SamAn update from Sam Puri, who is participating in the Global Leadership Program in Japan and China:

It’s been an absolutely crazy year at SMU. I still can’t believe how fast this year has gone by. It seemed like only yesterday when I applied online for SMU’s MBA program. Although SMU offers an Executive MBA program as well as a Professional MBA program, I knew that I wanted to attend SMU’s full-time program and enjoy a full two-year experience of grad school without worrying about fulfilling the obligations of a job.

Quite a few things attracted me to SMU, including its top MBA school ranking, which is consistently ranked as a top MBA program in the world, nationally, and locally in Texas for its Executive MBA, Professional MBA, and Full-Time MBA program. Also, SMU Cox’s Leadership Center is a fantastic program which offers seminars on many important hard and soft skills that may not be taught in traditional MBA courses.

The Global Leadership Program (GLP) at SMU, however, was an item that specifically caught my eye while researching Cox’s Full-Time MBA program. The Global Leadership Program is part of the SMU MBA curriculum, which entails first-year MBA students embarking on a trip to one of several international locations to learn more about the culture and business practices that internationally-based companies employ. The program includes company visits but also encourages students to have fun and explore the countries during any free time available between company visits.

At the beginning of the school year, first-year MBA students submit their preference among four different international locations to determine the specific GLP trip that they will be attending. A lottery is created, and generally students will get their first or second preference in terms of location. Every year SMU offers different countries and cities to the first-year students. The locations offered as a part of the GLP program this year included:

  • Asia A: Tokyo, Japan, and Shanghai, China
  • Asia B: Seoul, South Korea, and Shanghai, China
  • Latin America: Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Santiago, Chile
  • Europe: London, England, and Bratislava, Slovakia

I selected Asia A as my top choice, and was lucky to be included in the group that gets to go to Japan and China. There are 38 total students, including myself, who are a part of the Asia A GLP trip. Coming along for the ride is our Strategy professor, Gordon Walker, as well as Michael Kaplan, an academic advisor for MBA students. The 2015 Full-Time MBA class is awesome, in my opinion. I really appreciate everyone’s motivation and drive to achieve both academically and professionally as well as help others in any way that they can. Both Michael and Gordon are pretty down-to-earth, so it should be a fun trip.

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On our way

As of right now we are on a plane from Chicago taking us straight to Tokyo. During our five days in Tokyo, we will be visiting firms including Hitachi, Price-Waterhouse Coopers (PWC), Nishimura, Asahi, and Kirin.

After visiting the companies in Japan, we will head to Shanghai, China, and rendezvous with the Asia B group. Both groups will be visiting companies including Subway, Yum! Brands, KIC Shuion, Dell, Bank of China, and the American Chamber of Commerce. After visiting the companies we will head back to Dallas and prepare a presentation on our experiences and what we learned at a GLP symposium on May 20. Five to six students from each GLP trip will represent their entire GLP group by speaking at the Symposium.

2014-05-06 04.20.30I will be one of the representatives for the Symposium. Our GLP is actually a graded course that we receive for course credit, and the presentation is worth a large chunk of the overall grade, so the onus is really on the speakers to present well as the grade given to the presentations are the grades shared by the entire group for the respective GLP trip. Needless to say, the pressure is definitely on to make sure that I am thoroughly prepared to present at the Symposium. This blog is a method for me to chronicle my experiences as well as my classmates’ experiences to help me better prepare for the presentation. I plan to blog as often as I can while in Japan and China, and I invite you to come along in the journey with me as I update this blog!