X-Culture opens eyes to global job possibilities – and a lot more

January 31, 2024 |

Eight students from Indiana University East learned valuable lessons – and prevailed over a variety of virtual obstacles – while successfully completing the X-Culture Global Collaboration Project.

They joined teams of international students that were tasked with developing a solution to a real-life business challenge. The solutions could include such things as developing unique business or marketing plans.

IU East senior Tyree Hyman of Middletown, Ohio, was glad he took part in a project last. “This experience will allow me to be able to adjust and collaborate … in order to achieve a unified goal more easily in the future, either in my job field or just for a friendly project.”

Each team made weekly progress updates and the final reports were evaluated by independent experts.

The positives of X-Culture included more than just completing a project. The students made friends, learned new ways to manage time and gained favorable insights into the possibilities of working overseas in their careers.

“I am envisioning my future in a good direction after this project,” said Eva Caballero, a senior from Barcelona, Spain. “I think I learned how to manage my time better and how to deal with other people (who are) far away from each other.”

She knows well about time management and working as a teammate to accomplish a goal: Caballero plays Red Wolves’ women’s tennis and was a key factor in IU East winning a conference title in 2022.

The students from IU East collaborated virtually as part of the International Business Environment class taught by Arkadiusz Mironko, assistant professor for Management and Entrepreneurship.

He brought the collaborative experience to IU East in 2017.

Each year, X-Culture connects about 6,000 students from 150 universities in 40 countries and six continents.

Students are randomly chosen for cohorts of five to eight. The projects ordinarily requires about two months to complete.

The X-Culture website notes that businesses gain unique insights and strong pools of trained candidates for international employment. “We identify the best, based on objective performance data that no job interview or resume can ever provide.”

The website notes some of the past projects:
– offering ideas for Mercedes-Benz to design a truck for developing countries;
– helping Home Depot improve online service;
– helping Louis Vuitton choose store sites and develop store designs that appeal the most to customers;
– helping Hard Rock International make their restaurants, casinos and hotels more appealing to young people.

The X-Culture experience helped Caballero solidify her plans of returning to Spain and working with an international business after she graduates this May. She will receive a degree in Business Administration and a minor in Sports Management and Marketing.

Camryn Brewer of Brookville, Indiana, enjoyed the experience, too. “It really opened up my interest in traveling to different countries and learning more about other cultures,” said Brewer, who is a senior majoring in Business Administration and minoring in finance. She plans to work in finance after she graduates.

He is majoring in Business Administration and minoring in two subjects – Marketing and Sports Marketing Management. He plans to work in marketing after he graduates. Many of X-Culture’s

Simply put, each participant had to overcome struggles such as differences in time zones, languages, skill levels and efforts.

Caballero added her X-Culture work to an already bustling schedule that included tennis practices, travel and tournaments that were taking place at much the same time as the project.

The IU East students earned certificates for finishing the project that required at least four face-to-face virtual team visits and many hours of research and writing. The ceremony on Nov. 15 was led by Denise Smith, dean of the School of Business and Economics.

Mironko said the experience could lead to overseas jobs for IU East graduates.

“Students’ perceptions of working abroad are changing,” he said. “(They are) more open to working for multinational corporations, where opportunities to travel and do business abroad are more frequent. I think the X-Culture experience gives participating students confidence in interacting with people from different cultures.”

Brewer came away with positive thoughts about looking overseas for jobs.

“Yes, I would highly consider working for a multinational company or even internationally. I think it would be a great experience.”

The IU East students made many friends during the experience. “It was neat learning about their different cultures,” Brewer said about her cohort members who were from Australia, Africa, India and South America. “I connected with a couple group members, Ella and Phenyo. It was really fun getting to know them.”

Hyman said his online interactions went well, and got along best with a team member from Colombia.

Brewer said time zones played havoc with making online connections. One of her cohorts had a 12-hour difference from the time in Indiana. “We would have to sacrifice staying up late and waking up early,” she said.

Caballero’s international cohorts were from Brazil, Colombia, Ghana and India.

“I feel the hardest thing to overcome was that we were very busy during the week and weekends,” she said. “In my case, I had a lot of tournaments those weeks.” She recommends the class for other students. “I believe that it is an amazing opportunity even though it is completely in a virtual way,” she said. “X-Culture gives you a chance to meet people around the world, and sometimes even meet new friends.”

X-Culture participants were given certificates at an award event on Nov. 15. Attending were (from left) assistant professor Arkadiusz Mironko, Luke Shaheen, Alyssa Zdobinski, Dean Denise Smith, Camryn Brewer, Eva Caballero and Tyree Hyman.
X-Culture participants were given certificates at an award event on Nov. 15. Attending were (from left) assistant professor Arkadiusz Mironko, Luke Shaheen, Alyssa Zdobinski, Dean Denise Smith, Camryn Brewer, Eva Caballero and Tyree Hyman.