Northwest’s management students collaborate with global team to respond to a real-world business challenge.
Virtual teams, real business project
Students in Northwest Missouri State University’s multinational management course worked with teams from throughout the world this fall to respond to a real-world business challenge.
The X-Culture project was established 10 years ago to give college students the opportunity to take what they have learned in coursework and apply it to a business research project for a real company. Students who participate in the eight-week project learn to work with a global virtual team of five to six students, overcoming challenges that come with working with others in different time zones and cultures.
Participating students gain confidence in their cross-cultural communication skills as well as a greater awareness of the outside world and cultures through the real-world reports they prepare and the global teams through which they collaborate.
Like real-world experience
“It’s a big challenge,” Dr. Adrienne Reynolds, a Northwest assistant professor of management in the Melvin D. and Valorie G. Booth School of Business, said. “It does take a lot of time for students during those eight weeks, but it is perhaps one of the best examples I have seen or used as a professor to replicate a real-world international work experience without having to actually leave the campus.”
This fall, 63 different nationalities were involved in the project. Sutton Ward, a junior international business and business management major from Kansas City, Missouri, worked on a team with six other students from Australia, China, Colombia, and other locations throughout the United States. His team wrote a 25-page research paper for a company based in Brazil and communicated daily through WhatsApp, an instant messaging app, to discuss the project.
“Having a good team is key,” Ward said. “My team was phenomenal. I know that I have built relationships with people around the globe where later in life if I need something or even if I am just there, I can go see them.”
The project allowed for students to build relations with people throughout the world while learning about other cultures, navigating time zone differences, and evaluating the international business market.
In addition to the research paper, students compete to submit the best report for each company. The companies decide through their own criteria which team delivers the winning report and considers ideas from the submitted reports to use for their businesses.
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