Perception can stem from personal experience and shape a person’s view of the world. It is a constantly evolving phenomena in everyday life. As it pertains to international business, the perception of culture plays a big role. Millikin strives to give its students experience in dealing with the different cultures in order to help shape their perception. The cornerstone class in the curriculum for Tabor in regards to this is BU 330.
BU 330, better known as International Business, is one of the most discussed courses at Tabor. Throughout this course, students work through the semester in small groups to create an international business plan. During the creation of the plan, students research many topics that are discussed in lectures. Some topics include culture, startup strategies, international currencies, and more. Presentations are given to a panel of judges consisting of business executives, presidents of banks, and other experienced business people. The panel provides feedback from their own personal experiences and perspectives in the international business world to help further the learning experience of making an international business plan.
Traveling to another country is completely different than conducting business internationally. This is something that students soon figure out when lectures begin. There are certain things that you learn through the lectures that are crucial to being successful in international business, such as greeting and conversing with people in a business setting. A business deal in South America may be completely different then a deal in China. It is imperative to have an understanding of the world around you especially when doing business in an international setting. Understanding how different cultures work and conduct business is impossible without a change in one’s perspective of the world. Students learn the importance of this change in perspective as it gives them insights on how to conduct themselves when interacting with others around the world.
For this course, understanding different cultures is only half the battle. Once you have learned the material, the next step is to actually implement the knowledge into a customized business plan. Of course, one of the biggest steps in the process to making the plan is choosing a country in which to set up a business. Once a country is selected, extensive research has to be done in order to make the plan successful. It’s one thing to sit down and hear stories from somebody, such as Dr. Munoz, through his lectures. But it is another to start from scratch and have to basically create your own perspective without actually being in the country setting up the business. That, arguably, is the most difficult part of the project, but at the same time, that is where the performance learning takes place.
This is not a project that can be put off until last minute. It takes many hours each week of researching and planning on top of working in a group. Time management skills and group skills quickly come into play when an 80-page business plan is the final product. Delegation is another skill that students interact with, as there are many different topics that are covered within the plan. It is one thing to listen to a lecture on how to delegate, but is another when you have to actually have to do it within a group of people.
All in all, perception together with performance learning plays an important role in helping students grow and widen their perspective on a topic such as international business. These skills stay with students throughout the rest of their time at Millikin, as well as throughout the rest of their career that they otherwise would not have without this type of learning environment.