Global Citizens

“The Elon commitment, Engage minds, Inspire leaders, Global citizens”

When I read these words, I cannot help but think about what it means to be a global citizen and how becoming one could re-shape our carriers as future MBAs. Individually, we surely have a different definition of what a global citizen is, depending on our cultural, educational, or national backgrounds.

Nevertheless, I believe that at the end we can all agree, at least in principle, with the following definition: being a global citizen is to understand that we live in a highly interdependent world, to understand and accept different ideologies and ways of doing things, and to respect the believes, rights and traditions of others.

Also, I will add that a global citizen in the 21st century business environment needs to know that every decision taken by him/her will likely affect (positively or negatively) to stakeholders in places we never thought about before. In my opinion, becoming a global citizen is looking at the world not as a treat but as an opportunity to grow both personally and professionally.

The university makes an effort to prepare students to be globally engaged by focusing on the following key objectives:

  • Double need-based financial aid
  • Provide 100 percent study abroad access
  • Triple international student enrollment and create a campus community that better reflects the world’s diversity
  • Be a national leader in preparing students to succeed in a multicultural world
  • Build a multi-faith center and promote interfaith dialogue
  • Develop the Elon Academy as a national model

“Elon must do everything possible to prepare students for successful lives in a diverse 21st century world. Today, students’ first employment may very well be outside of the United States, and they certainly will compete for careers on an international basis. They will encounter differences in language, cultural perspectives, race, nationality, religious traditions, and political and economic structures like no other generation before them.”

Undergrad students are maybe the most likely to take advantages of what Elon has to offer because they spend three or more full years on campus, but what about those of us who are part-time MBAs? Some of us come to campus only once a week for two years and never have a chance to even meet the entire faculty, much less the rest of the students.  Some of us will graduate without really taking advantage of the University’s facilities and programs. Of course, most of us are in this situation because of our commitments to our daily lives.

So, how can we learn to be or become better global citizens while attending Elon as part time students? Well, I would like to recommend to you a couple of simple, yet effective ways to take advantage of what the MBA program has to offer.

First, try to get to know as many people as you can in the program. Look around you and realize, if you haven’t already, that in each classroom there are people either from other countries, or that have extensively traveled all over the world. We all have some experiences to share and learn among us other than finance, accounting or strategic management.

Second, take advantage, if you can, of the international business course trip that the MBA program offers twice a year. You can have the opportunity to travel to either Asia or Europe and witness firsthand how business is conducted on the other side of the Pacific and the Atlantic Ocean. Of course, you will also be able to learn a little more about the history, people, and culture of places and cities such as Singapore, Beijing, Barcelona, Prague, Italy and the Czech Republic.

Finally, if the above two options are not something you are able to do, you can always participate in one of the many events that the SAA Leadership Council organizes throughout the year such as the annual Pig Picking, baseball game trips, mixers and Elon Football tailgates. These events are also a great opportunity to mingle and get to know interesting people outside of the classrooms.

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