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A different kind of business travel

Josephine Eke, MBA ’11, spent last spring observing China’s rapid development and growth by visiting the headquarters of Mindray, a growing medical-devices company, and Yantian port, the fourth-busiest container terminal in the world.

The experiential-learning opportunity, she said, increased her awareness of the connections between business practices in China and America — such as how labor issues in one of the world’s foremost emerging markets affect the cost of goods in the United States. But it also changed the way that the senior director of global brand creative at Hasbro thinks about business.

“We develop visuals for our brand to go all over world, and so my global view and learning about other cultures is critical,” said Eke, who was among approximately 30 graduate students whose visit to China marked the end of their experience in Northeastern’s Executive MBA program.

The 16-month program — which is designed for professionals on the fast track to career advancement — allows students to take courses on topics ranging from industry analysis and strategic thinking and execution, to the roles of government and leadership.

For the past five years, students in the program have spent a global residency in China and Mexico. While in these countries, they work as part of cross-cultural teams with several hundred participants from other MBA programs, including executives from South America.

Participants also spend three days in Washington, D.C., to learn about the inner workings of the U.S. government and the economy.

Ravi Ramamurti, Distinguished Professor of International Business and director of Northeastern’s Center for Emerging Markets, developed and runs the 12-day residency in China. He stressed that today’s American manager must learn not only to think strategically but also to think globally.

“We try to create a global mindset,” Ramamurti said. “Students are connecting different geographies and seeing that the world out there is highly interdependent. They’re also recognizing that powerful new competitors are emerging from unexpected places like China and India.”

The impact of China’s burgeoning economy on the global landscape made the trip to that country a necessity, Ramamurti said.

As he explained, “All managers in the United States need to understand the implications of these high-growth, fast-changing megamarkets. This program really transforms people’s view of the world, their mindsets, and sometimes even their career paths.”