Cultural Competencies for Tomorrow’s Business Leaders

Cultural Competencies for Tomorrow’s Business Leaders

With award-winning “First Impressions”, NC State University is teaching engineering students conflict resolution skills in a cross-cultural business situation.

VR provides a safe and engaging environment for students to build management skills such as conflict resolution skills. 

In "First Impressions" a VR experience created at NC State University, engineering students enrolled in the Management Course learned to respond appropriately and effectively to a cross-cultural incident in a business situation. 


Less than 25% of all students get a chance to study abroad during their time at the university because of financial constraints or lack of motivation. However, global competencies are sought after when hiring engineering students.

Develop a new superpower: read minds across cultural boundaries.

The award-winning "First Impressions" module allows participants to dive into the minds of a fictionnal global partners and engage in learning about culture on both a cognitive and emotional level. 

This 10-minute module includes 2 main sequence:

  1. Tensions begin to develop as new international team members meet for the first time in China.
  2. Participants select a character and experience the rest of the meeting from his point-of-view -- hearing his thoughts and reactions to the discussions.
The use of VR and specifically 360° video - aka ‘cinematic VR’ allows students to observe a given situation, then step into the role of one of the individuals involved. The resulting experience gives students a sense of presence and being (visually and audibly) that differs from traditional media forms." Mike Cuales, Head of Media Innovation at NCSU


  • Identify how culture impacts our perception of conflict by reviewing and understanding a model of cultural dimensions.
  • Discuss how culture shapes our reaction to conflict by observing a scenario in VR.
  • Discuss how culture shapes our approach to conflict management by experiencing the cognitive processes of a character in the VR scenario


  • Serious Play Bronze Awards, which recognize excellence in games designed for use in K-12 or higher education settings.
  • Campus Tech Impact Award Using VR to help students understand cultural differences.

About NC State

A leading public research university located in Raleigh, North Carolina - USA, NCSU focuses on career-ready graduates, groundbreaking research and problem-solving partnerships.

NC State University
February 2, 2024

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