2015-2016 Global Modular Courses Announced

Supply Chain and New Economy in China GMC

By Anjali Bhatia, WG’15

GMC China Factory Visit
Luen Thai factory floor

The “Made in China” tagline has soared through the last two and a half decades. From 1990 to 2015, China has gone from producing fewer than 3% of global manufacturing by value to nearly 25%. By the mid 1990’s, China’s total exports totaled to around 60%, and it quickly earned itself the reputation of being the low-cost manufacturer. U.S. companies jumped on the bandwagon, completely transforming their supply chain so that they could take advantage of the lower labor costs of China. Now, most low-cost labor is shifting its way towards other Asian countries including Burma, Vietnam and Bangladesh. I did the China Supply Chain GMC to understand the changing economy – how is China transitioning away from manufacturing?

Throughout our path from Shanghai to Shenzhen to Hong Kong, we heard from different companies and speakers that China hopes to also follow the path of production to innovation. One example of a company we visited was Luen Thai, who manufactures apparel for companies such as Ralph Lauren and Uniqlo. While they used to produce predominantly in China, they now have shifted their focus to opening and investing in factories in South East Asia.

GMC China
Marketing to the Chinese Consumer students

We were also able to visit the “new economy” such as Yihaodian, a grocery ecommerce startup that is now partially owned by Walmart. The office had a Silicon-valley vibe with exercise machines in a bright office and large posters up of inspirational thinkers such as Steve Jobs and Albert Einstein. This helped paint a picture of how startups are broadening the landscape of the Chinese economy.

EMBA Student in China, Japan, Spain

When Raj Bharti ( @Raj_Bharti ), managing principal of Collaborate Consulting in Seattle, WA, was researching executive MBA programs, he was particularly interested in gaining international exposure and broadening his global perspective. At Wharton San Francisco, he found that the ability to customize his education allowed him to participate in multiple global classes and activities across both coasts. Now that he’s about to graduate, we asked him to talk about those experiences and how they added value to his education. Here is what he said:

Raj-Bharti-japan-299x199On Global Modular Courses:

During my time at Wharton, I participated in two Global Modular Courses, which we call GMCs. These are mini-courses — usually a week long — that do a deep dive into a specific business topic in another part of the world. They are a good example of how Wharton students can tailor their education by picking courses based on their interests in a specific subject or a geographic region. Several GMCs are offered each term so there are a lot of choices. An added bonus of the GMCs is that they expand your professional network. On my GMCs, I met students from the host countries, Wharton EMBA students from Philadelphia, full-time MBA students, and even a few undergraduate students. They were always diverse, international groups and we learned a lot from one another.

On China:

My first GMC was on “Marketing in Emerging Economies: Understanding and Marketing to the Chinese Consumer” in Beijing. Previously, I served as a regional lead in the Middle-East for one of Microsoft’s marketing programs and had travelled extensively in that role; however, I had not spent much time in Asia and was longing to fill that knowledge gap. During the GMC, it was thought-provoking to learn how consumers, products, pricing, and positioning differ in China, and how population growth and fresh investments are affecting the marketing strategy. While I was in Beijing, I also took the opportunity to travel to Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Xi’an.

On Japan:

My next Asian adventure was the Japan GMC, where the focus was on “Global Supply Chain Management.” The class visited Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe over the course of seven very full days. We did company visits at places, such as Nissan, Panasonic, Aeon, Daikin, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, where we witnessed how quality and safety are engrained in the business ethos like nowhere else. We also spent time focusing on deep cultural characteristics, especially in the traditional city of Kyoto. I was astonished to see how accomplished yet humble Japanese people are; we observed senior executives bowing to us until our bus departed after company visits. That’s something you won’t see in North America or Europe. This was my favorite GMC from a learning perspective because we were able to pack so much into a single week.

Originally published on the Executive MBA site on April 22, 2015.

