Katz Global Research Practicum

The Katz Global Research Practicum (GRP) is a three-credit course with a study abroad component. The GRP exposes you to international business and current issues affecting the global marketplace. During your time abroad, you will visit companies, engage with executives and Pitt alumni, conduct field research, and experience international culture. 

The program is open to all Katz MBA students, most Specialized Masters students and other Pitt graduate students.


What You'll Accomplish: 

As an engaged and active participant on the program, you will have the opportunity to:

  • Explore business ideas and themes from a new perspective
  • Interact with international companies on current issues relevant to your GRP
  • Build key transferable skills for your future career

Latin America - Argentina is a land of contrasts. Once one of the richest countries in the world, it still ranks third in terms of income per capita on a Purchasing Power Parity basis in South America. The country is also famous for its rich literary and cultural history and a capital city, Buenos Aires, that is known as the “Paris of South America.”

Europe - The largest city in the United Kingdom, London is a major global influence on arts, commerce, finance and tourism and transportation. Though only 13% of the UK population, it is responsible for nearly 23% of GDP. During the 2016 referendum, the Greater London area voted overwhelming to remain in the European Union.

Asia - The political and economic center of Japan, the greater Tokyo area is the most populous metropolitan area in the world with more than 37 million residents. Though not as large as Tokyo, Osaka is a major financial center and home to companies such as Panasonic, Sharp and Sanyo. Finally, Kyoto is considered the cultural capital of Japan, being the home of the imperial court from 794 until 1869. Many of its numerous temples, shrines, palaces and gardens are listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.


Where You'll Live: 

You will be housed in comfortable and centrally located hotels throughout the program. Students are typically housed in rooms with two double-beds and wifi and internet access. Breakfast is included.
Single room upgrades may be available for additional cost.
We do our best to provide the most accurate information about housing and amenities but due to the nature of the locations in which we offer programs and limited availability, these items are subject to change.

Contact your program manager with any questions.

What You'll Study: 

For the Spring 2022 GRP Program, you are able to select from ONE of the below destinations. Course Information can be found through the Global Research Practicum course button below.
1) Latin America - Buenos Aires, ArgentinaDoing Business in an Unstable Macroeconomic Environment
This course focuses on the challenging economic environment that is Argentina. The country has a long history of macro-economic mismanagement, with years of inflation, fiscal and current account deficits, IMF interventions and defaults. (In 2019, the inflation rate was 54%, and in 2020 it was 36%). In fact, the sovereign debt default of 2001 made it impossible for Argentina to borrow in international markets for more than 15 years. Despite this, Argentina has a thriving culture of innovation, a number of fintech companies, and a strong IT sector. How these companies succeed and how one conducts business in such a challenging environment will be the focus of this class.  

  • Top three learning outcomes
    • How companies deal with high inflation
    • Managing a Multinational Company in a country with volatile exchange rates
    • Conducting business in an unstable regulatory environment
  • Career track(s) most appropriate for:​ Finance, Accounting, International Business, Professional MBA students and anyone interested in Latin America

2) Europe - London, EnglandCity of London: Understanding its Post-Brexit Place as a World Financial Hub
This course will examine the continuing business disruption caused by the June 2016 decision by the United Kingdom to leave the European Union. Students will also travel to Washington, DC for the first day of travel for meetings at the GSPIA program's DC Center.

  • Top three learning outcomes
    • Understand the history and culture of the important role that the City of London has held as a world financial hub
    • Understand the events leading up to the Brexit vote as well as the events that have passed since the UK left the EU
    • Research an area of business that has importance and operates in a complex environment impacted by the Brexit
  • Career track(s) most appropriate for: All MBA functional areas, MS Supply Chain and MS Accounting

3) Asia - Tokyo and Osaka, JapanDoing Business in Japan and Asia
This course specifically focuses on the challenges and opportunities of doing business in Japan. Students in this class will gain cultural and business experience and knowledge of Japan and Asia. They will also achieve a working knowledge of business practices through interaction with managers and officials in Asia. Finally, students will understand the value and differences between management styles and economic models (between Western and Eastern societies), and develop benchmarks for doing business with global managers. Through this course, students are better equipped with the competency necessary to engage in business dealing in Asia.

  • Top three learning outcomes:
    • Understand the history, economy, society, culture, and politics of Japan  
    • Become familiar with Japan’s key industries and firms through visiting firms and understanding the current business environment 
    • Recognize how cultural differences and biases impact business decisions. 
  • Career track(s) most appropriate for: Appropriate for MBA and MS students in General Management, Supply Chain Management, IS, Finance, Marketing, Accounting, etc. 

Click the below course tab to learn more about the general course requirements and tentative class meeting times.


Global Research Practicum (27XX)

This course is tied closely to field study abroad, providing a hands-on experience in a foreign culture. Deliverables from the practicum include a team research project and a professional portfolio designed to capture the international experience. The course includes a trip over Spring Break to various businesses in the host country.

