September 16, 2021
The goal of Tuck’s global experience requirement is for students – through an immersive experience – to develop the empathy, awareness, and agility to adapt their behaviors and perspectives to successfully navigate different business environments and cultures.
Historically, these immersive learning opportunities have happened in a country in which a student has spent fewer than 90 days cumulatively. And yet, the COVID-19 pandemic and the related restrictions on travel throughout the globe have posed substantial obstacles to this important Tuck tradition.
Over the last several months, the TuckGO team has been working diligently to maximize the chances that T’22s will be able to participate in a Term Exchange or GIX this academic year, and that T’23s will have ample TuckGO opportunities during their two years of study at Tuck. In April and again in July, we shared our developing plans for TuckGO offerings. Driven by the evolving challenges of international travel, today we write with an update on those plans.
With the rise of the Delta variant and rapidly changing entry requirements, we will not be able to offer international GIXs in December. Entry requirements for some countries have recently changed and there remains discussion about those requirements evolving further. Some countries are not admitting travelers that classify as “tourists,” some are experiencing delays in visas, and some are enforcing strict entry requirements (e.g. quarantines for vaccinated travelers). Companies we hoped to visit on GIXs in December are facing these challenges too. The College also has prevailing policies for sponsored travel, which includes GIXs, that could preclude travel in December.
Term Exchanges are continuing as planned as they are longer in duration and provide time for students to quarantine (if required) and meet the health requirements of their host country and university.
So, where does that put us? While we cannot change the conditions in which we are operating, we can give our community the advantages of choice and time to craft well-informed academic and personal plans.
We have now established three avenues for T’22s and eligible T’23s (MD/MBA and MPH/MBA students) to satisfy the global experience requirement this academic year. Each is in the pursuit of developing empathy, awareness, agility, and engaging across cultures – the very goals of the global experience requirement.
Please read carefully about the three options below. The TuckGO team will survey T’22s and T’23 MD/MBA and MPH/MBA students shortly to gauge interest and preferences for the three options.
Available exclusively to T’22s, in December we will offer a GIX course, “Freedom Riders 2021: Unpacking Systemic Racism in America and Its Impact for Leadership,” with Professors Ella Bell Smith and Adam Kleinbaum, traveling to Washington, DC; Charlotte, NC; Atlanta, GA; and Montgomery, AL. This GIX will arrive in D.C., the evening of Wednesday, December 1, and will depart Alabama on Friday morning, December 10. As with all GIXs, this trip will be limited to 25 students.
Tuck has previously offered impactful GIXs in the United States – the 2017 Mississippi GIX is one such example – and this U.S.-based course will fulfill the global experience requirement. Registration for this course will open on Wednesday, September 22.
T’22s who opt to participate in this course will receive a $500 reimbursement in travel-related program fees due to it being a U.S.-based course. While we have a high degree of confidence in our ability to offer this program in December, if it is determined that we cannot offer this course safely, students will be reimbursed an additional $2000 in program fees.
We continue to plan for several international GIX courses during the March spring break. These expeditions, open to T’22s and those T’23s who are MD/MBAs or MPH/MBAs, will arrive at their destinations on Wednesday, March 9 and depart on Friday, March 18. While we are hopeful that public health conditions, vaccination uptake, and entry requirements around the globe will be vastly improved by March, the reality is that we cannot guarantee what the state of short-term international travel will be at that time. Another important issue will be the willingness of companies to host us during these trips.
We plan to have the international destinations for our March GIXs finalized and announced by mid-October. Please know that we are selecting these destinations with health, wellness, and entry access foremost in mind. We will strive to accommodate all who indicate an interest in international GIXs for March, but we cannot guarantee that we will not encounter constraints.
If public health, safety concerns, travel restrictions, or capacity constraints dictate a change in plans for any or all international GIX courses in March, we will make that decision by early December and students pursuing Option 2 will be reimbursed $2,500 in travel-related program fees and will shift to Option 3.
T’22s who do not participate in the December “Freedom Riders” GIX course or the international GIXs in March can opt to fulfill the global experience requirement through on-campus co-curricular programs during the winter and spring terms. These alternatives will not impact your breaks and will be consistent with the experiential spirit of the global requirement. We will soon survey students to help inform the planning for these on-campus alternatives. Programming may include options such as "doing business in" seminars, case competitions involving a global business challenge, the IDI assessment and coaching, or workshops about navigating workplace and business norms in different countries.
Students who choose Option 3 – as well as students who have already fulfilled the TuckGO requirement through Term Exchange, Field Study in Business, or an independent study and do not wish to participate in either Option 1 or Option 2 – will be reimbursed $2,500 in travel-related program fees.
T’23s: We ask that you please plan to participate in a TuckGO course next academic year. Students who may encounter scheduling issues with doing TuckGO during the second year – namely MD/MBA and MPH/MBA students – are eligible to participate in one of the GIX courses this March, but aside from these T’23s, we must focus our March GIX capacity this year toward T’22s. We can work with these T’23s on independent studies and other avenues to fulfill the global experience requirement if travel this March is not possible.
It is understandable to feel frustrated by the continued uncertainty around international travel and evolving health conditions globally. Staff and faculty feel this too. Our aim for TuckGO under these challenging circumstances is to provide students meaningful experiential learning opportunities in preparation for doing business across cultures, and to maintain as much optionality for students as we can. We remain optimistic about the opportunities to create these impactful TuckGO experiences together this year.
We understand that students in each class may have some questions. Depending on the question, we may or may not have the answer at the moment but, as always, we will work with all students to sort out concerns.
Joe Hall, Senior Associate Dean for Teaching and Learning