MBAs Learn the Hard Way That Diversity Matters in Global Business

Two years ago, London Business School sent a team of students from North America and Europe to Johannesburg to help a small business that sold food and sweets turn a profit.

The success rate was much higher for teams made up of people from different cultures. Juxtaposing ideas that were informed by a variety of backgrounds helped students come up with more effective solutions for the entrepreneurs they worked with.

London Business School has subsequently made the teams we send on week-long immersions as diverse as possible. This goes beyond nationality. Teams comprise students who have not only different cultural backgrounds, but different career histories. A student with a consulting background may get mixed with one who worked in finance—or IT, accounting, or marine biology.

Only when business students have learned how to work with varied people and cultures that will they be able to operate ethically, competently, and effectively—no matter where they are in the world.

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