Read the rest of the post on his MBA experiences in Tahiti, Spain, Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia >>

GMC Visits Israel’s Start-up Culture

By Sarabjeet Singh, WG’15

At universities in Israel, technology goes from lab to the field at a speed unheard of, in several other parts of the world. Israel is not just a developed country but one that has the highest per capita R&D capabilities, resources and investment. With just over seven million inhabiting this small land mass, the country has built a culture of innovation that is an example for any nation. Israel is a leader in data, security and computer intelligence, areas that are defining the next phase of growth across industries.


At a recent Global Modular Course (called Lessons in Israeli Innovation) held at Tel Aviv University, I met local technology giants that have built a global reputation and are selling to clients around the world. In spite of the serious conflict in the region, Israel has managed to incubate companies that are now critical to the US economy. What’s their secret sauce! What we learnt it is the mandatory training in the armed forces through which allows young people to work in the technology divisions of the defense forces while pursuing science and engineering education at the best universities. Once they graduate from the most prestigious divisions of the army, they build companies and start products and services that are now growing the country’s GDP.

Being in Israel was both humbling and motivating. Post the course, I visited other parts of the country to experience the culture.

Global Modular Course Looks at E-commerce in India

By Sarabjeet Singh, WG’15

It’s hard to believe how a country can change so much in a year. I grew up in India before moving to the US for Wharton. As a Teaching Assistant for a Global Modular Course, Technology and Entrepreneurship in India, held in Bangalore during Dec 28 – 31 this past winter, I got to listen to and meet the who’s who of the booming e-commerce industry in India. The four day course saw the likes of the founder of Flipkart (India’s largest e-commerce company), the General Manager of Uber Bangalore and early stage venture investors.


In just a few years, e-commerce in India has grown by leaps and bounds and some say is responsible for internet adoption on mobile phones. The likes of Flipkart and Myntra are seeing over 75% of their buyers making purchases on the mobile phone, something that was unimaginable a couple of years ago. The fast penetration of cheap smart phones (from companies like Xiaomi) and affordable data on the phone are few factors responsible for this change. India saw a few billion dollars invested in technology startups in 2014 – highest since 2010.

The India story is real and it’s happening right now. I was excited to run this Global Modular course and expose students from Wharton and the local Indian Institute of Management to this burgeoning industry that will create thousands of jobs, some billionaires and inspire millions of professionals to start companies.

Time on the Ground with the Global Modular Course in Dubai

Dubai Global Modular CourseGlobal Modular Courses (GMC) are extremely popular among Wharton EMBA students not only for their deep dives into global business issues, but also for the ability to get to know students in other Wharton programs. Wharton San Francisco first-year student Jeni Incontro, solutions manager at Vitech Systems Group in Los Angeles, recently returned from a GMC in Dubai. We asked her to tell us about that experience. Here is what she said:

On choosing the Dubai GMC:

I was interested in this GMC because Dubai has put itself on the map in the last 10 years like no other city. It has grown quickly and prominently, developing niche markets like real estate finance and Islamic finance. I’m not in the finance sector so I saw the GMC as a chance to learn about an entirely new area. The GMCs are a good opportunity to expose yourself to a topic you otherwise wouldn’t learn about – and spend time on the ground in a different country — and not use up your elective slots during the regular semester.

On networking:

I went on the GMC to Dubai with approximately 40 other students. They included undergraduate, full-time MBA, and executive MBA students from both coasts and both years. It was great to be in that mixed group so we could get to know each other and expand our network during the course.

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Originally published on the Executive MBA blog on March 10, 2015.

Leadership Lessons from Rwanda Global Modular Course

rwandaBy Maxine Winston, W’14

What does genocide have in common with business? I spent a few weeks puzzling over this concept as I prepared for the Wharton course “Conflict, Leadership and Change: Lessons from Rwanda.” Having taken a course on genocide in high school, I was very attracted to the idea of visiting Rwanda to learn even more. Thus, when I heard about this course offering, I signed up immediately. However, I didn’t really understand what I could learn from studying the Rwandan genocide that would enhance my business knowledge. The simple answer is: a whole lot. In this post, I will explain how the course worked and what I learned from my experience in Rwanda.

