Duke - The Fuqua School of Business

Culture, Civilizations and Leadership

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Globally savvy business leaders are able to maintain their core principles while being flexible enough to adapt their style to be successful in a variety of cultural contexts. The Culture, Civilizations and Leadership (CCL) multi-term course gives you the tools to assess different cultural situations and learn how to adjust in order to be an effective leader and manager in varying situations.

The course combines theory and practice to provide you with a framework to critically analyze diverse global environments in all regions of the world—not just the regions you will be immersed in during the program. This is achieved through:

  • Introducing theoretical frameworks in historical, sociological, anthropological, and decision-making perspectives in order to examine and discuss real-world practical examples. 
  • Experiential learning where you are immersed in unique in-person situations that require flexibility and adaptation to be successful. 
  • Enabling you to develop an appreciation of the context within which companies operate around the world in order to provide greater global insight for you to apply throughout your career. 
  • Embedding the Culture, Civilizations and Leadership course in the structure of the Cross Continent/Global Executive programs allows you to learn through personal experiences in each residency and through direct interaction with speakers who are regional experts or proven leaders within the region. 
School in New DelhiIn New Delhi, Global Executive MBA students engage with administrators, as well as homeless and runaway children at a shelter home operated by Salaam Baalak Trust. The non-governmental organization offers services including food, medicine, and access to education and the arts, to impoverished children.


Cultural Immersion

As part of the course, each residential location includes a Cultural Immersion Activity during which you will leave the classroom and your comfort zone for new cultural and professional situations. Through your exploration in the immersion, you will personally experience the concepts that are discussed and debated in the classroom.

During a recent Shanghai residency students chose from several cultural immersion activities. Individuals on student learning teams were encouraged to select different immersion activities so they would have a rich set of experiences to discuss as a team.

Below is a sample list of the Cultural Immersion Activities from which students selected:

Healthcare and Traditional Chinese Medicine

Students interested in healthcare systems and different approaches to treating medical issues had the opportunity to:

  • Participate in a briefing on the differences between Western and Eastern medicine.
  • Visit a traditional Chinese medicine store to understand what ingredients are used to treat different ailments.
  • Gain an understanding of who people in China look to for medical advice and treatment.

Consumer Brands and Retail: Visit a Local Family in Caoyang Village

Students interested in consumer brands (beverages, personal care, baby care, food, etc.) and retail had the opportunity to:

  • Participate in home visits to see where people live, understand their needs, hear about the brands they choose and why, and understand how those brands are used.
  • Gain an understanding of a traditional home.
  • Visit a local supermarket or big chain store with a shopping list and a budget to try to understand the trade-offs made when purchasing brands, as well as understanding the variety of choices and the quantity of brands that exist in the marketplace.

Education and Culture in the Next Generation: Teaching English in a Chinese School

Students interested in education, teaching, or migration issues in China and how the Chinese government manages this migration, as well as the challenges associated with it, had the opportunity to:

  • Visit a school on the outskirts of Shanghai to see a gym class and observe a teacher in the classroom. 
  • Ask questions about education, teaching approaches, and priorities as well as to better understand how an NGO operates and addresses the challenges of migrant children in Shanghai.

Extend the Classroom

During each residency, you are encouraged to explore and be adventurous to broaden your perspective and provide further examples illustrating the concepts discussed in class. For example, you may visit a local market, negotiate the price of fruits or vegetables, and discuss the vendor's supply chain and business model. Or you may visit a local restaurant and take an adventuresome approach to the menu—taste the traditional foods and interact with local patrons. In some regions, getting from point A to point B is a challenge in itself when you must overcome language barriers with a taxi driver. You're encouraged to record your experiences and reactions in a journal, or within the class discussion board for debate.

Wine Barrel ManufacturingAt Toneleria Nacional in Chile, MBA students learn how the company relies on a mix on innovation, flexibility, and excellence to manufacture a wide variety of high quality wine barrels.