Diversity lends itself in various forms – ethnicity, religion, culture, language, age, culture, work-experience, background, etc., and I now firmly believe that a B-School is the place where it all comes together, a place where you can experience it in the most concentrated form. I cannot think of any other place other than a B School that can bring together people from such diverse backgrounds, all under one roof, and provide a crash course in understanding most, if not all, of the various forms in which diversity prevails.
With global trade and free flow of goods and services across international frontiers being the norm, comes the need to be able to understand and appreciate the nuances of working with the people from different countries and conducting businesses in those countries. Additionally, this knowledge provides the invaluable opportunity to learn from the perspectives that such differences offer and to lead life in a better way.
The University of Maryland is recognized for and ranks high in the diversity of the students and the Smith school has led the way in maintaining a healthy ratio of international students to make the MBA experience more valuable for the entire class. The various student clubs such as the International Club, the Asian MBA Association, offer such platforms where students from various countries come together to share and learn, outside of the class. This interaction further cements the long lasting ties that form naturally in school, regardless of the nationality, native language or customs and beliefs.
This week, the International MBA Association in collaboration with the Asian MBA Association are organizing the International Week, an annual event, where participants get a sneak-peek into the life of people from different cultures through an immersive experience over a period of 3 days. Starting today, the attendees of the event will be able to embark on a journey that offers insights into the etiquette, economics, and entrées of many of the countries that form an integral part of the community at Smith.
This year’s International week, organized with support from the Center for Business Education and Research (CIBER) at the Smith school, consists of an International Etiquette Night, an Economic Forum Night and an International Night and Food Festival.
On February 23, participants will be able to engage in an interactive and informative fun event where they will learn the nuances of some of the cultures, such as the proper way to hold a chopstick or how to drink with Korean executives. On February 24, Professor Carmen M. Reinhart, professor of Economics and Director of the Center for International Economics, and Professor Gurdip Bakshi, Dean’s Professor of Finance and a Fellow of the FDIC Center for Financial Research who was awarded a competitive grant to study recovery under default, will offer insights on the emerging market economies.
The third and final day of the event, promises to be the most attractive and fun filled, with the students showing off the traditional dresses from their country on the ramp, displaying their talents while the audience indulges in the food from the various countries. This year’s event will also witness performances by professional Chinese Lion dancers and see the Muay Thai – Thai Kick Boxing, live on stage.
Well, I think I have written a lot about the event, and I should go and get ready for the 3-day journey across cultures, languages, and international boundaries, all under one roof. I am excited and really look forward to the three nights of non-stop fun, action and pure indulgence. Will keep you all posted!