Every semester Mays students enrolled in International Management class (MGMT/IBUS 452) gain real-life global experience without leaving the country. Daria Panina, a faculty member in the Department of Management, is a member of X-Culture – a global collaboration project that includes professors from 107 universities from 43 countries. Last semester more than 3,000 students taught by these professors participated in X-Culture.

As a part of X-Culture, all students enrolled in Panina’s class are randomly assigned into global virtual teams, usually consisting of up to seven students from different countries. The teams are required to provide a business solution toslack-imgs an actual company that partners with X-Culture. Students work on a semester-long project by learning the market analysis and global strategy development as well as the best practices of working with people from different cultural backgrounds. Students have a semester to do their research, and work with their counterparts across the globe to write up a business plan for their company. All students who participated in X-Culture and completed their projects receive an X-Culture Global Collaboration Experience certificates. Best teams receive Best Team awards and money prizes, as well as internship and job offers, and sales commissions from the companies they worked for. The best students and groups have an opportunity to participate in the annual X-Culture symposium sponsored by one of the partner companies (which in the past included Mercedes-Benz, The Home Depot and Louis Vuitton, among others). At the symposium, students meet their team members in person, and get an opportunity to interact with the partner company representatives and X-Culture participants from around the world.

X-Culture project is very demanding. Students who work in global virtual teams face many challenges. They have to deal with time differences between countries, learn how to work with people from different cultures, and manage the copanina photonsequences of motivation issues that arise as a part of virtual project. Yet, participants in X-Culture agree that the project improves their cultural intelligence, international and virtual collaboration competencies, global self-efficacy, and increases their interest in cross-cultural relations. Students that participated in X-Culture have mentioned that the experience was highly valuable and rewarding. It not only allowed them to learn international management and gain global experience, it also
helped many of them in their job search. Students that mentioned X-Culture in their job interviews agreed that this was a project that made them stand out in from the rest and helped them land their jobs.

The X-Culture project is tightly linked with the contents of the material studied in MGMT 452. Different parts of the project are discussed in lectures and class activities. Additionally, as a part of the preparation for the project, students taking the class read and discuss academic research on global teams’ management and leadership at the beginning of the semester.

For several semesters, Panina has received the Best Instructor Award based on the peer review of 116 performance indicators for theoretical training of her students, evaluating their group projects and support in organizing and managing the X-Culture project.

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Below are some of the comments by the students who participated in X-Culture last semester:

  • X-Culture was a premier global learning experience. While it was frustrating at times, I believe that the experiences I gained were priceless. – Abby Franks
  • Panina prepared us very well for the X-Culture project. She prepared us for the inevitable challenges and guided us through the entire process. It was a frustrating project, but gave me an invaluable experience to grow as a student, person, and young professional. – Molly Kurth
  • My X-Culture experience was very enlightening. I was given the opportunity to find out what it’s like to work with people on an international scale, and what going global truly means. – Jessica Perkins
  • My team got to create a business plan for a coffee company in Italy to expand into foreign markets. I worked with students from Peru, India, Latvia and China. While the language barrier could be difficult at times, it was fun to actually work with students around the world. – Katherine Stokes-Lindley
  • I really enjoyed X-Culture project. Having the opportunity to work with REAL people from all walks of life was incredibly interesting. Not only that, but also providing a REAL company advice on where to expand was great opportunity to not only put into practice knowledge from MGMT 452, but also use other information that I’ve learned from many of my classes I’ve taken at Mays. – Matthew Ullrich
  • X-Culture was an interesting experience. It was not always easy communicating across different time zones and cultures, but it gave us an opportunity that would be impossible to be replicated unless you were truly on an international team. I would not trade this new skillset for anything. – Reeve Nettles