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26 February 2024

In conversation with Professor Thomas Straub, Mastering Business Challenges

Please briefly explain your course module and some teaching modalities used:
Our course has a practical, hands-on approach to learning. Students are tasked with applying the knowledge acquired from past EMBA semesters to real-world scenarios. They engage in challenges presented by actual companies, where they analyze the contextual intricacies and identify specific pain points using the tools learned in class. Students then devise suitable solutions, articulate their rationale, evaluate potential returns, and assess associated risks. Throughout this process, professors provide guidance and coaching, culminating in students pitching, presenting, and discussing their projects with both professors and company representatives. This methodology encourages experiential learning and prepares students for real-world business challenges.

Specifically, how will students leverage this module and knowledge later in their career?
This module prepares students or leadership positions by emphasizing the development of clear storylines using the tools acquired in class. As students transition into leadership roles, they will encounter diverse challenges. However, the tools, applications, and storytelling techniques learned in this module will serve as invaluable assets, enabling them to effectively navigate complex problems and articulate compelling narratives. By fostering critical thinking and strategic acumen, the module in international management shapes, challenges, and transforms students’ modes of thinking, empowering them to excel in diverse professional environments.

To what extent does the course integrate real-world scenarios and simulations to help students develop practical skills?
The course extensively integrates real-world simulations to foster the practical skills essential for navigating international business environments. Assignments are typically sourced from real companies, ensuring that students engage with authentic business challenges. By immersing themselves in these real-life scenarios, students gain first-hand experience in negotiating, leading multicultural teams, and resolving international business conflicts. This practical approach not only enhances their theoretical understanding but also hones their ability to apply concepts and strategies in real-world contexts. Through active participation in these simulations, students acquire invaluable insights and skills that prepare them for the complexities of global business dynamics.

What are the main challenges that students seem to struggle with on this course?
The course often reveals gaps in students’ knowledge and challenges them to engage in next-level thinking. Students are prompted to confront complexities that require them to elevate their critical thinking and problem-solving abilities. They may struggle to identify crucial pain points within a given topic and this starts to highlight the importance of critical analysis and problem-solving skills. Additionally, getting into the realities of new industries and companies can be a challenge, and this requires students to quickly adapt and understand complex business dynamics.


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