The residency is part of the Global Initiatives in Management course that examines the complexity of management across national boundaries. The course explores the interrelationship and impact of political, economic, social and technological factors when formulating and executing strategy internationally. The first half of the course takes place in Kansas City during which students explore key themes in global business and meet virtually with global business leaders, before traveling abroad for the second half of the course.

It's one thing to discuss global management from the comfort of Kansas City. It’s another thing entirely to fly 4,500 plus miles and engage directly with leaders in global business beyond the United States. The value of stripping away layers of comfort and familiarity, and physically being outside of the U.S., cannot be overestimated.

Belgium may seem similar to the U.S. (and perhaps easier to navigate than China, India or Brazil) but it is still quite different. For example, climate and sustainability concerns have greater public support and more robust regulations than in the United States. This was reflected prominently in the business activities of the companies we met with. Assuming that everyone perceives the world and has the same goals as we do can lead to significant missteps, undermining business strategy and relationship building opportunities.

One of the most rewarding aspects of these trips are the reflections and discussions that occur spontaneously in the moments between the lines of the itinerary. We may be going together to the same meetings, restaurants and cultural experiences, but each person’s experience is unique and personal. This is highlighted in the final project students present at the end of the course with each team identifying different challenges and opportunities than their peers, despite having met with the same companies.

The global residency experience underscores the importance of cultural awareness and adaptability. It empowers students to build relationships and pursue opportunities across the global landscape, as well as to apply those skills to drive impact locally.

We are deeply appreciative of the exceptional leaders and organizations who shared their time and insight with us during our visit in April: Rio Tinto, Manuport Logistics, Synesqo, Umicore, Duvel Moortgat Brewery (parent company of Boulevard Brewing Company), Cultureghem, the U.S. Embassy in Belgium and the European Parliament. We felt warmly welcomed and greatly enjoyed learning more about the incredible work they are doing in Europe and around the world.