Providence College MBA students have just wrapped up a semester-long global project in collaboration with students from Edinburgh Napier University (ENU). The project’s real world learning format gave students the opportunity to gain experience as leaders of a global team. The group comprised of six engineering students from ENU and four MBA students from PCSB, as well as faculty participants from both schools. Dr. Francine Newth acted as the PCSB faculty participant and co-coordinator, accompanied by both an ENU administrator and an ENU professor in IT.
The program focused on a real IT security project with a Scottish technology company, which placed the PCSB students in the roles of project managers. The project objective was to define how we visualize the data collected by this sort of company and the threats associated with user activity. The semester was kicked off in January with a week-long visit to Providence by the ENU students, during which the teams met for the first time to delegate work assignments and conduct lab meetings in addition to making several corporate visits. Included in these visits was a meeting with Paul Brown, VP of National Security at EMC and PC alumnus, who served as the project adviser and mentor to the students throughout the semester. Paul organized a session for the students to meet with various experts from EMC in the fields of IT and global team project management.
The course, MBA 698 Special Topics: Global Project Management, continued after the one week visit in January, challenging the students to work remotely via Slack and Skype for the majority of the semester. Through the utilization of innovative IT communication and teamwork technology, the PC students were able to connect in real time with Edinburgh students and faculty as well as engage in bi-weekly review meetings with the project company. The four PC students managed the project process while the ENU students developed the computer software. To wrap up the project, two of the four PC students traveled to Edinburgh at the end of April with Dr. Francine Newth. The students, Katie Leyden and RJ DePietri, reconnected with their ENU teammates in to present their final global project on data visualization to company management. In addition to team work meetings and lectures at ENU campus, the students traveled from Edinburgh for a cultural visit to St Andrews.
Project manager Katie Leyden MBA ’16, who has a concentration in international business, said the experience “brought so much insight into how business is done in a global context, as well as helped build my network of professional connections across the globe. Learning how to work in a global mindset and having an international perspective was a big takeaway and highlight from this project.”