Globalization is creating the need for transformative international leaders who can help address large international that transcend countries. To develop those leaders, students must participate in multi-disciplinary experiential learning programs that take them abroad, according to a Rutgers University–Camden management professor.
“We want our students to make a big difference in the world and to become leaders who will address major global problems, like poverty alleviation, climate change, conflict, and diseases,” says Briance Mascarenhas, a professor of management at the Rutgers School of Business–Camden. “It is important that they develop a multi-polar view on multiple dimensions that gives them an appreciation of these issues on a global scale. If not, then their focus will remain narrow and those types of leaders won’t emerge.”
Mascarenhas, who has been recognized as one of the most prolific international strategy researchers in the world, co-wrote the article, “Alternating Current: Developing Transformative Leaders in a Multi-Polar World,” in which he stresses the need for alternating experiences to develop international leaders with a deeper and broader understanding of world problems and a desire to bring positive change.
“If we really want to make some progress on improving upon these issues, we cannot approach them from a single discipline,” Mascarenhas says. “Instead, one has to adopt a multi-disciplinary perspective to better understand these issues and come up with a better solution.”
The Rutgers–Camden scholar’s article was recently published in the Yale Journal of International Affairs. His co-author, Pia Rebello Britto, is a senior advisor and global chief for early childhood development at UNICEF and former assistant professor at Yale University’s School of Medicine.
In the article, Mascarenhas and Britto say the classroom is limited in how international learning is facilitated and how students gain an understanding of world cultures.
“Classrooms can’t fully replicate an international experience,” Mascarenhas says. “To get a feel for what a country is like — what a culture is like — you have to be there. We have been exposing students at Rutgers–Camden to countries like Brazil and South Africa and we must overlay multi-disciplinary perspectives of culture, economics, business, technology, public policy, history, and so on, to make them transformative leaders. The multi-disciplinary perspective develops a richer understanding of complex international problems, and will help students craft realistic solutions.”
He says combining classroom discussion and pedagogy with an international learning experience develops skills vital for successful international public service leaders.
“When our students go on an international trip, it becomes a signature experience,” Mascarenhas says. “Then, they want to sign up for others. The more countries they can visit, the more it broadens their horizons. In each country, they can learn something new and in the long run, they will be better prepared to contribute to finding a solution to world problems.”
For information about international study at Rutgers–Camden, visit learningabroad.camden.rutgers.edu.