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Study, work and travel: UVic’s Master of Global Business

UVic students recall how their Master of Global Business shaped their international business careers


BCBusiness + University of Victoria

Matt Siemens, 27, clearly remembers when he decided he would seek higher education abroad: it was after spending a year on a Tall Ship that sailed to 25 countries while in high school.

“Experiencing different countries was really important to me,” says the senior financial analyst at Westbank Corporation. “I knew then that doing a Masters program like the University of Victoria’s (UVic) Master of Global Business (MGB) would provide me with a specialization in international business and a global mindset.”

Siemens opted to study in Taiwan and Austria, where he gained valuable insight into the art of successful communication with people from different cultures. He graduated from UVic’s MGB in the class of 2013.

“The program really makes you cognisant of cultural differences when dealing with international business matters,” says Siemens, who did his internship at Methanex Corporation, a world-leading methanol supplier headquartered in Vancouver. “In my career, I work on projects based in Tokyo and we are looking at some European projects as well … the [MGB] program has helped me deal with business sensitivities that might arise with people from around the world.”

For fellow alumni Susan Seto, 32, UVic’s MGB attraction was the “multicultural engagement.”  She studied in Taiwan and Austria before heading to Hong Kong for her internship.

“I liked each country, but Hong Kong is such an international business hub—so fast-paced—that it was a great opportunity for me to truly challenge myself,” says Seto, who graduated in the class of 2014. “During my internship, I worked with New Work Media and met with politicians and diplomats from all over the world. No other Masters program would have afforded me those opportunities. It was incredibly inspirational.”

In her career as a communications consultant for Fraser Health, her big MGB takeaway is the enriching global perspective she brings to the table each day. “My MGB better prepared me to deal with people in rural communities, as well as those from very diverse cultures.”

The university’s MGB is designed for business graduates from both Canada and abroad who seek an applied learning component coupled with an international experience. Students can choose to study and work in up to four countries in three distinct global paths. Options include North America, South America, Europe and Asia. The curriculum affords a distinct and well-rounded business, study and cultural experience.

In many ways, the MGB is not unlike MBA programs. Students still cover Finance, Logistics and Supply Chain Management, Marketing and Strategy, Consulting Methods and Practice, and more. The most significant difference is that this program is specifically tailored to students looking for something different, most notably, people interested in pursuing an exciting and challenging global vision.”Students joining the MGB really want to get outside their comfort zones in many ways, and that’s what attracts them to the program,” explains John A. Oldale, associate director of the Master of Global Business Program. “It’s a cohort program during which each ‘Path’ group, comprised of 35 to 40 students from many different nationalities and cultural backgrounds, study together through all three countries over about nine months. They learn with and from each other, depending on each other in many ways, developing their global mindsets and skill sets, and getting first-hand practical experience of business around the world.”

Students complete academic course work at all three universities in their chosen Path. Once the students have completed their course work in the third country, they then go on to an internship in the country of their choice.

Although the MGB does not require a second language for acceptance into the program, students will learn a new language and develop a level of competency in it during the program. 

“This is important not just for language acquisition, but also to enhance their cross-cultural understanding more broadly,” notes Oldale. “Also, in addition to the mandatory language class, students take two other courses aimed at enhancing their global mindsets and cross-cultural skills: Global Leadership and Cultural Intelligence, and Language, Communication and Global Business.”

The program also features three Context courses, one for each country/continent in which they study. Students finish their studies with a Capstone major consulting project for a real corporate client organization. Then, they complete their global internship.

“So, packaging all the above together makes the MGB unique and different from pretty much any MBA program. It would appeal to students who really ‘get it’ and want something really different,” adds Oldale.


For more on the MGB at UVIC, click here:

Created by BCBusiness in partnership with University of Victoria