Students from a large list of university programs can now take courses where group projects are done across time zones, across countries, across cultures with diverse teams:

For students at the Yale School of Management and other Global Network for Advanced Management member schools, Global Virtual Teams (GVT), a course developed six years ago to challenge and prepare future leaders to collaborate effectively across different time zones, took on even more relevance this past year as the COVID-19 pandemic led to near-universal lockdowns.

Source: Students Hone Cross-Border Collaboration in Global Virtual Teams Course | The Global Network for Advanced Management

I completed my MS in software engineering in 2012. For one of my courses, my lab partner was in Jamaica and a grad student at the University of Jamaica. Working with him was a pleasure and I learned a number of things from him.

I also took a grad course in artificial intelligence that was run out of the National University of Ireland. Only 2 students were from the U.S., the rest primarily from Ireland.

When I did my M.B.A. degree, we did not have these options but we did have many international students in the U.S. program where I learned much about nations such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Thailand and China.

When I worked for Microsoft, one of my duties was to manage the internationalization or “localization” of some software components. The work was done by Microsoft Ireland and I was on the phone many mornings to catch my counterpart in the late afternoon in Ireland, before she headed home for the day. Heh – I also carpooled with a young woman from France who had attended grad school in the U.S. and then went to work for Microsoft.

The linked story emphasizes that when diverse teams work together, from multiple locations, getting to know them on a personal level – not just on a working level – “was critical to the success of our virtual team”. They note this is easier in a physical, real world setting but they figured out ways to address this via online interaction. I think that is spot on – some of our best work environments have been where we had opportunities to know our co-workers beyond the day to day office work.

By EdwardM