Louise Claassen is an executive fellow at Henley Business School Africa. With a background in English literature and programming, as well as an MBA from Edinburgh University, Claassen’s focus is on design. She’s been in the business education space for over 20 years, researching and conceptualising different immersions that have been incorporated into international programmes. “Immersions help people understand their target market in a broader way. It creates leadership conversations that are more empathetic,” says Claassen.
She adds that programmes with an international immersion component – in other words, when students travel overseas – are expensive and limited in both number and time. “I always wonder how much people truly retain of that experience. The experience itself can be transformational in a number of different ways, but for me, there was always this opportunity to democratise this particular experience,” says Claassen. And this is where her research into virtual reality (VR) and the opportunity it could offer as a tool within business education came about.