Cameroon, on Africa’s west coast, may be more familiar in Philadelphia than elsewhere in the United States, thanks to the presence of Philadelphia 76ers’ player Joel Embiid, a native of the country’s capitol, Yaounde.
Now LeBow has its own Cameroon connection through this term’s Global Classroom, which links students enrolled in a section of International Business (INTB 200) with students at Biaka University Institute of Buea (BUIB), a university in southwestern Cameroon.
Global Classrooms, coordinated by the University’s Office of International Programs, allow Drexel University students to share an online educational experience with students at an international university. Recent Global Classrooms at LeBow have connected business classes to their peers at universities in France, India and the United Kingdom; this quarter marks the first Global Classroom to connect LeBow with a university in Africa.
What other connections does Drexel LeBow have to the African continent? In summer 2017, 11 students traveled to Zambia following an MGMT370 international consulting residency course. In Zambia, students delivered business solutions to World Vision International. Drexel LeBow has also brought African leaders to campus through the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders during summer 2017 and this upcoming summer 2018. The Mandela Fellowship program welcomes 25 young leaders from all corners of the African continent to Drexel’s campus for a 5-week institute in leadership, civic engagement, and entrepreneurship.
This is not the first collaboration between Drexel University and BUIB. Drexel’s College of Nursing and Health Professions (CNHP) completed the first Global Classroom with BUIB in fall 2016 in a nursing class. A second Global Classroom between CNHP and BUIB for a nutrition sciences course is in session for the spring 2018 quarter, concurrently with LeBow’s Global Classroom.
The international business Global Classroom this quarter is taught by LeBow’s associate clinical professor of economics Eydis Olsen and Mbinkar Bernard, a lecturer in business, finance, and management at BUIB. The professors alternate delivering lectures to the 36 LeBow students and 11 BUIB students via Zoom teleconference.
“Having taught International Business at Drexel for over a decade, in the classroom and through experiential learning involving travel, this is a new and efficient way to expose more students directly to professors and students in other countries,” Olsen says. “Having a window to the world, lectures and discussion from both sides has taken INTB 200 to a new level. The faculty, team and students in Cameroon have been a great pleasure to work with.”
The course explores fundamentals of global business, including cultural differences and business etiquette in the global marketplace and the foreign trade, investment and management. Homework assignments and quizzes are the same for students in Philadelphia and Cameroon, though exams differ and are administered separately.
“It is a very cool way of opening our eyes to how it is in other parts of the world,” says Christian Ear, a first-year international business major and a member of the Global Learning Community. “We are able to learn how business is done in Cameroon, and see how it compares to where we live.”