One MBA logo and a graphic of the world

Miami Herbert co-hosts its first OneMBA Residency Program

By Cibeles Duran

Miami Herbert co-hosts its first OneMBA Residency Program

By Cibeles Duran
Executives from around the world take a deep dive into the global business challenges and opportunities that make North America a main region for enterprise and multiculturalism.
During the week of March 8 to 13, 85 students spanning 22 countries gathered virtually for an immersive journey into the financial environment and socioeconomic developments that have marked business and culture throughout North America. The course signified Miami Herbert Business School’s first North America Global Residency, co-hosted with EGADE Business School in Monterrey, Mexico as part of the OneMBA consortium, which also includes FGV Sao Paulo School of Business in Brazil, Xiamen School of Management in China, and Rotterdam School of Management in the Netherlands.

The OneMBA program gives executives the opportunity to steer their careers towards global leadership through a 21-month, internationally focused curriculum enabled by the consortium of five business schools across four continents. The degree trajectory normally includes rotating, weeklong residencies at each of the partner institutions to give students exceptional international exposure and a truly global perspective. Yet, as students forego physical travel due to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, faculty and staff at the partner institutions have had to adjust quickly to bring the residencies into a virtual setting.

The team at Miami Herbert, a first-year consortium member, searched for ways to deliver meaningful interactions and minimize the distance. “We endeavored to push the boundaries of what we could do virtually, beyond deep academic content, to have our students experience and explore this vast region,” Program Academic Director David Major says.

Each day’s programming opened with the OneMBA Café, an initial session bringing in music and various breakout rooms for “morning coffee chat,” even while participants attended from across 14 time zones, meaning late-night hours for those in China.

“Giving students the opportunity to interact seemed too important to miss out on despite the challenge of having them located around the world,” explains Program Manager Cecilia Sanchez.

Three hours of live classes would follow the Café, again allowing for a more interactive environment than pre-recorded sessions and proving a welcome feature for students.

“The level of interaction with my peers was much more profound and productive than our previous residency, which was unexpected given the constraints of the virtual environment,” Miami Herbert student Gabriel Cambuí says.

“I appreciated the coffee chats to network with our colleagues from different parts of the world,” adds Rotterdam student Sarah Soenen.

Class discussions encompassed themes of real-time impact, from governmental and diversity challenges to trends in banking, economic outlooks, and trade, with special focus on the United States-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade agreement, as well as the Caribbean region. Underlying topics extended to socioeconomic regional perspectives as well as business megatrends including sustainability and technological innovation.

EGADE student Emmanuel Echeverria provides his key takeaway: “North America is a huge economic bloc with huge potential and the capacity to cooperate with other regions in the globe in the quest for development, sustainability, and social improvements.”

“The area is one of vast opportunities, but with deeply ingrained complexities and paradoxes,” observes Bob Enofe, a student at Sao Paulo School of Business.

Following classes, students enjoyed virtual travel destinations. The Miami Herbert team made use of widened borders within an online venue to take students to sites throughout the United States, Mexico, and Canada. Audio-visually engaging content and high-quality video presentations captured city views, surrounding nature, and even the climates of the various regional destinations, which included the Canadian Museum of Human Rights in Winnipeg, the New York Public Library, and the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

Experiential components covered music, art, and even cuisine. On day two, for instance, the Café opened to the sounds of the saxophone, played by a University of Miami student Xavier Bucknor. The theme would tie into the afternoon’s activity exposing students to the origins of jazz and its influences on America’s multicultural traditions. The “Cubop,” for example, emerged as a combination of Cuban music with jazz’s bebop sounds.

The next afternoon, the University of Miami’s Lowe Art Museum opened its virtual doors to its NEXUS exhibition, showcasing pieces from contemporary artists of diverse backgrounds, ages, and art forms, from 79-year-old sculptor Ursula von Rydingsvard to 21-year-old Allison Zuckerman, who extracts imagery of famous Renaissance artworks to create collages that incorporate painting and photography.

“We were impressed by the breadth of their creations and the diversity of artforms, expressions, and viewpoints in their artwork,” wrote one student at the conclusion of the visit.

Later in the week, OneMBA alumnus and YouTube cooking personality, Roberto Sanchez, introduced the class to Mexican cuisine. Insight into the Mexican culture also included a discerning look into the traditional Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), in which families gather to recognize the reality of death and exalt the memory of departed loved ones.

The comprehensive residency extended to professional and personal skills development. Students strengthened negotiation skills through one-on-one discussions, made possible by enabling 42 breakout rooms on the Zoom-based platform. Finally, sessions dedicated to personal development encouraged mindful thinking, health and wellbeing, and self-reflection.