MS in Commerce Blog

Inside the Classroom: Global Immersion Experience Seminars

Learn about how the M.S. in Commerce Program is providing an in-class Global Immersion Experience for its students this year.


Compiled by Patrick Phibbs (M.S. in Commerce ’21)

The Global Immersion Experience (GIE) is an essential part of the M.S. in Commerce Program experience. The five-credit course, which usually concludes the program and runs from late May through early June, is a crucial part of the curriculum in which topics and lessons learned throughout the fall and spring come together in one transformative, global experience. It gives students the opportunity to apply what they’ve learned while traveling throughout a dynamic region of the world to see how business operates in that particular region.

Due to COVID-19, all University-sponsored international travel was postponed through the end of the summer. Although the concerns and reality of the pandemic left us without the opportunity to travel overseas with our classmates, the program faculty were able to formulate an alternative set of course offerings.

Around the same time last year, the program had to shift to a virtual offering of GIE as well, so this is not the first time we’ve had to make changes. Last year, when asked about how GIE would be restructured, Associate Dean for Global Affairs and Professor Peter Maillet mentioned that the courses would still expose students to business in the global context, while leveraging faculty expertise in particular topic areas.

“They are still all thoroughly global classes,” Maillet said. “While we can’t replicate the GIE experience, we aren’t abandoning the point of GIE. We’re keeping that global philosophy as the centerpiece of what we’re doing.”

For many students, GIE is one of the major reasons why the M.S. in Commerce intrigues them in the first place. The thought of traveling to a new region with classmates and professors and using the knowledge gained throughout the program, all while learning about local cultures, really excited me.

In lieu this year we got to choose two courses to make up the five-credit GIE class: a Regional Seminar course, which centers its curriculum around a particular location, and a Topic Seminar, which examines a specific business topic through a global lens. Another interesting aspect of these courses is that many of the key speakers we would have met in person during our GIE travels are being brought into the virtual classroom.

Regional Seminars (students choose one)

Business, Politics, and Culture in Southeast Asia, taught by Professor Trey Maxham: This course examines topics like the unique and dynamic macro business environments of Southeast Asian countries, how these countries fit into a broader regional and global business context, and how major economic sectors and companies drive growth within the region.

Evolution and Future Relevance of the European Union, taught by Professor Ira Harris: The EU’s governance structure and regulatory approach have broad implications for business standards worldwide. This course dives into the evolution of the EU’s essential purpose and future role in global business.

Rising China: Assets and Obstacles to Becoming a Global Superpower, taught by Professor Jim Burroughs: In just 40 years, China has gone from one of the most impoverished countries on Earth to the world’s second largest economy. Although there has been significant change, challenges remain, including the proper balance of a planned versus free market, the protection of intellectual property, and more. How China responds to these challenges and its potential rise to become the next global superpower are the focus of this GIE course.

Topic Seminars (students choose one)

Global Sustainability Solutions­, taught by Professor Kerrie Carfagno: This course examines the effects of environmental issues on people, communities, organizations, and corporate profitability, while also exploring successful leadership strategies used to increase resilience. The course also explores how different cultures find local solutions to global problems.

Investing in the Global Economy, taught by Professor Mike Gallmeyer: Economic, political, historical, and cultural forces shape global markets. This course examines the current opportunities and challenges in global investing, while looking into the forces that will drive returns in these markets over the next few decades.

Purpose, Power, and Pay: International Corporate Governance, taught by Professor Amanda Cowen: During this course, students are introduced to fundamental theories of corporate governance and explore how practices differ across countries. The course also encourages consideration of how political and cultural context influences these practices and what implications they have for firm performance and strategy.

Social Entrepreneurship in Emerging Markets, taught by Professor Bevin Etienne: Global population growth is making it increasingly difficult for national and local governments and other stakeholders to meet economic, social, and environmental needs of society in emerging markets. This course looks into the role that social entrepreneurship plays in providing these needs by leveraging the circular economy principles to achieve wealth inequality reduction and raise the living standard.

Thank you to our professors for committing to creating an awesome in-class GIE experience!

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