What is it about?

This paper is a study of how an Asian University enhanced students’ global competence through international business study missions (BSMs). Using the case study approach, it critically analyses the learning goals and objectives, design decisions, implementation details and learning outcomes underlying three business study missions led by three instructors from the same university to the USA (New York), Germany (Berlin and Stuttgart), and South Korea (Seoul). More specifically, it focuses on (i) how the design of these three BSMs enabled “deep” learning beyond industry tourism and (ii) how 21st century competencies such as ‘global competence’ can be acquired through participation in short-term, faculty-led study missions. The study shows that students participating in these international BSMs gained valuable global competencies related to specific fields of study such as the creative industries, urban (smart city) sustainability, and entrepreneurship. Significantly, it shows how design factors such as choice of destination, range of organizations, length of individual visits, range of pedagogical techniques, intensity of preparation, and quality of management contribute to students’ acquisition of global competencies. Limitations of the study are discussed.

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Why is it important?

The detailed case studies of three instructors from different disciplines to achieve the country’s education vision of globally competent students. The course design described here provides practical information for designing study abroad “deep” learning goals, objectives and outcomes focusing on global competence.


While the current Covid-19 crisis situation has put a temporary stop to international student travel, universities are well advised to continue to nurture “global citizens for tomorrow” through transformative education on the basis of short-term faculty-led tours abroad. Global challenges such as the war for (creative) talent, the sustainability crisis or building global-ready entrepreneurial firms require a global mindset and global competencies to appreciate and hopefully to resolve them – this is where international BSMs play a significant role.

Benjamin Gan
Singapore Management University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Enhancing students’ global competence through international business study missions, Journal of International Education in Business, January 2021, Emerald, DOI: 10.1108/jieb-06-2020-0054.
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