Geography Lessons

International business programs to prepare you for work abroad

is a quick way to immerse this new global executive into how business works in other countries,” Fernandes continues.

The payoff can be great for the company and for the individual. Because participants report to senior executives on their findings and what they learned in the program, “it is a high-profile experience” for them, Callahan says.

More importantly, the experience can offer insight and resolutions to key business issues, something the Corning group can attest to. Dillard and his colleagues were charged with figuring out how to maintain the company’s business culture at Corning offices worldwide while at the same time capitalizing on the knowledge and skills of local executives and employees. Dillard’s group landed back in the U.S. with a set of recommendations to report to Corning President and COO Peter Volanakis and other top executives. The first was to examine the demographics of Corning’s high-level staff. When the report revealed that only 19 of 120 C-suite executive respondents had international experience, the group had to re-examine Corning’s policy for expatriate assignments to ensure a better balance between the number of U.S. managers sent abroad versus managers brought in from outside the U.S.

In addition, the group asked the company to develop a global effectiveness and leadership curriculum as well as global diversity and “global mind-set” statements. Dillard says that Corning has implemented all the recommendations, and though it is too early to gauge their true impact on the firm’s business, he believes they have been positive. He notes that the firm has established a global diversity network, comprising affinity groups from various cultures and locations, and that the top ranks of management are much more diverse as well.

Dillard, who holds a bachelor’s of science in engineering from the University of Michigan, hopes to be considered for a role as a director of engineering. And he thinks the Tuck program helps his chances. “I think it has raised my profile,” he says. “I have been given a fairly significant level of responsibility in our large-size program development. I would like to think that very soon I will be promoted to one of our top 200 managers.”

If you’re interested in exploring a global executive education program, many major business schools offer them. It’s important to consider a program’s quality, says John Fernandes, president and chief executive of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, a global organization of business schools and B-school accrediting groups, and to find out whether the program operates in your company’s primary markets. Fees can range from $3,000 to more than $30,000.

Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College: Global Leadership 2020 is an executive education program open to executive teams from members of the business school’s Global 2020 consortium. Three modules take participants to the Dartmouth campus in Hanover, New Hampshire; Chennai, India; and Shanghai, China. Fees vary. Contact: 603-646-2839,

University of Notre Dame: The university offers a one-week China Immersion program for executives examining business, culture, language, history, and government. It also offers an

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