In the last two years, the College of Business (COB) has taken deliberate steps to internationalize its curriculum, facilitate faculty exchanges with universities abroad, and encourage extracurricular student experiences. The curriculum at all levels is systematically being examined to incorporate international components into different courses as well as add new courses focused on international dimensions of business. These changes not only reflect the changing nature of business but also position COB grads with the essential international skills needed to thrive in the future.
The COB hosted several faculty members from different countries last year. Furthermore, COB faculty members have spent time abroad teaching, conducting research, and visiting and learning about other countries and cultures. Real excitement, however, has been in the development of extracurricular activities for students to enhance their understanding of other economic-political systems and cultures.
In the last 12 months, the COB hosted the American Business Experience (ABE) program in which 10 international students spent one of those months exploring current business topics with our faculty and visiting local businesses to learn cutting edge techniques first hand.
Other parts of the ABE included:
For 2012-13, the ABE continues. It began May 21 with 11 students from India and and one from Croatia (four are MBA students). The students, who are pursuing either undergraduate business degrees or MBAs in their home country, will spend four weeks in the ABE program on the SAU campus. The MBA students will stay on for another two weeks to complete a business project.
The ABE program, which is in its third year, is proving to be a valuable option for business students abroad to come to the U.S. to learn about American business, participate in the campus culture, and build friendships that last a lifetime. The program involves morning classes led by COB faculty followed by visits to local area businesses, large and small. In the first two years of ABE experience, students visited John Deere, Alcoa, Kone, First Midwest Bank, Oystar Technologies, Royal Neighbors of America, Silver Oaks Communications, Happy Joe's Pizza, QC Times, and more. The students have also spent their weekends on recreational activities like boating, hiking, volunteering at 'Race for the Cure,' movies and even a trip to Chicago Six Flags.
The international students are paired with St. Ambrose students–called ABE Buddies–who live on campus and spend time in class and, more importantly, outside of class with international students helping them around campus and the city. For the past two years, our partner institution, St. Francis College in Hyderabad, India, supplied students for the program. The feedback from the students suggests that they learn and grow in these four weeks, and it's helping them better understand business and America.
As an individual in both the trenches and on the frontline of the internationalization of the COB, I always felt the desire among fellow faculty members to impart the knowledge and skills needed by our grads in the globalizing world. Structural changes and resource support by the COB and the university have given wings to the aspirations of the faculty with visible results.
–Arun Pilutla, PhD
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