Just because international travel was curtailed during the pandemic doesn’t mean international business ground to a halt — and neither did international business education.
The International Business Programs office at the Terry College of Business kept students engaged with their international peers through a virtual collaboration with the University of Liverpool.
Launched in part as an answer to COVID-19 travel restrictions, the program’s success revealed new opportunities for post-pandemic international education.
Terry’s Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) program paired UGA undergrads with students from the University of Liverpool’s Management School (ULMS) in England.
These virtual collaboration programs are becoming more popular at universities worldwide, but the program developed by Terry and ULMS is the first of its kind at UGA. The program used technology to connect students and faculty on both campuses.
“It was a great way to continue our strong tradition of international business education during the pandemic and exceeded the expectations of students and faculty,” said Jennifer Chapman, a senior lecturer and director of International Business Programs at Terry. “We hope that the UGA-ULMS COIL will serve as a role model for additional programming at UGA. COIL programs will continue to offer students and faculty a low-cost and sustainable option for international study even after international travel becomes possible again. We see them as a supplement to Terry’s traditional study abroad programs and international exchange partnerships.”
Twelve teams of six students entered the inaugural cohort in January. Each team included UGA and ULMS students and was advised by a faculty mentor from one of the business schools.
The experience started with team building and cross-cultural communication training. They chose a team project addressing an international business issue and picked topics that fit the academic interests of the students in the group. They then presented a written report and video at the end of the assignment.
In April, teams pitched their solutions to a panel of judges, and the top three teams were awarded prizes. While the COIL program didn’t count for course credit, it did fulfill the experiential learning graduation requirement for UGA students.
“Since the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted our ability to foster cross-cultural connections through traditional study abroad experiences, I found the COIL program to be a wonderful experience, complementing my traditional classroom learning,” said Marshall Berton, a third-year finance and international business major at the Terry College.
Many participants highlighted mentorship from faculty leaders — Kristy McManus and Jan Zantinga from Terry and Ahmed Al-Abdin and Jason MacVaugh from ULMS — as a key strength of the experience.
International Business Programs is planning another COIL program with ULMS in 2022.
“After a successful pilot program with ULMS, we are looking toward more COIL programs at Terry College and hope our program inspires other virtual global engagement programs across campus,” Chapman said.