The International Partnership of Business Schools launches new Virtual Global Course Exchange Programme

15th March 2021

As the world continues to work together to fight COVID-19, global mobility opportunities normally available to students through exchange programmes have come to a halt.

Although students may not be able to fly around the world to live and learn in a foreign country, a new programme offered through the International Partnership of Business Schools (IPBS) enables students to experience a global classroom from the social-distanced safety of their own home.

The IPBS Virtual Global Course Exchange Programme is an international experiential learning initiative that responds to COVID-19’s global disruption using technology-driven collaborative learning to broaden access and enhance sustainability within global business education.

As a consortium of 13 globally oriented leading business schools, IPBS connects schools in Europe, North America and South America. Schools in the network provide unique double degree opportunities, which require study and employment in two countries, promoting language and cultural fluency along with business aptitude. With this new initiative, undergraduate students registered in one of the IPBS partnering business schools can enroll in a single course offered online by another partner school.

As part of the pilot programme, four partner schools are offering courses between January and June 2021:

  • Goodman School of Business at Brock University — St. Catharines, Canada
  • NEOMA Business School — Reims, Rouen and Paris, France
  • Poole College of Management at North Carolina State University — Raleigh, U.S.A
  • Universidad de las Américas Puebla (UDLAP) — Cholula, Mexico

A small group of students are currently participating in the programme, with the next cohort expected to take place during the Fall 2021 Term, from September to December. Registration will open in March.

As the programme develops, partner school involvement is expected to expand, including an increase in the number and variety of courses available to participating students.

Courses vary by business school and are delivered synchronously, taught in English and range from international marketing and management to decision modelling and analysis. The focus on synchronous engagement enables students to collaborate with local students, professors and community partners in real-time.

“By participating in a course offered in another country, students get to work in multicultural teams comprised of students with diverse experiences and perspectives,” says Andrew Gaudes, IPBS President and Dean of the Goodman School of Business.

“It’s preparing them for the future of work, which will consist of working remotely alongside a virtually integrated global team of colleagues.”

A virtual course exchange programme also removes some of the barriers normally associated with traditional international exchange, including financial means and time commitment.

“While we recognize this opportunity will never replace a semester abroad, if offers a low cost, low risk, yet high-impact engagement opportunity with an international school,” says Manuel Francisco Suårez Barraza, Program Director and Professor at UDLAP. “Four months abroad in an unfamiliar environment taking five courses can be challenging for some students. By taking one course virtually, students reap the benefits of global business education, with minimal commitment.”

Barraza also says it enables access to underrepresented segments of UDLAP’s learner population who may not have considered global exchange before.

“It’s a simple, yet effective way for students to sample what a full semester might look like at a partner school,” he says.

In addition to increasing access to international courses, the virtual course exchange programme also helps address IPBS’ commitment to incorporating sustainability among student mobility options with a reduction in travel. As the programme grows, so too does the positive impact each IPBS partner school makes in this regard.

“Global mobility, which includes virtual options, is a natural evolution of the exchange experience, and one we were exploring even prior to our global disruption,” Gaudes says. “The pandemic created the imperative to prioritize expanding the mobility experience. The IPBS Virtual Global Course Exchange Programme provides opportunity for more students to access a global business education and develop the skills to excel as responsible citizens in an intercultural business world.”

For more information on the IPBS Virtual Global Course Exchange Programme, visit the IPBS website.

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