Evelyn Robertson was consulting in Canada and the Caribbean for Xerox when she decided to enroll in Pepperdine University's Organization Change Program at the Graduate School of Education and Psychology to broaden her career internationally. The doctoral program takes a comprehensive view of the world's changing business environments, arming graduates with the ability to create change within and across their own organizations. She studied and conducted research in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Hong Kong.
When she returned stateside and earned her doctorate in education, Xerox immediately promoted her. Today Robertson is a strategic organization change consultant at Robertson and Associates, a management consulting firm in Long Beach.
And because consultants like Robertson work in an increasingly global environment, Pepperdine and Cal Poly Pomona have comprehensive study abroad programs to help them adapt to those demands.
Pepperdine's EdD program of 12 eight-day sessions draws students from across the globe for online study and classroom seminars in West Los Angeles and in Mexico, Costa Rica, Chile, the Czech Republic, China and Canada.
Kay Davis, director of the organization change doctoral program, said that students interested in the program work "in a corporate environment and [are] charged with [changing] initiatives [to] help an organization create new practices in terms of employee performance. Sometimes they're in HR management. Many CEOs and people in supporting roles want to influence change. In smaller organizations, they may be chief operating and learning officers or entrepreneurs." Their industries range from healthcare to high tech and nonprofit.
Students in Pepperdine's Graziadio School of Business and Management have the opportunity to earn MBAs internationally by attending a partner university in one of 25 locations throughout Asia, Europe and Latin America. Business internships abroad and courses in conversational French, German, Korean, Mandarin and Spanish are among the program's academic highlights. The 15-month master of science in the global business program, for students with limited work experience, offers study abroad courses in 17 countries.
Cal Poly Pomona's International Program convenes in numerous countries, including Ghana, Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Greece, China and England. Renford Reese, a professor of political science and director of Cal Poly Pomona's Colorful Flags Program — curriculum abroad geared toward increasing cultural competency — takes undergrads and students enrolled in select master's programs to Amsterdam and Ghana.
He also takes Cal Poly Pomona teacher candidates to experience "a culture other than their own and [to] examine education in a different context," explained M.G. "Peggy" Kelly, dean of Cal Poly's College of Education and Integrative Studies.
In Ghana, the nine-day program includes lectures by University of Ghana, Legon faculty as well as by ministers from the country's government offices. "It's a melange of lectures, site visits and outdoor activities," Reese said.
In Amsterdam, students shadow social workers in the Dutch Salvation Army. Cal Poly's Landscape Architecture Italy Program goes to Tuscany, where students study ancient and contemporary styles of art, architecture and landscapes, with a focus on sustainability.
"Studying abroad has made me a global-minded citizen by enabling me to analyze social issues from a comparative perspective," said Richard Woo, who completed the nine-day programs in the Netherlands and Ghana. "Writing my thesis helped me couple theory with practice."
These study abroad programs "help students step outside of their comfort zone and empathize," Reese observed. "You'll never forget this experience."