A group of Penn State Great Valley students at the European Parliament

Embracing Global Perspectives

By: Preksha Kothari, Master of Engineering Management
The secret strategy to a successful global business operations


Embarking on a journey of global immersion is a transformative experience that enhances our understanding of the world and our place within it. I had the unique opportunity to participate in the thought-provoking Global Immersion course taught by the most engaging Denise Potosky. This course opened my eyes to cultural diversity, innovative practices, and sustainable business models across different regions.

Cross-Cultural Analysis of Organizations

Understanding and appreciating cultural differences is a fundamental skill in today’s globalized world. In this course, we dove into the dimensions and frameworks for analyzing cultures, allowing us to conduct comparative, cross-cultural studies of organizations. Through this lens, we explored how cultural values shape business practices and organizational behavior, leading to unique and diverse approaches to problem-solving and collaboration.

Field Study in Strasbourg, France

The highlight of the course was the enriching field study hosted by École de Management (EM) Strasbourg, from March 3 to 12, where we put the above-mentioned theory to practice. We attended master class meetings, engaged with leading companies, and visited the European Parliament. Each interaction offered a chance to observe, question, and learn from field experts.

Sustainable Business Practices, Innovation, and Design of Work

A key focus of the course was to examine sustainable business practices, innovation, and the design of work. We observed how organizations integrated environmental and social considerations into their strategies, driving positive impact while remaining competitive. We witnessed how innovation shaped products, services, and processes, creating a culture of continuous improvement. The design of work emphasized employee well-being, flexibility, and collaboration, fostering a thriving and inclusive work environment.

Exploring Strasbourg and Nearby Cities

Buildings in Strasbourg, France, on a waterway

Lost in the charm of La Petite France, Strasbourg’s historic quarter that’s straight out of a fairytale.

Credit: Preksha Kothari

The tour was not limited to the classroom. We enjoyed exploring the charming city of Strasbourg, known for its rich history, architectural marvels, and warm hospitality. Guided cultural tours introduced us to the beauty of the Alsace region. Additionally, we ventured to nearby cities in Germany and Switzerland, embracing the interconnectedness of the European landscape.

Navigating Intercultural Challenges and Misunderstandings

Global immersion is not without its challenges. Navigating cultural differences requires intelligence and adaptability. We encountered situations where misunderstandings arose from language barriers or differing social norms. However, these moments became opportunities for learning and growth. We practiced empathy, active listening, and open mindedness, finding common ground and building bridges of understanding. These intercultural interactions not only enriched our experience but also taught us valuable life lessons.

Bridging Gaps of Intercultural Communication

A core component of global immersion is developing intercultural communication skills. Throughout the course, we engaged in meaningful dialogues with individuals from diverse backgrounds, navigating language barriers and cultural nuances. We practiced active listening, cultural sensitivity, and self-reflection, fostering positive and inclusive interactions. These experiences shaped my leadership and global management expertise, preparing me for the dynamic and ever-evolving challenges of the global stage.

Closing Reflections

The Global Immersion course was a journey of self-discovery, growth, and connection. Through comparative analysis, immersive experiences, and intercultural engagement, I gained a profound appreciation for the diversity and complexity of our world. I am grateful for the knowledge, insights, and relationships I gained during this transformative experience. As I continue my journey, I am inspired to be a global citizen, an advocate for sustainability, and a leader who values the richness of human connection. To all those seeking to broaden their horizons, I encourage you to embrace the opportunity for global immersion — your world will never be the same.

Read more from Preksha here.