Beginning next year, MBA students at Dartmouth College's Tuck School of Business will be required to complete an international elective course to graduate.
According to the school, the requirement adds a necessary element of global insight to the MBA experience.
“The world has become much more global,” says Phillip C. Stocken, associate dean for the MBA program at Tuck. “As a result, we believe our graduates must have a global business capability—a global mindset—to successfully navigate the different cultures, countries, and markets in which they will inevitably work. There is no better way to do this than spending time on the ground in another country.”
To meet the new requirement, students can currently choose from one of three qualifying elective courses. Options include a global consulting course, a team-based business project elective, and a "global insight expedition" class.
Many business schools require students to pursue some kind of global experience during their MBA. Stanford MBAs, for instance, must pursue a global experience as part of the program, and can choose from a range of options, including various international study trips and an exchange program with China's Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management.
Likewise, in order to graduate, USC Marshall MBAs must take a course called "The Global Context of Business," which includes a 10-day overseas study trip, where students visit companies and participate in projects.
International experiences like these electives can add substantial value to an MBA's profile. Not only can they help a student better understand another culture, but they can also provide hands-on experience that can't be acquired in a classroom. And they can also help lead to jobs. Chris Canton, a Boston College MBA grad who in 2011 did an international strategy consulting project with a Chinese aircraft manufacturer, says that this experience helped him eventually land a job with an investment management firm.
“The way I have it on my resume is basically as if it was an internship with the project, my title, and what I did,” says Canton. “And in every interview, they asked about it.”