The course was comprised of several MBA students, Executive MBA students, and me. I was a bit intimidated by the fact that I was the only undergraduate to be on the trip (and to ever have enrolled in the class), but everyone was very friendly and welcoming to me, which made it easy for me to feel more comfortable. I flew down a few days early with a few MBA students to go on  gorilla and golden monkey treks and to explore western Rwanda. The experience was breathtaking, and gave me a deeper understanding of the country I was about to explore in depth over the rest of the week.

During the course, we spent five days in Kigali, Rwanda intensely studying the genocide, how the leadership in Rwanda helped the country to recover and thrive after the genocide, and what we can leverage from the experiences of the leadership in Rwanda in our own futures as business leaders.

These topics seemed very vague to me at first, but upon starting the course, they became much more comprehensible. Before arriving in Rwanda, we read various psychological, economic and historical papers to understand the context of the country we were entering and its history. We conducted phone interviews with reporters and ambassadors who had worked in Rwanda to further deepen our understanding of the country. While in Kigali, we interviewed various Rwandan thought leaders, visited various historical and cultural sites, and reflected upon our conversations through group discussions. Our interviewees included entrepreneurs, genocide survivors, government ministers, the CEO of a national bank, a venture capitalist, and the President of Rwanda. We received a variety of perspectives that provided us a breadth of insight into how Rwanda was able to overcome the obstacles that the post-genocide environment supplied them.

Originally Published May 4, 2014, by Wharton Undergraduate Student Voices.

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EMBA Student “Blown Away” by Global Modular Course in Dubai

Emba dubaiSecond-year Wharton | San Francisco EMBA student Zofia Wosinska Picker recently participated in a Global Modular Course (GMC) in Dubai and Abu Dhabi on Finance in the Middle East and North Africa. We asked Zofia, who is cofounder of HUNG3R in Denver, CO, to tell us about that experience. Here’s what she said:

Before coming to Wharton, I was a chemist. I had never taken any business classes, but I dreamed of starting my own company. To learn how to make wise financial decisions for my company in the future, and to learn from the best of the best, I decided to major in finance.

Finance majors need to take a certain number of finance classes, and a few of the courses like the GMC offer the option to step outside the classroom. So the GMC on Finance in the Middle East and North Africa was an intriguing option. It’s an intensive three-day course in which you travel to the Middle East and talk to business and government leaders in that region.

The GMC also was a chance to meet Wharton EMBA students from Philadelphia as well as full-time MBA and undergraduate students. I was excited to get that kind of interaction and broaden my Wharton network.

The course began in Dubai with a classroom session on finance in the region. That was an important day, as we learned a lot about how the Islamic financial system works.

Then we had a panel of speakers visit our class. This was an incredible experience because they shared so many different perspectives. Our speakers included the founder of the first private equity firm in Saudi Arabia, the CFO of PepsiCo Asia, the Middle East and Africa, and the CEO of Emaar Properties, just to name a few.

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Originally Published March 26, 2014, by Wharton EMBA blog.


Building Global Supply Chains With Global Modular Course in Japan

global modular course japanBlending Wharton classroom concepts with international immersion, Wharton Global Modular courses expose students to new experiences—from Versace’s Milan headquarters in Italy to behind the wheel of a Nissan on a test track in Japan.

“During a Global Modular Course, we’re not watching a video, we’re not reading a case—we’re actually talking to the managers in depth and touring their facilities,” says Morris Cohen, Wharton’s Panasonic Professor of Manufacturing and Logistics. “We put these elements together in an appropriate context, ensuring that the course isn’t just a range of visits, but a cohesive learning experience.”

Cohen taught the new course “Global Operations (Supply Chain) Management in Japan” with John Paul MacDuffie, an associate professor in the Management Department. The six-day course focused on global supply chains operated by Japanese corporations and multinational companies operating in Japan. Through course materials, lectures, conversations with managers and site visits to some of Japan’s leading companies, students examined the dynamics of global competition and how various organizations are responding to shifting global markets.

Read full post at Wharton Magazine >>