Study Abroad Develops Cultural Intelligence for International Business Effectiveness, Special Relevance for PELL Students


  • Juan Rivera-Mata UMGC



cultural intelligence, study abroad, gender, international business


The global economy and COVID created an interdependency where managers work in multiple countries, requiring cultural awareness. Cultural Intelligent (CQ) is a recent concept described as predictor of cultural adaptation. We studied 188 international business university students in terms of gender, language, major, financial need, and study abroad. We found no statistically significant gender differences in CQ, but we found differences in having a second language, level of studies, and study abroad experience. We also found PELL students develop more CQ than the rest of the students while studying abroad. This study helps to understand the key elements to develop CQ among international students to be effective in the present global business world and to promote the participation of PELL students in study abroad experiences.

Abstract in Spanish
La economía global y COVID crearon una interdependencia en la que los gerentes trabajan en varios países, lo que requiere conciencia cultural. La Inteligencia Cultural (CQ) es un concepto reciente descrito como predictor de adaptación cultural. Estudiamos a 188 estudiantes universitarios de negocios internacionales en términos de género, idioma, especialización, necesidades financieras y estudios en el extranjero. No encontramos diferencias de género estadísticamente significativas en CQ, pero encontramos diferencias en tener un segundo idioma, nivel de estudios y experiencia de estudios en el extranjero. También encontramos que los estudiantes PELL desarrollan más CQ que el resto de los estudiantes mientras estudian en el extranjero. Este estudio ayuda a comprender los elementos clave para desarrollar CQ entre los estudiantes internacionales para ser efectivos en el mundo empresarial global actual y promover la participación de los estudiantes PELL en experiencias de estudio en el extranjero.


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Author Biography

Juan Rivera-Mata, UMGC

Juan Rivera-Mata has a Business and Law Degree (ICADE-UNED Madrid), an International MBA (Alliant University, San Diego) and Ph.D. (UPO-Sevilla). He worked in Global Management in over 20 countries. Since 2000, he has worked and taught in the fields of leadership, strategy, and global business at Georgetown University, Northeastern University, and University of Maryland (UMGC). He specialized in leadership and sustainability at Harvard University and is a Board Member of SAVE Pharmaceuticals. His interests are women leadership, Hispanic Heritage, and global inequality.


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How to Cite

Rivera-Mata, J. (2022). Study Abroad Develops Cultural Intelligence for International Business Effectiveness, Special Relevance for PELL Students. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 34(4), 144–171.



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