Organization Development Graduate Students Learn Lessons from Trip to Paris

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This year a new curricular offering in the Executive Master of Organization Development (EMOD) program was launched.  Exploring International Organization Development, an intensive one-week study abroad program, took place in early May  The cohort of graduate students were impressed with what they saw and learned from this unique experience.

Students enrolled in Organization Development 6065, taught by BGSU Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior, Dr. Deborah O’Neil, traveled to partner school – Institut de Gestion Sociale (IGS) in Paris, France.  While in Paris the BGSU cohort met, networked, and took classes with students enrolled at IGS University’s graduate executive programs in International Human Resource Management (IHRM) and MBA.  The cross-cultural learning experience was rich and rewarding.  Dr. O’Neil notes that “the IGS students were welcoming and eager to learn from us and with us; we became good friends and colleagues in our week together.”

In addition to class sessions on talent management, strategic management, leadership development and sustainable leadership, the students visited the French company Faurecia, an automotive parts manufacturer, and learned about the process of culture change at a global organization.  The students also were given a presentation by a United Airlines representative who shared the challenges and opportunities of being an American company doing business in France.

Tom Daniels, assistant director of the BGSU Graduate and Executive Programs in Business, describes the experience.  “Our company visits were excellent! One interesting thing about the company visits was the difference between a French company’s challenges working in North America and an American company’s challenges working in France.”  Daniels goes on to praise the presentations by these companies. “These were excellent programs.  They were well organized and the topics were extremely relevant to our EMOD students.”

The students also visited the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).  OECD’s mission is to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world.  There are currently 34 member countries including the United States, France, Japan, United Kingdom, Chile, Canada and Australia.  The OECD presentations affirmed a focus on evidence-based research, which is one of the foundational elements of our EMOD program.

BGSU graduate student, Margie Swartz, praised her education abroad experience.  “Visiting the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development was my favorite visit. This organization is attempting to bring about change on a global scale by using data and sharing their findings with everyone.  Their goal is to improve the economy in all countries which is important in our global economy.”

She adds, “Through these presentations I can imagine that the people working within and with this organization have a great sense of how their work may be impacting and improving the lives of many people. They're using data and evidence-based research to influence behavior of others which is at the core of organization development (OD).”

Before returning to the U.S., the American students teamed up with the French students and participated in a scavenger hunt at the famous Le Louvre Museum.

The success of the inaugural trip provides a solid platform on which to build since Exploring International Organization Development is officially a part of the EMOD curriculum.  We look forward to continuing to create new international partnerships to increase our students’ learning about global OD.