Dr. Heather Kohls, Dr. Nicholas J.C. Santos, S.J.
The Applied Global Business Learning program at Marquette University’s Business School: A case of international collaboration and sharing
Marquette’s Applied Global Business Learning (AGBL) is a unique volunteer program that provides microenterprise solutions to assist communities in developing countries. AGBL is an international student-led program under the aegis of the Center for Global and Economic Studies at the business school at Marquette. AGBL is different from the traditional immersion programs which often end up being much like poverty tourism. Instead, it is a cultural immersion into a developing world context that is aimed at using the skill set of the volunteers (faculty and students) to assess micro-enterprise problems, devise solutions and help in implementation. The approach is not a paternalistic one but rather one that is interactive and involves the organization and community being helped. Students come away with a true immersion into a global business context and a greater appreciation of the challenges and barriers of economic development in developing countries and the organizations helped receive knowledge and solutions that help them to better their businesses and improve their communities. Since the start of the program in 2008, AGBL has implemented projects in Honduras, India, Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Bangladesh, El Salvador and Tanzania. In this presentation, we will first present an overview of AGBL which will include the steps that led to its development and show how it aligns with the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm of Context-Experience-Reflection-Action-Evaluation. We will then share our learnings over the last many years. Finally, we make recommendations for scaling this program to other business schools.