College of Business - Real Life. Real Business.

Real Life. Real Business.

Feb. 7, 2009

Chuck WilliamsDear Alumni and Friends,

Even though I'm a native of Indianapolis, I spent the last 22 winters in Oklahoma, Texas and California where the average high in January is between 55 and 60. So, while this year's Indianapolis winter wasn't a complete surprise, several days of double-digit subzero weather and a 12-inch snowstorm have required a bit of an adjustment. Let's just say it's been a long time since I thought, "Tomorrow would be a good day to wear a turtleneck to the office." But, as experienced snowbirds know, nothing takes the chill out of winter better than a trip south. So the first week in January I joined 12 MBA students and Professor Roberto Curci in Valparaiso, Chile, where it's now summer - after all, why take chances?
I mention this trip to Chile because it represents the start of what we hope will be a significant expansion of our continuing efforts to internationalize our students and faculty. I want to start this month's letter, however, by describing what we already do to prepare our students for this global world of business. Then I'll describe our new activities and finish by explaining how we intend to make the international aspects of business a central part of our Real Life, Real Business mission here at Butler's College of Business.

International Business Education: What We Already Do

With courses in Comparative Economic Systems, International Economics, International Financial Management, International Marketing, International Management, and International Business Environments, a major in international management and more, we have long offered our students many on-campus choices for studying international business.

Because living and studying abroad is one of the best ways to internationalize students' education, we've greatly expanded the variety of options for off-campus international learning over the last five years by forming exchange relationships with partner business schools around the world:

When combined with Butler's general study abroad options in Africa, the Americas and the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific Region, Australia and New Zealand, Europe, the UK and Ireland, our students have well over 100 programs from which to choose when deciding where to study abroad. Thanks to these options and the strong support and encouragement of our faculty, the CBA has the highest percentage of students across Butler's five colleges who study abroad.

So while 25 to 30 percent of our undergraduates take advantage of these opportunities, you'll see below that we have specific plans to substantially raise those percentages for both graduate and undergraduate students.

New International Trips for MBAs and Study Abroad Opportunities for CBA Undergraduates

In August, I asked Kathy Gjerde, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Programs, and Bill O'Donnell, our MBA Director, whether we had a series of regularly offered international trips for our MBA students. The answer was "No, but we'll fix that." Within weeks, Professor Curci had contacted our exchange partner at Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Valparaiso in Valparaiso, Chile, arranged the details of the trip, marketed it to our evening MBA students, and signed up 12 students.  Professor Curci will also be taking 15 students to Beijing and Tianjin, China, in May, and then teaching a new International Finance course, Applied International Business, in fall 2009, in which his MBA students will help U.S. companies determine what opportunities they have for doing business with Brazilian companies and consumers. But what will differentiate this course from others is that in the middle of the semester, Professor Curci and his MBA students will travel to Brazil to gather data and meet with Brazilian companies and government officials. Our long-term goal is to offer three international trips each year for our MBA students, all led by CBA faculty.

For our undergraduates, we have a new summer study abroad course called Leadership London. While I've taught this course for 12 consecutive summers at other universities, this will be the first time that it's been offered to Butler undergraduates. Leadership London is a three week course, taught in July, which relies on site-based instruction. That means that we'll use London's resources, institutions and history to explore the cultural, international, historical and ethical issues relevant to leadership. Every afternoon, after our morning class session, we'll visit a site in London related to our class discussion. For example, when we discuss the leadership qualities of Queen Elizabeth, we'll spend the afternoon visiting the Tower of London. When we discuss Gandhi, we'll visit a Hindi Temple. When we discuss Churchill, we'll visit the Cabinet War Rooms from which he guided England during World War II.

Like our MBA programs, the goal is to offer three international trips each summer for our undergraduates. So, over the next few years, we hope to offer summer study abroad courses for undergraduates, led by CBA faculty, in Asia and the Americas, too.

Making International Business Education a Strategic Part of our Real Life, Real Business Mission

As you can see, there's much that we already do to provide a superb international business education for our students. However, there's more that we can do. So I have asked Professor Roberto Curci to work with Associate Deans Kathy Gjerde and Bill Templeton, and Professors Sakthi Mahenthiran and Greg Osland to develop a strategic plan to more fully integrate international business into our graduate and undergraduate curriculums. 

Get Involved with Internationalizing Real Life, Real Business

As you can see, the CBA provides many opportunities for our students and faculty to learn about, study abroad, and research issues related to international business. Our plans, however, will benefit from your help. If you have experience or connections in international business and would like to help, please email me directly. 

Chuck Williams, Dean
College of Business

P.S. If you're interested in finding ways to get involved with the College of Business, please download the document, How to Partner and Get Involved, and review the 20 options available to individuals and their organizations. Specific contact information is available for each option.