Only the Top 150 Students From Around the World are Chosen to Attend in Competitive Selection Process
Every spring, Blackburn’s International Business course offers students the opportunity to participate in a global business competition called X-Culture. Students from around the world from international teams meet initially online and, finally, in person to finalize their work on solving real business problems for real companies. In 2022, more than 11,000 students representing 120 countries across more than 300 colleges and universities graduated from the program. This year, five Blackburn students have been invited to participate in the annual X-Culture Global Business Symposium, which brings participants together and chooses from the best of the best.
Dr. Christina Langwell McCurley, professor of business and coordinator of the program for Blackburn, believes this competition is critical to helping students understand international business strategy comprehensively. “The project challenges students academically, but it also includes training in cross-cultural communication and problem-solving in teams,” she said. “It is an incredible opportunity to experience interacting with other students worldwide.” This year marks the sixth time McCurley has had business students at Blackburn compete in the event.
While the entire class joined multinational competition teams, only the top 150 students were selected for the 2023 symposium in Lublin, Poland. Lexi Hoffman, a marketing major from Minier, IL, Sabrina Kelsey, a business management major from St. Charles, MO, Sophia King, a business major from Godfrey, IL, Lexi Lusk, a marketing major from Hillsboro, IL, and Megan Jones, a business accounting major from Greenfield, IL, will attend the week-long event to complete a client consulting project challenge, participate in professional development and academic sessions, and experience cultural visits. Hoffman, Jones and Kelsey each completed their degrees this month as members of the Class of 2023.
Hoffman learned a lot from her X-Culture experience. “This is such a great practical application of all the knowledge I’ve gained in the classroom,” she said. “I learned so much about the logistics and trade regulations required for entering a new market while working with my team to develop our business plan.”
“I gained a lot by collaborating with students from around the world,” said King. “My teammates were in different countries and time zones around the world, and I learned how to be more direct and communicate more effectively because of this experience. Traveling to Poland for the X-Culture Symposium will help me reach outside of my comfort zone and help me grow as a student, business leader, and a person.”
For Lusk, this was an academic opportunity she could not pass up. “Blackburn is an amazing place to gain knowledge with hands-on experiences – in the classroom and as part of our unique Work Program,” she said. “With this opportunity, I will learn from my peers, professors, and international business experts from around the world – all while building incredible connections. Not everyone gets to maximize their first time traveling internationally like this, so I want to make the most of it.”
“I’ve never traveled internationally; in fact, I’ve never been on a plane before,” Kelsey said. “Learning about new people, places, and cultures will almost be as important as the opportunity to network with my peers around the globe.”
“X-Culture provided an opportunity to learn about international business in a practical, experiential way,” shared Jones. “While you can learn a lot from lectures or class assignments, this has been a completely different level working with students from around the world in different time zones on a real issue for a real company.”
Jones continued, “My favorite thing about my X-Culture experience was virtually meeting new people around the world and learning about their backgrounds. This is a big part of why the summer Symposium is so exciting.”
“My first time on a plane was last fall when I traveled to Northern Ireland as part of Blackburn’s Study Abroad Program,” Hoffman said. “I’ve been craving another chance to explore new city streets and meet new people, and no one could ask for a better opportunity than the X-Culture Symposium.”
Launched in 2010, X-Culture is dedicated to evolving and growing International Business education. Nearly 90,000 students from 115 countries and 701 universities have participated, and 16,846 international teams have been formed.