This past week the full-time M.B.A. class here at the Tippie School of Management had the pleasure of taking part in a session called “Succeeding Cross-Culturally.” Consultant Judy Shen-Filerman of Dreambridge Partners led the discussion in separate sessions split between the first and second-year classes. The sessions comprised part of the LEAP component of the M.B.A. program, LEAP being an acronym that stand for “Leadership, Ethics and Professionalism.”
Having had the privilege of living in one of the more culturally diverse metropolises in the United States, New York City, I am fairly aware of some of the challenges that can arise when people of diverse and myriad backgrounds are living and working together. However, it is this diversity and multiplicity of viewpoints and backgrounds that help to make New York the magnificent city that it is. New York is the cultural mecca that it is in large part because of the extraordinary variation one sees in its residents. This mindset helps me frame the world to an extent, and it provided a base for this session.
Mrs. Shen-Filerman concentrated to a certain extent on the experiences of those Americans in the class who had lived abroad. And while I’ve been abroad in the past, it has never been for a long period of time, nor was I working while away from the US. Hearing the viewpoints of my classmates with regard to their experiences was a great learning tool. If I were given the opportunity to work abroad, I would probably take it, especially given the value that it can bring to one’s professional and personal life.
There is quite a large international presence in the Tippie Class of 2013 (19%, while the Class of 2014 is 24% international), so hearing the international students’ points-of-view in a classroom setting was also enlightening. We discussed such ideas as different notions of family, diverse educational experiences, power distance in relationships as it relates to cultural norms, and other interesting topics.
Some of the material may have been review in a sense for many of my classmates, but it was good to hear these ideas stated explicitly in a forum like this one. I definitely walked away knowing more about my (supremely awesome) classmates than I did before, and with a thirst to know even more.