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Global Classroom: Drexel and Leeds freshmen collaborate on 6-Minute Pitch

May 20, 2015

Dana D’Angelo is no stranger to teaching Foundations of Business I, having taught the freshman introduction course for 20 years in LeBow College of Business. Using the Global Classroom program supported by the Office of International Programs, D’Angelo created a way to give first-term honors business students the opportunity to complete a classic Business 101 project – the 6-Minute Pitch – with an international twist.

Global Classrooms are courses that engage Drexel students with students at one of our partner universities abroad through a range of interactive technologies. Global Classrooms allow students to have an international, intercultural experience without ever leaving campus.

D’Angelo’s Honors Foundations of Business class worked with an Introduction to Entrepreneurship class at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom, led by Dr. Emilee Simmons. The project is straightforward: teams of students have four weeks to generate new business ideas, consider their target markets, and estimate start-up costs. A month of work culminates in a competition where students have 6 minutes to pitch their ideas to the judges, who are acting as “investors” for their new products.

In this Global Classroom, each team included both Drexel and Leeds students working together. D’Angelo allowed her students to use class time to Skype with their group members from Leeds. Students were also given time to get to know their international peers, determine strengths, and divide work accordingly. Groups had the added challenge of conceptualizing a product that could be successful in two different countries. D’Angelo and Simmons provided guidance throughout, offering suggestions and asking questions of group members as they generated ideas and planned their pitches.

To George Armentani, one of D’Angelo’s students, this was an example of the many opportunities for experiential learning offered at Drexel. He believes the Global Classroom helped broaden his and his peers’ horizons. He described the class as “unique and beneficial” and knows the international communication skills he learned will serve him well.

Another student in the class, Ankira Patel, said that she was not expecting to have a global experience so soon in her Drexel career. It turned out to be a good surprise, because she believes she gained confidence for future group projects through the experience working with students in another country and culture.

When the time came for presentations, D’Angelo had a panel of alumni and co-op employers acting as judges sitting in the classroom in Philadelphia, and there was another panel sitting in Leeds. Taking full advantage of the advanced technology available in Gerri C. LeBow Hall, all group members participated in the pitch. Groups were judged by their peers, professors, and the panels of visitors at both Drexel and the University of Leeds.

Ankira said that having judges in the UK made her group take the project even more seriously. With judges in another country, she said, her group was motivated to work hard and maintain a high level of professionalism in order to impress groups on both sides of the Atlantic.

Two groups from the Global Classroom were selected to compete in the college-wide pitch competition during the following term.

D’Angelo and Simmons have plans to continue the program for the 2015-2016

 

For information about how to teach your own Global Classroom, visit drexel.edu/oip.