Management Professor Amanda Cowen serves as the Faculty Director of the UVA McIntire School of Commerce’s M.S. in Global Commerce. She also teaches the Program’s “International Corporate Governance & Strategy” course. In her research, she aims to develop socially informed theories that help to explain decision making and outcomes in the corporate governance and strategic leadership domains. I sat down with Professor Cowen to learn more about the value of this dual master’s degree.
What would you say is the value of McIntire’s M.S. in Global Commerce (MSGC)?
The MSGC has a dual mission. Not only does it help talented, young students to acquire a global mindset and build business experience, but it also equips them with the skills to become successful professionals in today’s global environment. The first aspect, the global mindset, is achieved by working in an international cohort with students from nearly a dozen different national backgrounds. Students experience cultural differences in class as well as in their daily life, since they live together on three different continents and gather hands-on experience in each cultural setting. That is a key aspect of our program. Only by experiencing an environment firsthand can one truly understand it. The second aspect, becoming a successful global professional, is fostered by the practice-focused course approach in which cross-cultural teams solve complex cases and present them in class, just as they would in a real-life scenario.
What are the strengths of the MSGC’s curriculum?
The curriculum revolves around shaping skills and values that are needed to succeed in an international, dynamic environment. Moreover, students have the opportunity to come in contact with firms in all three locations—the United States, China, and Spain—where they expand their network and gather valuable insights. The curriculum is constantly adapted to match today’s dynamic global environment, with the intent to expose students to a large variety of industries and cultures. It aims at building a global perspective. Keeping this in mind, the cases and theory we cover are chosen based on their relevance in today’s global environment. Students learn how different institutional contexts influence organizational strategy, operations, and performance.
How else does the MSGC differ from a typical U.S. Master of Science program?
Students are required to write an academic paper, the master’s thesis. During the writing process, students learn how to solve a complex problem in a team. Moreover, they intensively engage in a chosen field of interest in which they are able to extend current literature and create new knowledge for the global market place.