What is your role in the GIE process?
My role is to help plan and execute the GIE abroad courses. I work closely with advising our students, assisting our faculty and staff program leaders with planning, and managing the logistics and operational side of the experience.
What kind of planning is required for the GIE?
The most important aspects are the academic focus of the courses, planning the schedules, and working with contacts overseas to develop interesting company visits. I also plan the logistical side, which encompasses all of the travel components including the hotels, flights, transportation, and cultural tours.
How do you make decisions about what regions and countries students will visit?
The locations are selected by the faculty leaders who focus on their course and what they believe will be the best learning experience for the students. We try to visit places where McIntire has an existing global footprint or wants to expand to provide students with opportunities in an economically vibrant region of the world. We also try to visit places where we can see our students working in the future because the locations have strong ties to the United States and U.Va. alumni.
Why was the new track to the Middle East and India developed?
When the M.S. in Commerce program first started we had two tracks, and the number of tracks has expanded over the years with the growth of the program. The Middle East and India track came about in several ways. This is a really important region from a business perspective and one where McIntire offers an existing undergraduate GCI course traveling to Delhi and Mumbai. Professor Sarker from the IT area, who is originally from Calcutta, has taken the lead on developing the new track focusing on the themes of entrepreneurship and innovation.
Who are the faculty leads and how are they selected?
The 5 faculty leads represent a mix of GIE veteran faculty and new faculty who all have experience in the region. They are very enthusiastic about leading a track for the M.S. in Commerce program.
East Asia: James Burroughs, Rolls-Royce Commonwealth Professor of Commerce; Area Coordinator—Marketing
Europe: Ira Harris, Associate Professor, General Faculty; Director, M.S. in Commerce Program
Southeast Asia: David Lehman, Associate Professor of Commerce
Middle East & India: Saonee Sarker, Professor of Commerce; Area Coordinator—Information Technology
Latin America: Jeremy Marcel, Associate Professor of Commerce; Verizon Professor in Commerce
What are some of the biggest challenges you face when planning and finalizing GIE?
One of the most interesting challenges I have is working with different cultures since business culture varies tremendously around the world and we’re going to 29 different cities. Communicating with people from around the world is one of the best parts of GIE, but also one of the most challenging because it can be difficult to work with businesses that have very different timetables for planning.
What tracks have you been on and what is your favorite part of GIE?
I’ve been to Southeast Asia, Europe, and I’m going to the Middle East and India this year. I love traveling to new places, and the best part for me is spending time with our phenomenal students! When I’m in a country, trying local cuisines is always a highlight since food is so important to the culture.
How do you choose what track all of the students will participate in
We unveil the new tracks at a big event called the GIE Reveal and then students have a few weeks to think about their options and consider their preferences. After the Reveal, we ask students to submit a preference application online. The selection committee looks at a number of factors in placing students with their tracks. Some of the main considerations are the students’ goals and rationales behind ordering their preferences the way they do. We look at everyone’s interests and balance the groups…. It’s GIE Magic!
Tell me a little bit about the GIE Operations Assistant position you are offering?
This is something I’m really excited about. It’s a new position this year and is something I did at my previous job. I found it to be tremendously helpful to have students be a part of the planning team. In the spring students will work with me on planning the programs doing travel logistics, research for the tracks, and work with the faculty leaders on the schedule for their program. It’s great to have a student perspective on this. The position will be 8 – 12 hours a week depending on projects and great for students because it’s a leadership opportunity to work with GIE and a paid position!
Written by: Ellie Reed