For many M.S. in Commerce students, the Global Immersion Experience (GIE) is the culmination of a year full of integrated learning, professional development, and international exposure. A true global business education experience, GIE traditionally takes place in one of five regions. This year’s tracks were set to explore East Asia, South America, Europe & North Africa, the UK & India, and Southeast Asia. However, due to ongoing safety concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic this year, GIE was unable to take place as originally planned.
In late March, when colleges and universities moved all classes online, M.S. in Commerce faculty and staff worked hard to prepare an alternative GIE experience. For the month of May, M.S. in Commerce students took part in three exciting virtual modules in lieu of traveling abroad. Students finished up Module 1 in early May, an online learning experience which focused on seven interviews with influential business or geopolitical actors around the world, as listed below:
- Rudra Chaudhuri, Director, Carnegie India
- Marisa Drew (McIntire ’86), CEO of Impact Advisory and Finance, Credit Suisse
- Harry Harding, Professor and former Dean, UVA Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy
- Chris Nassetta (McIntire ’84, UVA Parent ’17), President and CEO, Hilton
- Scott Price (GSA&S ’90, Darden ’90, UVA Parent ’17), Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer, UPS
- Juan Manuel Santos (UVA Parent ’17), former President, Colombia
- Carol Sawdye (McIntire ’85), Chief Operating Officer, PwC Network
Personally, I found these interviews to be extremely interesting, especially during this unprecedented time. Speakers covered a variety of important topics, including how the ongoing pandemic has impacted their businesses, what advice they have for students entering the job market, and how they expect the pandemic to shape the future of commerce and geopolitics.
It was fascinating to hear their perspectives, and while it is unfortunate that GIE could not take place in a traditional sense, I very much appreciated that the M.S. in Commerce faculty were still able to provide us with such an invaluable learning experience.