As a full-time MBA student at the Fisher College of Business, you will have the opportunity to take part in the Global Applied Projects (GAP) program. On Friday, Feb 1, our class finally found out where we would be going, the projects we would be working on, and the organizations we would be working for. As potential MBA students yourselves, I want to give you some idea of what this process is and what it entails.
The GAP program is designed to allow MBA students to participate in a global consulting workshop where, rather than just classes and simulations where students are using theory and the outcomes are no more than a letter grade, this is an opportunity to work for a real company with a real problem and who are paying real money for a real solution. The fact that these problems exist in an international setting is definitely a perk. For example, projects this year are in areas as diverse as Ethiopia, France, Brazil, China, and Malaysia.
For a timeline on how the GAP program works:
- In the middle of the fall semester, students will be given the opportunity to apply to the GAP program. As this is a program that provides for free international travel and a stipend for living in country, it is extremely popular and thus it is very important students have their applications in on time.
- At the beginning of spring semester, students will be sent a list of international projects. Upon receiving the list of projects, students will then rank these in order of preference and ability. At this time, students will not know the companies or organizations they are working for or where the projects will be placed.
- At the beginning of February, Fisher holds an event to announce the makeup of the students groups for each project, the organizations they will be working for, and where they will be working.
- In the second half of spring semester, students will begin working on their projects at weekly meetings and alongside faculty advisers to come up with realistic and actionable solutions for their target companies.
- For most of May, students live onsite and in-country working on their projects, and preparing to present their solution to their clients. Each student is provided with a budget that covers airfare, and a stipend for room and board that they may spend however they see fit.
The GAP program provides a wonderful opportunity for Fisher MBA students to work in a true international setting and understand all of the challenges and opportunities that exist in a global business environment. That said, free travel to new places to work on interesting projects and gain experiences outside of our comfort zones is definitely a perk.