Students from Blackburn College’s International Business class had the opportunity to connect with and virtually collaborate with students from around the world to solve real international business problems this semester. The project, called X-Culture, gives students an opportunity to interact with students across the world in multinational teams where English is a second language, navigating cultural differences as well as time differences, in order to complete a project helping companies expand an existing product or business model into a new country.
Students are placed into multi-national virtual teams, and begin to solve a problem submitted by real companies. Each team collaborates across languages and timezones to put together a business plan on how to overcome the specific issue they have been tasked to address. The project spans an 8-week period, and final submissions are reviewed by all the professors of the team members. The top submissions are then shared with the specific companies the teams completed work for and team members are invited to the corporate headquarters where they can meet their team members in person and have the opportunity to complete an internship.
Michaela Higginbotham, a student participant of X-Culture this year, learned a lot from doing this project. “With X-Culture, the goal is to try to make the best business plan out of all the other groups doing the same business problem. If you want to be successful in this project, you need to make sure you communicate well with your group to make sure who is doing which section of the project. My experience with X-Culture was really good in the beginning because my group was communicating with one another well. The most interesting thing that I learned from X-Culture is how big of a time change there is between different sections of the world. One of my group members lives in Lithuania and it would be 4:30 pm there and only 8:30 am here,” she explained.
Launched in 2010, X-Culture is dedicated to evolving and growing International Business education. Over the course of a decade, more than 50,000 students representing 75 countries across 271 colleges and universities have graduated from the program.
Dr. Christina Langwell McCurley, professor of business and coordinator of the program for Blackburn, believes this experience is critical to gaining a comprehensive understanding of international business strategy. “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 around the world.”