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Creating community on the road

A trio of MGB students pose for a picture while abroad

The Master of Global Business (MGB) program takes students across three continents in 16 months or less. We asked three new grads what it takes to rise to this unique challenge and they answered: community. Their tightknit cohort is not just a key to their success, but also a benefit of the program.

By Dorothy Eggenberger

If you really want to get to know a person, travel with them. That’s the idea behind the MGB cohort: an instant international network which also serves as an essential part of a student’s cross-cultural experience. Students come from around the world to Victoria, and then continue on around the world, together. But navigating differences in culture, values and language is no easy feat.

Chulalongkorn University students Thanapat (Banks) Ninwatcharamanee, Jareeporn (Jan) Lee and Nutnaree (Natalie) Phakdeewong say there are three things to keep in mind when leaving your cultural comfort zone behind to build community on the road.

A collage of pictures of MGB students in different places around the world
Photos submitted by Thanapat (Banks) Ninwatcharamanee, Jareeporn (Jan) Lee and Nutnaree (Natalie) Phakdeewong.

1. Start at the very beginning

“We started by getting to know each other over a team lunch and learning about our differences such as language, culture, food, beliefs and lifestyle,” remembers Ninwatcharamanee. This initial investment in personal relationships was foundational to problem-solving throughout the program.

In times of conflict, his team focused on “providing feedback based on the recipient's style” rather than assuming there was a right or wrong way to do something. A teammate’s communication style and personal values was equally important to the skills and expertise they brought to the group.

“This program enlightened me to understand different perspectives and how to resolve problems while keeping my friends in good spirits, not just getting the job done.,” says Ninwatcharamanee.

2. Learn to be a mediator

Learning to find common ground is one thing, and learning to hold neutral ground for others is another. Lee says everyone in her cohort played the role of mediator at some point.

“We all are multinational: from different countries with different perspectives,” says Lee, “[and sometimes we need] someone in the middle to listen and find the way in between.”

She advises keeping in mind that everyone has different talents, and the question is how to best merge those talents together to achieve your mutual goals. To echo Ninwatcharamanee, right or wrong doesn’t have a place in the conversation.

Lee says her MGB experience was a “precious time”, saying: “What I love the most is when we’re all together. I feel so lucky to know them all.”

3. Make time for each other

“We made time for each other,” says Phakdeewong.  “We talked through difficult assignments and encouraged each other to complete them. We also hung out to release stress and create shared memories together,” she explains, highlighting a trip to Highclere Castle (featured in the TV series Downton Abbey) during the Glasgow module.

You never know what unlikely connections you’ll find within an MGB cohort. But the lifelong friendships and network this unique program fosters are almost guaranteed. 

 Learn more about the Masters of Global Business program