While participating in the CAS International Leadership program, students move through four phases, namely (Phase 1) finding solutions to the four international leadership challenges, (Phase 2) receiving an assessment of their intercultural competence as well as a personal development plan, (Phase 3) being directly exposed to international management and leadership situations and stakeholders, and (Phase 4) transferring the knowledge and solutions to their specific leadership challenges.
Phase 1: International Leadership Foundation
In this phase, we lay the foundation for successful International Leadership. We focus on the four core challenges that we believe international leaders need to address and solve.
Challenge 1: Internationalizing Organizations
To successfully conduct business on a cross-national scale, work processes and structures as well as employees need to be attuned to creating outcomes that are understandable and useful for divergent stakeholder needs. Students learn about techniques to shape their organization accordingly, thereby increasing the international responsiveness and competitiveness of their organization.
Challenge 2: Understanding Cultures
Good decision making is dependent on a clear understanding of the divergent stakeholder expectations and needs present in the international arena. Students learn to forecast both the expectations and needs present in a given situation and context, and to broker fitting and mutually beneficial solutions.
Challenge 3: Developing Intercultural Competence
In addition to having a clear understanding of cultures and organizations, an international leader also needs to know how to act and behave in an interculturally sensitive manner in order to bring about positive outcomes. Students receive continuous guidance on how to develop their behavioral intercultural competence over the course of the program (see also Phase 2).
Challenge 4: Leading Across Cultures
Well-versed international leaders can effectively address the three challenges indicated above. Beyond that, they are able to do so in a way that both engages and aligns their teams and stakeholders across cultures. Students learn about leadership techniques and behaviors that enable them to ensure both engagement and alignment across cultures, thereby ensuring the positive results they are expected to deliver.
These four challenges will be addressed from various perspectives in all four phases of the program.
Phase 2: Intercultural Competence Assessment & Development
In this phase, each student receives an individual coaching of approximately 2h. The goal of the coaching is to define personal development needs and to identify best practices to develop intercultural competence. To achieve this goal, students assess their intercultural competence by completing the Intercultural Development Inventory*. Based on their individual results, students then establish a personal development plan during the coaching session, which they execute over the remainder of the program.
The objectives of the course assignment are determined during the coaching session, in alignment with the developmental needs of each student. For this, students prepare a brief proposal of the international leadership topic they want to work on.
*The IDI is a valid und widely used tool for assessing the capability to shift cultural perspectives and appropriately adapt behavior to cultural differences. The two course directors are certified assessors of the Intercultural Development Inventory.
Phase 3: International Weeks
With the foundation set and the development plan defined, the students select and participate in two of the following three International Weeks offered (see pages 14-19):
International Week Vancouver, University of the Fraser Valley, Canada
International Week Bangkok, Mahidol University, Thailand
International Week San Sebastian-Bilbao, University of Deusto, Spain
Each International Week experience will be debriefed in International Leadership Reflection sessions. This enables students to secure their learning and build upon it for their next learning steps.
Phase 4: International Leadership Excellence
At the end of the program, students transfer and apply their learning to the specific international leadership challenges they (will) face. Thus, the goal of this fourth phase is to secure the learning achieved, transfer that learning to the students’ respective contexts, and to present the corresponding results in a professional manner in both written and oral format.