The UCLA Anderson community continues to respond to the pandemic with adaptability and great resilience. The CGM has worked hard to identify additional and creative ways to enhance online learning, build community while physically apart and add value to its programming. The pandemic has underscored how interconnected the world is, highlighting the central role of the CGM and reinforcing the alignment of our mission and programming to prepare students to become responsible world leaders through learning about and experiencing different global issues that impact business, society and the planet.
The 2020-21 academic year was extremely active for the center. The virtual environment continued to provide a platform to reach a broader global audience, strengthen engagement with alumni and gain greater access to diverse and global speakers. The pandemic has enhanced interdisciplinary collaborations and brought the CGM closer to cross-campus units through expanding existing collaborations and creating new partnerships. We celebrated the eighth year of our global business and policy forum partnership with the UCLA School of Law and organized significant joint programming with Anderson’s Easton Technology Management Center. The CGM also played a pivotal role in the launch of the new Centers@Anderson discussion series, a collaboration among the various centers designed to address issues that are broadening and cross-cutting in nature.
During the year, around 800 students enrolled in 15 different global management electives, all delivered remotely, including a new course on technology’s role in society, with a focus on developing markets. While the pandemic prevented travel for global immersion courses, the center redesigned and successfully delivered two fully virtual courses. Live interactive sessions, guest speakers and virtual tours complemented the teaching sessions. We introduced our first regionally focused course, which looked at the challenges and opportunities that the European Union structure, Brexit and COVID-19 have created for business, and offered our most popular course in recent years, focused on technology transformation, which would typically travel to Shenzhen and Hong Kong. The CGM successfully redesigned and delivered its first virtual global management seminar through a blend of asynchronous and live sessions, and while the 2020 international exchange was cancelled, agreements were renewed with nine partner schools and a fully virtual exchange will be offered to students this summer.
Advancing the global research efforts of Anderson faculty and students is at the core of the CGM’s mission. Despite being unable to travel to conduct critical primary research, over 50% of applied management capstone projects across programs had a global focus where students gained meaningful international exposure. Projects focused on health care, trade and economic development, technology adoption and advancement, conservation and environmental management. The CGM also continued its investment in the global research efforts of UCLA Anderson faculty and Ph.D. students, and funded MBA students to assist faculty in their global research and global course development efforts.
During the year, we engaged in about 50 events, redesigned existing programming for the virtual environment and launched three new series. Thousands of students, alumni, faculty, staff and members of the extended UCLA community and general public engaged virtually in multidisciplinary dialogue around global issues. Discussions were held on topics ranging from U.S.–India relations to environmental sustainability and the role of green finance to equity, diversity and inclusion in the global workplace. Policy forums brought together business and law students for discussions on contract law and the challenge of COVID-19 from a global perspective, as well as climate change, international cooperation and the role of business. Kai-Fu Lee, AI expert and former head of Google China, delivered the keynote address at our annual Woo Greater China Business Conference, which brought together leading innovators, influencers and investors from a variety of impact-driven sectors to explore technology-driven transformation in the region. Our new global immersion series reunited alumni for an educational update on what has changed in the country’s business, socioeconomic and political environments since traveling together, and the global networking series allowed students to expand their networks with peers at our international exchange partner schools.
We continue to be energized by the support and active engagement of students, faculty and alumni around the globe, and are deeply grateful for the generous support and engagement of our board members in guiding and shaping the next generation of global leaders. We thank Sebastian Edwards for his contributions as CGM faculty director and welcome Professor Chris Tang, who succeeds him in this role. We look forward to building upon the momentum and engagement generated over the last year, positively adapting to changes that are on the horizon and resuming international travel for our courses once it is deemed safe to do so. As we advance UCLA Anderson’s research, teaching and service missions, we will continue our commitment to diversity and inclusion by bringing a global and multicultural perspective to the UCLA community and providing timely and relevant information about global issues. We warmly congratulate the Class of 2021 and look forward to welcoming our new and returning students and being together on campus once again!
Lucy E. Allard Nelson ('06)
Executive Director, Center for Global Management