Education: students in the Master’s in International Business Realities (IBR) are questioning “interculturality” through videos.

Published on May 4, 2017 Updated on May 4, 2017

Double challenge for the 24 students in the first year of the Master’s in International Business Realities: learning the theoretical basics of intercultural Management and questioning them in a video displaying their own experience. Review of the academic initiative with Silvia DIDIER, Director of the Master’s and two students in this Master’s:

Your class “Intercultural Management” was redesigned last September. Why did you review the teaching methods?

Silvia DIDIER :The class Intercultural Management ” is made of a theoretical academic part designed to give students the tools and models to analyze a situation and a practical part to give students skills. Thus all along the 23 hours of teaching, business cases are used to apply theory.
Beyond that, the behavioral dimension is essential in an intercultural management class. It seems essential that students can link theory and practice through experiences they have themselves been through.

This is why we chose to assess the students based on a video production: each student was invited to meet someone from a different culture around an intercultural experience (dinning in a restaurant, visiting a museum, visiting the city, attending a concert…) and to relate it in a video by confronting them to the patterns studied in class.

Why did you choose the video media?

The content of the class is well suited for the use of videos. Moreover even if students in the Master’s are not specialized in communication, their generation is used to videos. 
Videos have another purpose: they encourage exchanges. Some of the productions were viewed in class, analyzed and commented by the other students.
Last but not least it was a big challenge for students to expose themselves even though it was not mandatory to stage oneself.

What assessment do you make from the experience?

I had the feeling that students learned a lot from meeting with people with another nationality. They also really enjoyed the experience. It emphasizes the commitment of iaelyon to create links between people from different cultures. The students in the Master’s in International Business Realities have the chance to experience interculturality on a daily basis. There were people from around 10 countries in the Intercultural Management class.
We can go even further in removing the barriers as it was suggested by students. The idea would be to include another group of international students right at the beginning of the class. It could be students from the SELF Program thus enabling them to forge links with French people more easily.

What students from the IBR Master’s have to say about it

Pierre Eymard
This unusual exercise allowed me to truly apprehend the differences in behaviors, in working methods and communication means and all the difficulties this could trigger. Even for a simple exercise like shooting a video, the cultural difference should not be underestimated. Thus I was very surprised to see that the Czech student I was working with was planning all of our meetings, our objectives and our progresses down to the very last detail, and when something unexpected happened or if there was a delay she would get very stressed. Being naturally pretty relaxed (but effective), our collaboration was difficult at first since we were not on the same page and we did not have the same ways of working. But as we moved along each of us making efforts to embrace the way of working of the other we came up with something very good and both funny and enriching on a personal level.  Applying theories discussed in class also showed us the limits of the patterns of pre-established cultural differences. We were both far from matching our respective cultural features.
At the end I found the exercise very interesting because it was far from the usual assignments and it could be useful for the future considering that many of us want to work in a multicultural environment. I already had the chance to work with foreign students for group projects during my time in the United States but it was the first time that there were just two of us and it was much more complicated.

Caroline Kennedy
The “Intercultural Management” class is a good mix of theory and practice. After learning about the mandatory knowledge such as the 3 paradigms, the Hofstede model, Hall cultural dimensions… we applied them through Business cases to better understand how to use them.
We also shot a short video in which we had to interview a person from another culture and another country and to link it with the theories evoked in class.
I think it was a great idea because instead of only working on external case studies, we created our own example and it helped us to see the usefulness of the class for our future international careers.

> Watch the videos