American University of Beirut

OSB's virtual class spanning three continents

​​​​​​​​"Cross-Cultural Management was an eye-opener for me since it shed light on how the Middle Eastern culture differs from the western countries," says class participant Salaheddin Marrach. "I am learning that each culture has its own etiquette that must be seriously respected and taken into consideration, when communicating with individuals from other cultures."

A virtual course launched under international business cultures, MNGT 250R Cross-Cultural Management (CCM) at the American University of Beirut, connects undergraduate contemporaries from the MENA region with the United States.​

Fellow peer from the CCM course at OSB, Tiffany Batrouni: "Seeing different perspectives and views from cultures around the world concerning business is extremely intriguing. Having the opportunity to communicate virtually and online with people from different backgrounds and countries is very fruitful. You learn something new about different cultures everyday, and that's the beauty of this course. The classroom is interactive, and the excitement radiating from everyone is always high in this class."

The CCM exchange course is based out of four universities: Lebanon, Egypt, Libya, and the U.S.–the American University in Cairo, Benghazi Youth for Technology and Entrepreneurship Libya, and the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business. Every week students take part in live video sessions to acquire the skills they need to communicate, problem-solve, and collaborate in a global team environment, equipping them with essential 21st century skills for an interconnected world.

Victor Moussalli pontificates, "Never let your thoughts become universal facts." Victor, a CCM student, goes on to say, "This course has further brought this issue closer to me, and made it more important for me to try as much as possible to see life, not only through my own perspective, but through as many different perspectives as I can."

The curriculum–designed with input from member universities–includes modules and assignments delivered synchronously to each of the classrooms. For the virtual part, students connect through the BlueJeans platform, as well as using a variety of social media channels.

"We are proud to be the first to launch this one-of-a-kind course, where students will be able to develop cross-cultural competency by direct interaction with their peers abroad," says Marina Apaydin​, assistant professor of strategic management and international business, and the initiative's co-coordinator in Lebanon. "We are honored and grateful to the University of Michigan for choosing OSB as its partner in this project, sponsored by the U.S. Department of States. I am confident that it will be an unforgettable experience for all the students enrolled on this course."

Fida Afiouni, associate professor of human resources management and convener of the Management, Marketing, and Entrepreneurship track (MME) at OSB notes, "The MME track is proud to champion an innovative learning format, the virtual exchange program whereby four partner classes from four universities will interact live during class-time in connected sessions. This is a unique opportunity for our students to increase their knowledge of the global business environment in general, and of the American, Egyptian, and Libyan business environments more specifically. This will allow our students to improve their ability to work in a cross-cultural and geographically dispersed team, and to strengthen their ties to other like-minded young business people."

Marrach concludes, "Taking this course is essential to me due to the growth of global business; therefore it is important for an individual to get exposed to diverse cultures."​​

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