UCLA Anderson MBAs Look Forward to First Global Immersion in Cuba

UCLA Anderson MBAs Look Forward to First Global Immersion in Cuba


The Center for Global Management continues to expand international exchanges

AUGUST 30, 2023

In summer 2023, UCLA Anderson Class of 2024 Executive MBA students visited Esade Business School in Spain

Each year, UCLA Anderson’s Center for Global Management (CGM) enables some 300 students across Anderson’s MBA programs to travel and study abroad through Global Immersion and International Exchange offerings. Taught by UCLA Anderson faculty, 4-unit experiential learning Global Immersion electives expose students to a country’s economy, political environment, major industries and businesses, startup communities, tech scene, local culture, key historical events and the many aspects of conducting business outside the United States.

On the UCLA campus, CGM hosted networking events and Global Management Seminars for EMBA students and alumni from both ESSEC Business School in France and Anderson

In the summer of 2023, the CGM programmed international exchanges for Anderson students and hosted students from abroad on the UCLA campus, as well as organized several events held on campus. As CGM executive director Lucy Allard (’06) reports, there’s much more to come in the fall and beyond, including the school’s first Global Immersion course in Cuba. “The CGM continues to globalize and enhance the student and alumni experience, and transform the learning environment at UCLA Anderson,” says Allard. “Its coverage of regions, topics and issues equips students to become successful and empathetic global leaders and active participants in shaping a better world, and further advances diversity and inclusion by bringing global and multicultural perspectives to the UCLA Anderson community.”

Q: What were some of CGM’s summer 2023 highlights and milestones?

The CGM offers one-week international exchanges over the summer that are conducive to working students’ schedules so that our fully employed and executive MBA students may participate. In 2023, the CGM renewed agreements with eight of its partner universities and entered into a new exchange agreement with SDA Bocconi School of Management, Italy. Over the summer, the CGM sent 65 students to attend courses with top partner schools of business and management in nine different countries — these included London Business School, Insper in Brazil, Tel Aviv University, Melbourne Business School in Australia and Waseda University’s Graduate School of Business and Finance in Japan, among others. The CGM also welcomed around 40 students from seven of the same partner institutions to campus for the summer international exchange week for live, in-person instruction during the EMBA block week in August.

Throughout the summer, the CGM hosted five international groups of executive, global executive and part-time MBA students for its Global Management Seminars. Around 170 participants from top institutions in France, Hong Kong SAR, Spain and South Korea visited campus to participate in these seminars that align with the CGM’s key thematics of technology and entrepreneurship, environment and social responsibility, and geopolitical and trade issues.

Popular seminars included those focused on technology, innovation and digital transformation, entrepreneurship and ESG, and Hollywood’s golden age of disruption. Faculty teaching sessions were complemented by company visits and presentations by industry speakers that included UCLA Anderson alumni and current students who serve as company hosts and guest speakers. The groups visited Warner Bros. Studios, Paramount Studios, Amazon Studios, Snap, Amgen, Abbott, Hyundai Capital America and Stubbs Alderton & Markiles Preccelerator, where they had an opportunity to see, learn and hear from Anderson alumni and experience first hand how successful companies in the Los Angeles area innovate and adapt to technological change. The CGM organized networking sessions for UCLA Anderson MBA students, too.

Left: Anderson EMBA Class of 2024 students Sibel Kantarci, E.A. Moss and Tommy Harris visited Melbourne Business School | Right: FEMBA Class of 2024 students traveled to Insper in Brazil

Q: Where will the Global Immersion courses take Anderson students this fall?

This will be the first year we’re offering a course on Cuba. It will be taught by Gonzalo Freixes, a native Cuban who immigrated to the U.S. with his parents in the early 1960s as refugees of the communist regime in that country. The CGM has been working closely with UCLA’s Export Control officers and Office of Insurance and Risk Management to screen potential entities, ensure compliance and prepare for the week in Havana that will feature business visits and/or speakers in the energy, mining, agriculture, tobacco, rum, and hospitality and tourism industries, while also educating students on the country’s health care system, government initiatives for small businesses and the rich ancestry of Cuba’s population.

In September, around 35 full-time and fully employed MBA students and alumni will travel to Cape Town with Gayle Northrop (’96) to experience social entrepreneurship and social innovation, as well as sustainable economic and community development in application to South Africa. The CGM has allocated spaces to alumni from the classes of 2020, 2021 and 2022 who missed out on many international opportunities as students because of the pandemic. The in-country week will include tours of private social enterprises, innovation hubs and accelerators in the city and the townships, where students will hear from successful social entrepreneurs and community leaders, and emerging entrepreneurs working to start up and scale their social innovations and small businesses. Through these visits and related analyses, students will explore policies, initiatives and preconditions necessary to support innovation and build a sustainable social enterprise in South Africa.

In addition, the 2023–24 academic year will include courses with planned travel to Chile and India (December 2023), and to Singapore, Germany and the United Arab Emirates (March 2024). In the Chile course, taught by Sebastian Edwards, students will study the election of a Constitutional Convention, which is a body that ensures gender parity and reserved seats for indigenous people. The country is rewriting the new “law of the land” that will determine how Chile organizes its society, its politics and its business over the next 40 to 50 years. They’ll get to feel what it is like for business leaders to live in an environment where future rules of the game are being determined.

The India course, taught by Romain Wacziarg, will provide students with a general understanding of the business environment of India and convey familiarity with the specificities of the market, and non-market environments of business in India. It will also provide detailed knowledge of four critical sectors of the Indian economy: finance, entertainment, high technology and biotech/health care.

Over the summer, the CGM also began preparations for the October application launch for our three winter/spring courses to Germany, Singapore and the UAE. Nico Voigtlaender will familiarize students with Germany’s broader business environment and explore how entrepreneurial activity takes place in the country. The Easton Technology Management Center’s faculty director, Terry Kramer, will provide a perspective on the impressive areas of innovation and dynamic role of technology in the Greater China and broader Asia regions. And Eric Sussman will lead a group to study the extraordinary growth and transformation of Dubai and its policies and initiatives to balance accelerated economic growth with environmental and distributional concerns.

Q: What else is happening during the fall quarter?

The CGM has been busy planning fall programming and discussion series that will feature multidisciplinary dialogues. For instance, we’ll discuss global leadership in management and breaking the glass ceiling from a corporate, philanthropic and board perspective with Julia Gouw, former president and COO of East West Bank. In partnership with the Easton Center, we’ll learn how generative AI will change products, services, industries and society around the world. In September, we’ll open applications for the CGM Mentor Program, now in its 11th year. It pairs CGM advisory members with MBA students for valuable counsel and mentorship. In November, we’ll host a discussion on big tech and antitrust that marks the eleventh year of CGM’s global business and policy forum partnership with the UCLA School of Law.

The CGM has also been assisting with the in-country logistical aspects of one of UCLA Anderson’s new and exciting capstone alternatives for full-time MBA students, the Global Social Impact Consulting course, taught by Gayle Northrop. Twenty students will travel in December to meet with clients in Kenya and Ethiopia. This new capstone course aims to introduce students to the challenges, opportunities and inspiration associated with creating positive social impact in a global context, focusing on nonprofit organizations in East Africa.