Shiprah: Toulouse Business School (January 2022)

Toulouse Business School Online Winter programme was an incredible opportunity to expand my international business knowledge and experience. I participated in the International Human Resource Management course to diversify my postgraduate business management study with a global component. An excellent online experience learning from experts and professional consultants based in France!

I enjoyed the interactive online lessons and practical content with students from multiple countries – Australia, Chile, Morocco, Indonesia and New Zealand! This mix of students and lecturers made the discussions and learning experience culturally rich. I loved learning about how each country’s natural culture influences business practices and how this must be a key consideration when exploring new international business opportunities. It was a two-week intensive course in Central European Time (CET) which consisted of interactive, live Zoom classes (Mon – Fri CET but Tues – Sat NZT) and four cultural / industry webinars with experts in the aviation & Occitane wine industry, work in France/ Europe and a virtual tour of Toulouse. This virtual tour was a creative way which felt like you were really immersed in the history, culture and environment of Toulouse (as close as it can be virtually).

The programme started with a virtual, informative and fun orientation via Zoom. The course staff were super helpful and responsive with easy to follow enrollment steps and learning management systems. The group project was one of my favourite aspects as I collaborated with students from Chile! It was an enriching experience as we shared about each other’s country, cultures, business practices, languages, education system, history and societal challenges. I even learnt some Spanish which was enlivening as a multilinguist. This demonstrates the amazing cross-cultural connections you can make. We also had a personal coaching session to consult about our presentation and report. The topics highlighted the significance of cross-cultural management, the importance of a global mindset and international socio-cultural awareness to be better positioned to comprehend and enact international business practices. A key learning was around HR Management practices in various nations, my group project was a great way to apply this in a practical way. The project focused on Italy, COVID-19, challenges with international business considerations and International HR recommendations for the scenario of an American aerospace company moving into the Italian business market. International collaboration, online presentation and case analysis skills relate to my current area of work and future goals of working in consulting or government.

One of the key challenges was around the timing. Classes were from 1-3AM NZT, expert webinars 11PM – 12AM NZT and group work sessions location dependant. Time zone differences with my team were tricky to navigate at first but once established worked well. It was difficult at times to stay awake/ wake up but the enthusiasm and genuine comradery with my lectures and classmates made it an enjoyable experience. It was worth the sacrifice of time and sleep for me as it was a fun challenge, exciting to be part of something new and was inspired to learn at a tertiary institute in France (albeit virtually) – a dream come true as a previous French major! This course is all taught in English so even if you haven’t learnt French before this will work well for you. I’d recommend having a reliable support system and plan in place for these two weeks to ensure you focus on your wellbeing while enjoying this virtual experience. Overall it was invigorating, fulfilling and intellectually stimulating course which I would highly recommend, not only to business students, as you can bring your own areas of expertise and see the connections international business has to almost any industry.

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