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IMC Global Perspectives course in Asia changes how students see global marketing

Students gain unique access to see how top companies lead the way in technology-driven marketplace

Medill IMC students pose for a photo at the Forbidden City in Beijing
IMC students and faculty visit the Forbidden City in Beijing in between company visits

Leaving home can mean a world of new insights, especially if the destination is 6,000 miles away. That’s what 35 Medill Integrated Marketing Communications master’s students discovered last month during their IMC course in Asia, where they experienced some of the most advanced markets in the world.

In just two weeks, the class met with 12 companies and their leading marketing communications professionals—gaining unique access due to Medill’s industry connections. They were introduced to new technologies in data and artificial intelligence in Beijing, and talked in-depth with consultants in Shanghai about their work in China. They rounded out their visit in Tokyo, learning about Google’s business in the region from Medill alumnus Norio Imai (IMC05).

Hannah Toutounchi (IMC18) said the course and trip had a profound affect on how she will engage in global marketing in the future.

“The Global Perspectives Asia course was a unique opportunity for us to see firsthand how China and Japan's societal and institutional landscapes have impacted businesses and their innovations,” Toutounchi said. “The trip completely transformed how I understand eCommerce and marketing technology innovations in the global playing field.”

In addition to the technical knowledge the class gained, they came away with a much deeper understanding of how culture affects marketing strategy. Different customs can mean changing how they present themselves as well as how they present a brand.

Cate Jensen (IMC18) said she was grateful for the chance to explore what she is learning at Medill in a context outside of the United States.

“I don't think someone can fully understand a culture's inner workings until they experience it for themselves,” Jensen said. “The U.S. has a lot to learn from China and Japan when it comes to business, culture, technology and life. It has changed my worldview for the better.”

Jenna Massey (IMC06), director of the IMC Online program, accompanied the class on the trip. She said she was most impressed with the empathy her students gained during their time there.

“We’re all working in a very global, international environment,” Massey said. “Working to become a part of another culture provided our students a context for the next time someone from a different culture comes to their team. I found it inspiring.”

Students in the class—who are from the Full-Time, Part-Time and Online IMC programs—will spend the rest of the quarter using their hands-on research to complete a strategic analysis on one of the companies they visited, putting that empathy and new cultural knowledge into practice.

The Asia program is one of several global and domestic courses offered in IMC, including courses in London, Chile, Paris and San Francisco. Visit each program to learn more: IMC Full-Time, IMC Part-Time and IMC Online.