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Video: Global Business and Society Students Take on Intensive Team Project

GBS students stretch their team skills by tackling a real-world problem under tight deadlines.

As you might guess from the name of the program, the Master’s Degree in Global Business and Society prepares students to lead in a world where they will be expected to take on the big problems facing their communities and society. They learn how to use fundamental business tools while keeping an eye on the trends that affect markets and companies all across the world. One important emphasis is learning to work effectively in global teams.

Last fall, GBS students developed these skills by spending a week focused on a group project, helping financial services firm Synchrony implement a new product. The students consulted directly with company’s leadership, traveling to its Stamford headquarters for a daylong tour and briefing. They went into the field to interview local merchants already using Synchrony products about how they work with credit and how the experience might be improved.

Each team consisted of four to six students who had been working together since the beginning of the semester.

“We’re slowly learning how to work together with people that are very different from ourselves,” said Diana Zhao ’19, “which is a very important skill to have in the future when we’re in the workplace.

The Synchrony project came at the midway point of the Global Perspectives course, which uses Yale’s online “raw” cases to challenge students to take a broader view of complex problems. Deputy Dean David Bach, who teaches the course, explained that the project was designed to push students to put the skills they’d learned into practice while dealing with a real-world problem under tight deadlines. “One of the things we try to do with the students is a combination of stretch and support,” he said. “We’re creating this great learning environment for them, but every now and then we want to stretch them. In the middle of the first semester, we say, ‘Show us what you can do in six days.’”

Related: Read more about the Synchrony project.