History of International and Internationally Focused Programs

Stanford GSB’s student-facing Global Experiences were once managed by the Center for Global Business and the Economy. This portfolio of programs includes:

  • Global Study Trips for MBA and MSx students.
  • The Global Management Immersion Experience which links MBA students with intensive summer projects around the world.
  • The Stanford Tsinghua Exchange Program, a joint academic exchange program between Stanford GSB MBA students and peers from the Tsinghua School of Economics and Management in Beijing, China.

As a requirement for earning their degree, all MBA students are required to fulfill the Global Experience Requirement by participating in a Global Experience. All of these programs provide students first-hand experience in a part of the world where they have neither lived nor worked previously.

Center for Global Business and the Economy

Founded in 2004, the CGBE leverages the diversity of Stanford GSB community and partners with faculty to deliver academic and immersive experiences to educate leaders who change the world. Its initiatives and partnerships support the GSB’s mission and enhance the GSB’s reputation globally.

The CGBE encourages partnerships between the school and international organizations, and supports rigorous and relevant research, teaching, and course development resources. It provides a focus for investigating the inherent complexity of international business: running operations across dispersed geographies in a variety of cultures simultaneously, and under different legal, economic, and political institutions.

Global Management Program

Established in 1994, the GMP offered academic and immersive learning opportunities for students who wished to develop the capacities and mindsets needed to be effective in a global environment.

The program offered a certificate in global management in addition to the MBA degree for students who completed a specific number of courses with a global focus.

Student International Experience

Stanford GSB students have been making formal Global Study Trips to other countries since 1987. Each study trip involves on-campus speakers and programming that take place in advance of the trip to provide more context on the country and its business culture. All study trips include at least one faculty advisor who provides academic insight throughout the experience.

These student-led study trips complement the classroom experience by offering students the opportunity to interact with global leaders from around the world. Students develop a perspective on the business, political, and social climates within the countries visited, as well as an understanding of the opportunities and challenges facing businesses in that region.

In addition, since 1997, students having been participating in four-week summer projects at international organizations as part of the Global Management Immersion Experience program.

Global Focus in Earlier Decades

By the early 1960s Stanford Graduate School of Business had evolved into an internationally respected business school with a greater focus on global issues. Some major events that led to this transition include the establishment of Escuela en Administracion de Negocios, the International Center for the Advancement of Management Education, and other international programs.


In 1962 the U.S. State Department invited Stanford GSB to send faculty to Peru to study its needs and facilities for management education. This project, directed by Gail M. Oxley, led to the establishment of ESAN. The program was the product of a three-way agreement involving the government of Peru, which paid the costs of Peruvian staff and faculty; the U.S. Agency for International Development which paid the cost of U.S. faculty, library staff, and of ESAN graduates doing advanced study in the U.S.; and Stanford which studied the feasibility of starting the school and provided initial organization and study. ESAN created a Stanford-operated graduate school of business, located in Lima, Peru, the first graduate school of business in Peru and the first operating exclusively at the graduate level in South America. Stanford professor Alan B. Coleman was the first dean of ESAN.

The school was dedicated on March 30, 1963 and classes began in Lima in the spring of 1964. For the first seven years Peruvian faculty gradually replaced American professors until the school was completely run by a full-time Peruvian faculty. In 1970, Dr. Tulio de Andrea was named the first Peruvian dean of ESAN. By 1972 the last full-time American professor had left the school.

At the first ESAN graduation, Carlos Martijena, a student, discussed what he called “the spirit of ESAN,” which has four aspects: “The first is a thoughtful determination to solve problems, which you have brought into focus. Second, a clear mind with which to view the problems objectively. Third, a good balance between experience and study, between practice and theory. And finally, honest and determined drive toward economic development. All of these contribute to making us free men.


The ICAME was established at Stanford GSB in 1960 under a $3,500,000 grant from the Ford Foundation to offer a flexible program of advanced training for faculty members from business schools in emerging countries and to make available resources to meet the varying needs of the schools. The program as it was originally established provided nine-month fellowships to foreign professors of business with emphasis on a different functional area each year. Its first course of study began June 1963. ICAME was the first school-within-a-school in the world where the students were faculty at foreign institutions.

ESAN is Dedicated

(This article appeared in Stanford Business magazine in 1964.)

South America’s first school of business teaching exclusively at the graduate level was dedicated in Lima, Peru, in evening ceremonies March 30.

Escuela de Administracion de Negocios para Graduados is an Alliance for Progress project operated by the Stanford Graduate School of Business with financial support provided by the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Peruvian government.

Representing Stanford at the opening ceremonies were Morris Doyle, president of the Stanford Board of Trustees, Dean Ernest C. Arbuckle of the Graduate School of Business, and ESAN Dean Alan B. Coleman.

ESAN is serving as a graduate school for five cooperating Peruvian universities. Its initial faculty, drawn primarily from Stanford, will be rotated and gradually phased out, placing the school in the hands of a full-time Peruvian faculty in 1969 or 1970. An opening class of 50 students, selected from more than 200 applicants, began regular course work in April within a curriculum patterned after Stanford GSB.

Dean Arbuckle was a featured speaker at the dedication ceremonies. He addressed his audience in the Spanish language.

“It has been my experience,” he said, “that business schools operating without the interest, support, and participation of the business community can be at best only 50 per cent effective in the development of managerial talent and in improving managerial practice through research. The genuine interest in the school already shown by the Peruvian business community augurs well for the future.

“It has now become recognized that in a very real sense the wealth of a nation and its potential for economic, social, and political growth stem from the ability to develop and effectively to utilize the capacities of its people. Progress is basically the result of human effort, and human resource development is a more realistic and reliable measure of modernization and development than any other.

“By human resource development I mean the process of increasing the skills and the capacities of all the people in a society. In economic terms, it can be described as the accumulation of human capital and its effective investment in the development of the economy. Human resources are developed in many ways, but the most obvious and basic is by education.”

He pointed out that a recent study in which countries in different stages of development were analyzed showed a very high correlation between economic development and the levels of educational attainment achieved. In short, the higher the grade levels completed by the most people, the more advanced the country. He emphasized that the school is dedicated to the further development and education of men who have, or aspire to have, management responsibility in business enterprise.

“The future of private enterprise in any country,” he said, “is dependent on the quality of its leadership. It is the objective of ESAN, in cooperation with the other universities in Peru, to further enlarge the reservoir of trained managerial talent from which may be drawn this leadership, which will be required in the years ahead.”

Dean Arbuckle concluded his remarks by observing that Stanford expects to gain much from its Peruvian operation.

“We also anticipate with pleasure the values to Stanford that will accrue from the association,” he said. “To study in depth, and to learn more about your culture, your economy, and your society is an opportunity we embrace eagerly and one which will enrich and improve the teaching in our own country in the years ahead. It is only with such knowledge and understanding that we can strengthen the bonds between our two countries and make progress toward the goals of a free society.”

While in Lima, Dean Arbuckle met with some 30 Stanford alumni including two graduates of Stanford GSB, George Parker, MBA ‘62, and William Wraith, MBA ’59.