For three weeks, starting on the 31st of December, 2018, 38 students from XIME (representing all three campuses) had the privilege of being a part of the International Study Tour in Europe. Students began class at Audencia Business School, Nantes, France (the partner institute) on Monday, the 7th of January, 2019.
For the next four days, Ms. Heloise Tessier, a professor in HR, conducted the course – ‘Managing Organisations in an International Environment’. Ms. Heloise, with her extensive experience in working in culturally diverse environments, expounded the many subtleties and nuances of managing and coordinating employees in an international environment and gave many examples to clarify the same. Each day consisted of 2 sessions with lunch in between. The morning session was devoted to theoretical concepts in HR with a focus on their application in the international/cross-cultural arena. History of globalisation, Micro and macro environment, Porter’s 5 Forces, Hofstede’s 6 Cultural Dimensions and Trompenaars Cultural Dimensions were discussed, to name a few. The post-lunch session was primarily reserved for activities such as group discussions, case studies, presentations and mock negotiations. What made these classes especially valuable were the inputs and interactions with the students of other countries, namely USA, South Korea and Germany. One of the main points emphasised by Ms. Heloise with regard to managing HR in an international context is : ‘DO NOT JUDGE’ and is a prerequisite and cornerstone to successful cross-cultural relations. On the last day of the course, a test was held to evaluate our learning.
That weekend, we headed to Brussels, Belgium which was to be the scene of our next learning opportunity. Starting Monday, the 14th of January, we were taken to a number of institutions of the European Union, the economic and political entity consisting of 28 countries. The institutions visited were – The House of European History (Museum), the Hemicycle (the EU Parliament), the Parliamentarium, Business Europe (the EU’s equivalent of India’s CII), the National Bank and the European Commission. At each of these institutions informative and interactive sessions were held. These discussions were especially interesting because Brexit was being decided in the House of Commons at the time, and the China issue – how it is growing its influence in the EU – could be addressed.
Throughout the trip, the itinerary provided for ample sightseeing so that, we the students, could ‘take Europe in’ and experience the beauty of it all. After all, “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. The cities visited were Amsterdam, Paris, Cologne, Reims, Luxembourg, Bruges and Zurich.
The students landed back on Sunday, the 20th, and all they could say at the end of such a wonderful experience was “Au revoir, Europe”.