Cross-Cultural Work Experiences
Course Number 5555
Course Head: Professor Tom Eisenmann
Eligibility: MBA students who are about to enter the EC year and who will be doing a paid summer work internship in a country other than their own.
Introductory class session on Tuesday, March 26, 2013 in Aldrich 7
Paper; due no later than Monday, September 9, 2013 by 5:00 PM
What does CWES cover?
Students enrolled in CWES will conduct analyses of factors that affect business strategy and operations when they cross national and cultural boundaries. The factors analyzed might include, for example, macro-level issues such as political, regulatory, and demographic factors, as well as micro-level issues such as social and organization identities, leadership styles and communication channels. The goal of the course is to illuminate, by first-hand experience, how cultural and national contexts affect the work of organizations.
CPT Work Authorization
International students on the F-l student visa who take this course and work in the United States should be able to use Curricular Practical Training (CPT) work authorization. Please visit the Harvard International Office website for CPT information.
This course is open to MBA students who are about to enter an Elective Curriculum (EC) year and who will be doing a paid work internship in a country other than their own.
Course Overview and Requirements
- The course begins with an information session prior to the start of the internship. This session will take place on Tuesday, March 26, 2013 at 4:00 pm in Aldrich 7. Students must attend this mandatory session before registering for CWE.
- At the end of the internship, students will submit a paper focusing on the following key topic. Papers are required to be at least 2,500 words, double-spaced.
Cultural comparison: compare/contrast the US business culture with your home professional and interpersonal culture and how these cultural factors influenced your work and perspectives. If you have never worked in your home country, please provide an in-depth comparison of one or more of the following: (a) the US work culture you experienced with what you know about that in your own culture; (b) the US work culture with a third (or fourth culture) you are familiar with, due to previous work experience; or (c) the business culture of your company and/or industry with other companies and/or industries.
In addition, the specific learning you did during the summer is a big opportunity for additional depth. Please feel free to consider the following points:
What is it about the US business culture that you experienced that you particularly liked or did not like, and why? Did you apply skills, concepts and techniques you learned in the first year? How did that application differ from what you experienced, practiced and/or expected in the classroom setting?
In the real world, most problems don't come as well defined and with all the data in the exhibits. Did you have to do more work framing problems and collecting data than you experienced here at HBS? How was that experience and what did you learn?
What insights did the work really give you on yourself, your skills and abilities, your likes and dislikes and the career trajectory you are likely to pursue?
- The final paper is due to MBA Registrar Services on Monday, September 9, 2013. Students must also submit a letter from the employer verifying completion of the internship to MBA Registrar Services by this deadline.
Please note: Students failing to submit the final paper and employer letter on time will receive an unsatisfactory grade ("N"), which will subject them automatically to a formal review by the Academic Performance Committee. In addition, the HBS academic policies on use of one's own work and plagiarism apply in this course as they do in every other HBS course. Finally, those students receiving an unsatisfactory grade will also be reported to the Harvard International Office (HIO).
Those students who choose to participate in CWE will need 31.5 credits to graduate (rather than the usual 30 credits). No other course credits may be substituted for the CWE course credits.
- Attend the mandatory CWES information session. All students planning to participate in this program, whether they have already accepted an internship or not, should attend this session. It is not necessary to have an internship secured to attend.
- Once you have secured and accepted an offer of employment, bring written confirmation of your acceptance of an offer of employment and a copy of the offer letter containing the following information to MBA Registrar Services:
a description of the proposed employment
the number of hours per week to be worked (part-time or full-time)
the beginning and end dates of employment
the location of employment
- At MBA Registrar Services, complete an application form to register for Cross-Cultural Work Experiences Summer as a satisfactory/non-satisfactory (S/N), 1.5 credit course.
- Once you have registered for the course, you will need to apply for CPT authorization with the Harvard International Office (495-2789). An appointment is not necessary to meet with an HIO advisor. You must bring the following items to the HIO: a written job offer letter; written confirmation of your acceptance of the offer; and the registration form from MBA Registrar Services (indicating that you've enrolled in CWES). The processing time to pick up your CPT authorization is up to one week after your materials are brought to the HIO.
Please note: CPT participation must be authorized prior to the start of your job.