The politics of global business is becoming even more important as we witness the dismantling of the global post-war era, with the rise of neo-nationalism and protectionism in a multi-polar world. The current uncertainty has prompted business schools to launch or bolster MBA modules that help students get to grips with geopolitics.
The programs are highly topical and constantly refreshed with case studies ripped straight from the headlines, touching on issues such as climate change, economic sanctions and refugee crises.
Often, and in addition to the rich classroom discussion among diverse peer groups, the courses are taught in an experiential way — through consultancy projects, overseas study trips and visits to multinational companies and government institutions, as students meet with senior executives from across a wide arrange of industries and companies.
Here are the top 10 MBA programs teaching students how to navigate geopolitics.
Full-time MBA students at IESE Business School in Barcelona can take a second-year elective called Strategy & Geopolitics. It is a hugely popular course, with about 40 percent of students taking the class taught by Professor Mike Rosenberg. He draws on the varied perspectives of the highly diverse and international MBA class with students from 60 different countries to teach the module.View School Profile
The Grenoble MBA program includes a core 15-hour module for credit with individual assignments on Geopolitics. The interaction between professors and the multi-ethic student group in this course, ensures that through applied examples drawn from the students’ own territories, a basic methodology for geopolitical analysis becomes part of the student skill set.View School Profile
The University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School in the UK teaches geopolitics through experiential projects and simulations in an elective course on business strategy and politics. The course gives MBA students the chance to apply academic theory to the real business world, which helps to cement the learnings from the course.View School Profile
ESSEC Business School in France hosts a course for full-time MBA students called Geopolitics and Business. The course is constantly kept up to date with fresh additions this year considering how the COVID-19 pandemic will impact global diplomacy, and whether it will unite world nations or drive them further apart.View School Profile
HEC Paris, which has its Center for Geopolitics, runs a summer program called Geopolitics, Globalization and Business Strategy. Students earn a certificate following successful completion of the course, which draws on real-life case studies based on current geopolitical issues. The program also draws a wide array of prominent guest speakers and students will learn from their diverse peer group as well. In addition, students discuss the geopolitics of climate change and resource scarcity in the Sustainable and Disruptive Innovation Track in the MBA program.View School Profile
At Yale, the Global Network Weeks give MBA students the opportunity to pursue intensive study at another business school. As part of this, students study a module called Geopolitics and Global Business in which they learn how companies navigate cultural and socio-political barriers to find new business opportunities abroad. The students also meet with senior executives from across a wide arrange of industries and companies such as the Wall Street Journal.View School Profile
In 2010, Spain’s ESADE Business School launched its Center for Global Economy and Geopolitics, or EsadeGeo for short. Leveraging the Center’s expertise, ESADE teaches a full-time MBA course called Business, Government & Society for students who want to understand geopolitical thinking and how it has shaped the modern world. The students will also learn how to think strategically in light of these developments.View School Profile
Rice Jones offers a course called Business-Government Relations which explores how politics influences the private sector and the competitiveness of companies. MBA students explore the major political institutions and actors that shape US public policy and they also analyze business strategies to navigate politics, while formulating several of their own strategies.View School Profile
At the Wharton School, MBA students can take a course on Law, Economics & Geopolitics. The module equips students with insight into the legal, economic and political forces shaping global business today, drawing on recent events such as economic sanctions and refugee crises. The course also touches on international arbitration and intellectual property rights law, as well as the role of the World Trade Organization on business practices.View School Profile
USC Marshall’s signature PRIME overseas study trip sees MBA students travelling abroad to one of a select number of countries to gain first-hand knowledge of how business is done globally. But the students also take into consideration the political constraints and opportunities of the country as they spend 10 days visiting domestic and multinational companies as well as government institutions.View School Profile