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As business schools globalize, the KU School of Business pioneers international study

Friday, July 1, 2011

Business schools are globalizing at a furious pace, according to a recent article in The Economist. The June 9 story indicates an overall increase in global study at the world’s best business schools. More schools are building relationships with foreign partners, introducing “global experience requirements” and recruiting international students.

At the University of Kansas School of Business, international opportunities have been a cornerstone of business education since the early 1980s.

“The School recognized the increasing global economy and began making international opportunities a priority early on,” Institute for International Business director Carol Rose said. “We developed resources abroad and started sending faculty overseas to implement international business into our curriculum.”

The UNESCO Institute of Statistics calculates that in 2007 almost a quarter of students who studied abroad studied business—far more than any other subject. About 35 percent of KU business undergraduates and 50 percent of graduates study abroad during their time at the School of Business.

The School’s global efforts are coordinated and supported by the Institute for International Business (IIB), which provides students and faculty with grants, scholarships and partnerships with foreign business institutions.

This year, the IIB awarded $140,000 in scholarships for 87 undergraduate and graduate business students participating in study abroad programs in countries including Australia, China, Costa Rica, England, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy and Spain.

The IIB also organized short-term study abroad programs for business students in China, Costa Rica, France and India. Two new programs in Costa Rica and India involve growing partner relationships with universities in those countries.

The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business counts over 13,000 schools that offer business degrees in the world. China and India have 2,700 between them, almost all of them founded since 1990.

“The School began partnering with Chinese institutions in 2002,” said Tailan Chi, international business professor and IIB board member. “We saw more opportunities for growth, allowing the School to concentrate on relationships with emerging economies. Students also gain new insight about international business from these non-Western schools.”

The School has exchange agreements with two universities in China, one in France and one in Germany. These partnerships allow students from both the School and partnering institutions to develop a global business perspective. The School is also developing a new agreement with a university in the Czech Republic.

International partnerships continue to grow as the IIB builds upon KU’s longstanding agreement with Costa Rica. This summer, two visiting business professors from the University of Costa Rica will begin teach at the School. In the fall, the School will welcome a young instructor from Costa Rica into the MBA program.

“The university has a rich tradition of international strengths,” Rose said. “Many languages are taught here and, since business students spend two years taking liberal arts classes, they already have an increased international exposure.”

For more information on study abroad opportunities through the School of Business, visit the IIB’s website or contact IIB director Carol Rose (crose@ku.edu). Go to the School’s Flickr page for photos of business students abroad.

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