LEXINGTON, Ky. — The World Trade Center Kentucky (WTC-KY) and University of Louisville College of Business collaborated this spring to create an online MBA level course in global commerce and trade for 169 students. COVID-19 created a situation where students were not able to travel internationally and subsequently students were moved over into the WTC-KY online course.
The World Trade Center Kentucky worked closely with the Delphi Studio at University of Louisville to create an online course that included discussion boards, research exercises and collaborate webinars to enrich the learning experience for students. Global Learning MBA Students watched a series of short, 5-minute videos, accompanied by research exercises and discussion forums to explore the topics. Students were then asked to comment on each other’s research to get them talking with one another.
With the global pandemic taking hold in March and disrupting international supply chains, WTC-KY developed a final discussion board researching the topic of supply chain disruptions amidst COVID-19.
Parashar Joshi, vice president for international supply chain at Valvoline, was invited to a collaborate with students for a live chat about disruptions. Parashar said “we need to be ready for the new normal … change is impactful, inevitable, and it is going to require a different way of doing everything. Those (companies) that can change, run and lead with that change are the ones that are going to be successful … including their people.”
Students were asked to comment on supply chain disruptions from either an ocean or air freight perspective. One student learned during his research of a concept called supply chain parallel interaction, “where the supply chain from one seemingly unrelated industry disrupts the supply chain of another. In this case, demand for face masks became so high that the supply of consumer-grade face masks completely dried up, and instead, consumers began buying industrial strength face masks. This spike in industrial grade face masks caused the supply chain for industrial grade PPE to be completely disrupted, making it more difficult for medical personnel, etc., to find the gear they need.”
The program, co-led by Director of Training Ian Mooers, with WTC-KY, and Dr. Robert Nixon with University of Louisville, introduced students to global markets, the essentials of export transactions, global market research and entering a foreign market, international business culture, product modification and harmonized tariff codes.
“This has been a difficult time for students this year,” Mooers said. “We wanted to teach them about international trade, include the effects that COVID-19 is having on the industry, but then give them lots of opportunities to research, reflect, and interact with one another online.”
“The class was an invaluable experience for those students who were not able to travel internationally this year, and exposed them to international trade,” said Dr. Robert Nixon.