New program seeks to raise FSB students' Cultural Intelligence

Beyond Ready CQ logo

The world is becoming increasingly diverse and complex, and the Farmer School of Business is committed to developing students who are beyond ready for the business environment that awaits them in the workplace, marketplace, and society. The newly-created BEYOND READY CQ program is designed to provide students with a unified strategy and skill set for how to relate and work across cultural differences at home and abroad.

CQ refers to cultural intelligence, the capability to relate and work effectively in culturally-diverse situations. Cultural diversity includes diversity in terms of nationality or cultural values, but it also relates to diversity based on subcultures, such as profession, age, gender identity, sexual identity, and religion.

“It's important to identify the recurring capabilities of people who can successfully and respectfully accomplish their objectives, whatever the cultural context. Awareness is the first step, but it’s not enough,” Faculty Director of Diversity and Inclusion and Professor of Marketing Gillian Oakenfull explained.  “A culturally-intelligent individual is not only aware, but can also effectively work and relate with people and projects across different cultural contexts.”

Cultural intelligence can be divided into four CQ capabilities: motivation (CQ Drive), cognition (CQ Knowledge), meta-cognition (CQ Strategy) and behavior (CQ Action). The four capabilities stem from the intelligence-based approach to intercultural adjustment and performance:

  • CQ Drive: The level of interest, persistence, and confidence during multi-cultural interactions
  • CQ Knowledge: The understanding of how cultures are similar and different
  • CQ Action: The ability to adapt when relating and working in multi-cultural contexts
  • CQ Strategy: The awareness and ability to plan for multi-cultural interactions

As part of the program, students entering the Farmer School will take a CQ Pro online self-assessment, administered by the Cultural Intelligence Center, to set a baseline for their growth, Oakenfull said. Each student will receive a full assessment report that details their score on each of the four key dimensions and related sub-dimensions. They will also see how they compare (low, moderate, high) to worldwide norms. Students will re-assessed in their final semester to capture the development of their CQ skills while at Miami.

Students will receive rigorous coursework throughout their first year within the Farmer School of Business to provide a strong foundation for their CQ development. In BUS 106, each student will create a plan for the development of their CQ during their studies at Miami University. This will require them to familiarize themselves with everything the university has to offer to stretch out of their comfort zone and into their learning zone and provide them with opportunities to experience difference.

Within the First-Year Integrated Core (FYIC), BUS 101 offers a full module on diversity and inclusion where they will learn about cognitive diversity and whole-brain thinking and apply the work of Google's Project Aristotle on team effectiveness and the Center for Business Leadership’s Farmer Team Initiative to effectively work across difference within teams.

To gain cultural intelligence across global diversity, FSB students may choose from a variety of faculty-led study abroad and internship programs in locations around the world during summer and winter terms within FSB Global Studies. FSB students may also elect to take the FSB’s Global Readiness Certificate through Miami University’s Global Initiatives program to build their Cultural Intelligence. The certificate allows students to take specific courses within their Miami plan and participate in various other activities. Finally, for students who are looking for a more in-depth global experience, the Farmer School offers the Business in a Global Market Certificate. As students move through the certificate curriculum, they will engage in language practice, cultural engagement, an overseas experience, and business coursework, all related to their selected concentration of Africa and the Middle East, Asia and Oceania, Central and South America, or Europe.

“The marketing and business leaders of today and tomorrow must necessarily have as a fundamental aptitude an understanding of the cultural diversity that defines consumers’ and colleagues’ priorities around the world,” Forbes community director Jenny Rooney explained. “Culturally intelligent leaders must guide culturally intelligent teams to drive not just brand but business growth. This curriculum will help the leaders of tomorrow and the most effective marketers collaborate in a diverse global business environment.”

“This program is perfectly designed to teach the new skills needed to be successful in the complex business world, and it represents the new way to teach and learn the necessary skills to be a great business leader. It’s good for the students as well as for all the business executives who are already working out there,” PDC Brands CEO Alex Tosolini said. “The program is so rich and relevant that it should be at the core of every business class.”