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Students Create Custom Exchange Programs through Global Network Exchange

By Matthew O’Rourke

When Chisom Amaechi ’18 applied to Yale SOM, she wanted to expand on her experience in the development sector.

“I knew I wanted to be at the intersection of sustainable development and finance,” she says. “One of the reasons why I chose Yale is because it’s one of the most global business schools and it has the connections to make this work happen in variety of settings.”

Amaechi wanted practical, global experience to prepare her for the next steps in her career. In the fall of her first year, she attended Global Network Week at INCAE Business School in Costa Rica, which is known for its expertise in sustainable development.

Global Network Week provided a quick sampling of the Costa Rican approach to sustainable development, but Amaechi wanted more than a taste. She approached staff in the Global Programs office to see what might be possible. That’s when she learned about Global Network Exchange, a program that allows students to create custom exchange programs, spending a quarter or a semester at another school in the Global Network for Advanced Management and learning firsthand from experts in another region of the world. The program provides students with an experience tailored to their career goals, allowing them to delve into a topic or take on a practicum-style project with the help of faculty at a network school.

Global Network Exchange complements existing bilateral exchange programs with the London School of Economics and Political Science, HEC Paris, IESE Business School in Barcelona, National University of Singapore Business School, and Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management, Beijing. Like a traditional exchange program, Global Network Exchange allows students to participate in classes and electives at a Global Network school but also gives them the opportunity to pursue individual projects.

Amaechi traveled to Costa Rica to participate in a research project with the Center for Latin American Competitiveness and Sustainable Development at INCAE, working with the beverage company FISCO in its efforts to become carbon neutral. The research will be used to educate other companies about how to approach the life cycle of their own products and make them more environmentally sustainable.

“Learning from them has allowed me to see through an idea—creating something that we can use as a template or a framework for other companies so that they can see how it’s possible to become carbon neutral and to think about the triple bottom line in their strategy,” she says. “That’s been an invaluable experience that I can take with me in my career.”

Camino de Paz, managing director of Global Programs at Yale SOM, says that Global Network Exchange is one of many ways that student can leverage the Global Network to enhance their careers—in this case, by providing a platform for students to leverage their ideas and test them in real-world environments with experts across the globe. Students bring their ideas for an exchange to the department, which works to locate a Global Network school that is willing to participate (de Paz notes that not every proposal is accepted and turns into an exchange).

“You can use the Global Network to customize your own curriculum,” de Paz says. “This experience is not only about the coursework, but also about the expertise in a region and being on the ground and being able to take full advantage of it. If a student has an idea, we’re more than happy to meet with them and see if we can make it happen.”

Global Network Exchange gave Steve Patriarco ’18, a joint-degree student at Yale SOM and the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, the chance to travel to FGV in Brazil to do research in the Amazon rainforest—and improve his Portuguese. Before coming to Yale, Patriarco had worked in Indonesia and wanted to expand his knowledge of supply chain management and sustainability practices in another part of the globe. He decided on the program at FGV after learning about the school’s Center for Sustainability Studies, which focuses on research shaping sustainability policy for both businesses and public administrators.

He views the exchange program as an extension of the distinctive global approach at SOM.

“As my years of experience working as a foreigner in Southeast Asia taught me, considerable in‐country learning and experience are absolutely essential to become a capable and credible leader. Through Yale SOM, there are all of these experiences and opportunities that you can expose yourself to within a global context,” Patriarco says. “You can go as light or as deep as you want to go, but it’s something we really take seriously at Yale SOM.”