days, which will include a new cultural mix - and new educational insights.

By Kerry LaPrees