Students develop a research question in areas of managerial specialization and draw evidence from the field study to support their project report. While abroad, students visit a number of selected organizations and/or companies, and explore current business practices/issues. 
During the spring semester, the group meets for three, 3-hour class sessions on Friday evenings prior to the trip. Portions of these classes will focus on developing the research project. Selected outside speakers may also join the class to share their experiences and perspectives on business and culture.
Following the trip, the group meets for two additional Friday evening sessions where final projects are presented in both written and oral forms. 
Classes are currently scheduled for the following dates and times:

  • Class 1: January 21, 2022 6:00PM - 9:00PM
  • Class 2: February 4, 2022 6:00 - 9:00PM
  • Class 3: February 25, 2022 6:00PM - 9:00PM
  • Class 4: March 25, 2022 6:00PM - 9:00PM
  • Class 5: April 1, 2022 6:00 - 9:00PM

*Classes subject to slight adjustment. Final class start times will be communicated prior to the start of the semester.


Experiential Learning Description: 

Deliverables from the practicum include a team research project and a professional portfolio designed to capture the international experience.

Students who have not had the opportunity to take the Global Competence Aptitude Assessment (GCAA) will be asked to do so prior to the start of the Spring semester.
Hear from Past Participants

2-Year MBA Student, GRP; Japan


“The University of Pittsburgh Katz Graduate School of Business’s Global Research Practicum (GRP) was an indispensable part of my MBA experience. The real-world applications and the experience-based learning of the GRP was essential in my academic coursework. The trip to Japan strengthened my ability to think globally, and helped me enhance my communications and interpersonal skills, while the research project challenged my ability to solve problems creatively and present detailed arguments and strategies.”


Master of Accounting Student, GRP; Ireland and United Kingdom


“This Global Research Practicum in Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland was unforgettable experience. I was not only able to learn so much more about the topic of Brexit, and all of the economic and political aspects that it has affected, but also on this trip I was able to focus in on working to better myself, and further develop transferrable skills. Specifically, this trip allowed for me to further develop my effective communication skills and my ability to adapt to changing circumstances, and deal with the uncertainty that comes with those changes.”  


Professional MBA Student, GRP; Asia


“Prior to participating in the GRP, as a part-time student, I had not built relationships with my Katz peers. After spending a week in a foreign country with classmates, I feel as though I built lifelong personal and professional relationships. Further, upon returning to work, I was eager to share my experiences from Japan with my co-workers and utilize the transferable skills that I gained abroad in my current workplace. I believe that this program has set me up for a successful future at both Katz and in the workplace.”  


2-Year MBA Student, GRP; Ireland and United Kingdom


“Altogether, the instructors prepared me with the right historical context, the staff provided us with opportunities to meet the right people, and ultimately, I challenged myself to ask questions that were meaningful, enlightening and fundamental to understanding the financial, political, and cultural landscape of Ireland.” 


Your Pitt Study Abroad Contacts: 

Bill McShane

I am the Experience Based Learning Program Manager at the Katz Graduate School of Business. Part of my responsibilities includes expanding and enhancing global programing for graduate business students. Originally from South Central Pennsylvania, I studied abroad in Berlin, Germany during my undergrad in Philadelphia and taught English on a Fulbright grant to Hanover, Germany for a year following graduation. During my time as a grad student at Pitt, I interned in Brussels, Belgium at the US Mission to NATO. After working for four years in international education in Washington, DC, I returned to Pittsburgh am thrilled to be back working on study abroad programming. Outside of the office, you can probably find me somewhere outdoors in the region running, biking, hiking or camping.

Contact me at wmcshane@katz.pitt.edu.


Schedule an appointment

I am reachable via email during normal business hours (M-F, 8:30am - 5:00pm).

Your In-Country Contacts: 

Dr. Josephine Olson

Josephine (Jo) Olson teaches courses in managerial economics and international economics, and she has conducted graduate and undergraduate study tours to Europe and Latin America. She has led previous programs to Argentina, including the GRP and the College of Business Administration’s Global Business Institute. 


She is an associate of the Center for Latin American Studies, the European Union Center, the Center for Russian and East European Studies, the Asian Studies Center, and the Global Studies Center. From 2006 to 2014, she was Director of the International Business Center, and she now serves on its Advisory Board. She previously served as Director of MBA Programs and later as Associate Dean of Katz. Prior to coming to the University of Pittsburgh, she was on the faculty of Bernard M. Baruch College, City University of New York. 


Her first international experience was working for a joint venture in Mexico between her junior and senior year in college. In 1991, she was a Fulbright Fellow at the International Management Center in Budapest, Hungary. She was visiting professor of economics at the Czechoslovak Management Center in 1992. In 1993-94, she was a visiting professor at Nyenrode University in the Netherlands and in 1994-95, she was Academic Dean and Interim CEO of the Czech Management Center. She has also taught short courses in Brazil, the Czech Republic and Ecuador. Jo's research interests include topics in international economics and a study of career paths and income determinants of MBAs. She has done educational consulting in Australia and Peru. She currently serves on the District Export Council of Western Pennsylvania.

