Global Field Experiences (GFEs)

Darden Global Leadership Exploration in Tanzania

What are Darden Global Field Experiences?

Global Field Experiences (GFEs) are MBA electives that give small teams of students the opportunity to provide consulting services to an international company or organization while working closely with a Darden faculty member. At the beginning or end of each course, you will visit the company on location to build on-the-ground knowledge and to scope the issue at hand. GFEs are managed by the Darden Center for Global Initiatives (DCGI).

Why should you consider doing a Global Field Experience?

Participating in a GFE will help you build your leadership and business skills in a truly global setting. You will work with clients from a different country and culture, navigate the nature of virtual work teams across borders and boundaries, and ultimately gain hands-on experience in the practical nature of global business.

GFEs also give you access to working with a Darden professor in a small group setting and allow you to put into practice what you learn in the Darden classroom.

Examples of Darden Global Field Experiences

While GFEs will change from year to year, below is a list of examples of previous and current GFE opportunities:

World Bicycle Relief (Zambia)

World Bicycle Relief (WBR) alleviates poverty by providing local citizens with bicycles that enable children to go to school, parents to access health care for their families and entrepreneurs to bring products to market.

What students seek to address

The number of individuals who can benefit from the bicycles WBR offers is outstripping the organization’s capacity, as it often participates in large-scale disaster-recovery efforts. Students must address:

  • How can the organization solve complex business challenges related to its technical and supply chain capabilities?
  • How can it increase available capital in order to serve more people?

Read about one recent student's experience on this GFE in our Global Voices blog.

Darden World Bicycle Relief Global Field Experience in Zambia

INASante (Tunisia)

INASante is a newly-founded social enterprise, aiming to be the first healthcare services accreditation agency in Tunisia, with the ultimate intention of serving a wider African market.

What students seek to address

  • What type of business model is needed for this organization to generate the first quality management process in the country’s healthcare industry?
  • How can it promote the adoption of, and adherence to, standards that ensure effective and equitable treatment access for Tunisians?

Working jointly with fellow MBA students at the Mediterranean School of Business, the team creates financial models for the enterprise, conducts market research and develops systems for measuring impact.

Learn more about this Global Field Experience by reading the following article: "U.Va. Darden School MBA Project Creates New Social Venture in Tunisia."

Freeset Global (India)

Freeset Global in Kolkata, India manufactures custom bags, shirts and other garments. By providing jobs for the women it employs, Freeset addresses the growing problem of human trafficking — freeing the women from forced participation in the sex trade and providing a better life for them and their children.

What students seek to address

Students generate a detailed analysis of the current Freeset business strategy, customer base and marketing strategy, and they envision a large-scale growth strategy that will provide an increasing number of women the economic alternative to indentured servitude. This includes identifying product diversification/positioning opportunities, new distribution partners and a communications plan.

Video: Freeset - A Darden Global Field Experience

Annie Hilton, co-founder of Freeset Global, and Chirag "CJ" Jain, Darden Class of 2014, discuss the mission of Freeset Global in Calcutta, India, its relationship with Darden, and how both have benefited from working together to grow the business globally.

Rotary Club of Calapan City and Baruyan (Philippines)

Rotary Clubs bring together business and professional leaders to serve and build their communities around the world.

What students seek to address

Working with community leaders in a rural Philippine village, students address:

  • What would characterize an innovative and sustainable economic development plan for the area?
  • How can natural resources be protected and cultural traditions honored while addressing high unemployment and poverty?

PRONicaragua and the National Chamber of Leather Footwear (Nicaragua)

PRONicaragua — a non-profit, public-private institution whose mission is to generate economic growth and job creation in Nicaragua by attracting high-quality foreign direct investment — requested a team of students to work with the National Chamber of Leather Footwear and related goods with a focus on drafting an export strategy plan to break into the U.S. market.

Alzheimer’s Family Assistance and Branchless Banking (Tunisia)

In Tunisia Darden students teamed up with peers from the Mediterranean School of Business to develop business plans that will bring support to families facing Alzheimer’s disease and branchless banking to Tunisians for the first time.

Global Sustainability in Practice (Philippines)

Low-income economies face deep challenges of poverty and unemployment that require them to employ innovative approaches and instruments to achieve sustainable growth without further stressing and degrading natural resources. The goal of this GFE is to apply business and sustainability principles and holistic and participatory approaches to solve persistent economic and environmental problems in a rural village in the Philippines.

The World Bank (Tanzania)

The World Bank requested a team of students to work with the Bank on a project to promote growth and economic development through access to practical information technology training and education for area residents.

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