NC student tops in international business competition

A third-year student in Niagara College’s Bachelor of Business Administration – International Commerce and Global Development program is part of an international team that earned top honours in a recent international business competition.

Gwendolyn Kitiwano of St. Catharines was a member of a team of students from Canada, Japan, Grenada and the United States who participated in X-Culture, a competition that brings together students and professionals from more than 40 countries. Participating students are put into international teams that work together for 10 weeks on projects provided by corporate partners. More than 4,000 undergraduate and MBA students from around the world participate in the competition.

Kitiwano’s team was tasked with producing a market research report on a new African market for Forcier Consulting, one of the largest research companies operating in Africa. Initially, Forcier selected two reports – the one produced by Kitiwano’s team and another report as the top entries. After further consideration, Kitiwano’s team – made up of undergraduate students – was selected over the second team, which was made up of MBA students.

“It was definitely a surprise, and I’m very grateful to be chosen, along with my teammates,” Kitiwano said.

Kitiwano said that in addition to providing an opportunity to employ the skills and knowledge she’s gained through Niagara College’s Bachelor of Business Administration program, it was a chance to build her inter-professional skills, working virtually with teammates in different countries, while meeting weekly milestone deadlines.

“It was a great experience and it really taught me how challenging it can be to work with others from around the world, and how rewarding it can be at the same time,” she said. “The skills I’ve acquired through my program have helped me immensely throughout the process of completing this project.”

In addition to a cash prize, the members of Kitiwano’s team has been offered positions with Forcier Consulting upon graduation, in their Cairo, Egypt office.

Navjote Khara, professor and coordinator of NC’s Bachelor of Business Administration – International Commerce and Global Development program, requires all of the students in her International Marketing Strategies course to participate in X-Culture, as among other things, it encourages networking and collaboration.

“An important part of this is how to collaborate globally – it’s part of cross-cultural learning,” she said. “They also cultivate a network of friends from around the globe, which will help them in their future careers.”

Khara also said NC’s bachelor degree program, which combines theoretical and applied learning, prepares students well for this type of challenge.

“This program is unique because apart from teaching international business concepts we also bring real-life experience and applied research projects into the classroom that enrich the students learning,” she said. “This success speaks highly of the quality of teaching and the types of opportunities we provide, which add value to our students’ learning pathways.”

X-Culture is a large-scale international experiential learning project. Approximately 4,000 students from 110 universities in 44 countries on six continents participate in X-Culture every semester. The students are placed in global virtual teams, usually of about seven students, each coming from a different country. Multi-national corporations team up with X-Culture and present their challenges. The students, working in global virtual teams during the semester, develop their solutions to the international business challenges presented by the X-Culture’s corporate partners. In doing so, the students experience first-hand the difficulties and learn best practices of international collaboration, as well as develop business plan development skills.

Niagara College offers more than 100 diploma, bachelor degree and advanced level programs at campuses in Welland, Niagara-on-the-Lake, and Niagara Falls; as well as more than 600 credit, vocational and general interest Continuing Education courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences, advanced technology, media, applied health and community safety, supported by unique learning enterprises in food, wine, beer, horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit http://www.niagaracollege.ca

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