Dr. Ahmed Elshahat

Dr. Elshahat joined the faculty of the Katz School in 2018. Previous academic positions include Associate Professor of Finance, Endowed Chair of Banking, and Director of the MBA Programs at the American University in Cairo and Assistant Professor of Finance at Bradley University. Dr. Elshahat is a Harvard Alumni, and he served in the field in different capacities. Most recently he served as a committee member of the Enterprise Risk Management Committee reporting to the BOD of the largest insurance firm in Egypt. He served as a consultant for a number of firms across the globe as well as provide managerial development programs for firms like Caterpillar, Afni, Clinmedex, and the Illinois port authority.


Dr. Elshahat's research is published in multiple international journals including Journal of Economics and Business, and he is serving on the editorial board of a number of international journals, including the Econometrics Review and Austin Journal of Accounting, Audit and Finance, as well as serving as reviewer for journals including Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, the International Journal of Banking & Finance,and the Quarterly Journal of Finance & Accounting. He has taught various accounting and finance courses at the undergraduate, graduate, and executive level. Dr. Elshahat has received a number of awards, including "Most Dedicated Professor" by Beta Alpha Psi.


Prof. Heidi Bartholomew

Heidi Bartholomew joined the faculty of the Katz School in 2010. Previously, Heidi held various executive and financial management positions with large, multi-national corporations. Most recently, Heidi served as the Vice President and Controller for FedEx Ground, a division of Fortune 100 Company FedEx Corporation. During her tenure in financial management, Heidi was responsible for leading corporate functions such as SEC reporting, SOX compliance, merger and acquisition accounting, technical accounting research and corporate consolidations.
Heidi’s primary teaching focus is Advanced Financial Accounting where she draws heavily on relating her own work experiences in industry to students.

Dr. Jennifer Shang

Jennifer Shang was a research fellow at The Advanced Manufacturing Program in The IC2 Institute at Austin, Texas, and was a Lilly Endowment Teaching Fellow. In the MBA program, she teaches Statistics, Production Management and Process Improvement, and Simulation. In addition, she teaches the undergraduate Operations Management and Global Supply Chain Management, and courses at the EMBA, IEMBA, and PhD levels as well. She has also led previous GRPs to China, South Korea, Taiwan and Japan.


Dr. Shang's current research emphasizes three areas: (1) The design, planning, scheduling, and control of operational systems in manufacturing and service organizations. She develops theoretical and heuristic approaches to improve the productivity and quality of business process flows. (2) Design and evaluation of integrated information/operational systems. Given the importance of technology, she emphasizes the innovative use of information technology in the value chain management. (3) Multi-criteria decision making. She uses Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) to measure the relative efficiency of operating units. She also applies Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) and Analytic Network Process methods to make decisions in complicated environments.


Items Billed by Pitt

  Latin America Europe and Asia
Program Price   $2,499 $3,199
Total Billed by Pitt $2,499 $3,199

Estimated Additional Out-of-Pocket Costs

Meals and Personal Expenses $100-$500
Travel to/from PIT to Country Destination Varies


Price above does not include the 3 credit tuition. Students enrolled at the full-time status typically pay a set amount per semester. Professional students are typically charged on a per-credit basis.

Scholarship opportunities available for Katz graduate students through the program application.

Program price billed through spring semester account and is paid through PittPay.

Final pricing information to be communicated to selected students.

What's Included: 

As part of the program fee, the following are included:

  • All academic-related trips and excursions
  • Ground Transportation - including bus and transfers in-country
  • Some meals - breakfasts, welcome and farewell dinners

Please note, programs subject to minimum number of enrolled students to run. 

When You'll Go: 

Travel will occur during the University's Spring Break: March 4 - March 13.

What Else You Need to Know: 
  • October 6 - Applications Open
  • Information Sessions - Watch the session HERE - Download Session slides HERE
    • ​October 6 - 11:00 AM-12:00PM (Day Session)
      • Mervis 209
    • October 7 - 5:15PM-6:00PM (Evening Session)
      • Mervis 115
  • October 25 - Applications Close
  • November 5 -Students notified of selection status
  • November 11 and November 12 - Panther Program Agreement Meetings (Must Attend ONE)
    • November 11 - 5:15 - 6:20 (Evening Session)
      • Mervis 115
    • November 12 - 1:30 - 2:40 (Day Session)
      • Mervis 114
  • Following Panther Program Agreement Meeting signed agreement is due as well as $350 deposit toward program price. This appears as a credit towards your spring semester PittPay balance.

Special registration procedures apply. Selected students will be enrolled in the course by their academic advisor.

Some providers may require proof of vaccination to travel on program. Additional information regarding this will be communicated to accepted students.

Please be advised that Professional MBA students who exceed 9 credits will be charged the full-time MBA tuition rate.