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September 11, 2014

CBA plans international push

world map

The College of Business Administration (CBA) aims to give all of its students an international educational experience within the next five years, and the school’s new Global Business Institute “is the anchor of our program,” says Bryan Schultz, the college’s first director of international programs.

Explains Audrey J. Murrell, who became associate dean of CBA a year ago: “I wanted to push the envelope on preparing undergraduate business students. And to me that means they have some sort of international experience.”

The Global Business Institute will host Pitt classes in five cities worldwide, each with its own special business emphasis: Buenos Aires (global management); Florence (human resources); London (finance and accounting); Shanghai (supply chain management), and Sydney (marketing and business information systems).

The new institute will “create a wide portfolio of options for students,” Schultz says, with each location offering seven-10 Pitt business classes per term during fall, spring and/or summer, as well as internship opportunities, to sophomores, juniors and seniors. Students will be able to take classes taught by Pitt and local instructors in English or in the host country’s language.

“We’re going to try to pair the academic offerings within the classes with internships and academic opportunities outside the class,” says Murrell, focusing on Florence as a global hospitality business hub, for instance, or London as a world financial capital.

While attending the institute, CBA students will be able to earn 12 academic credits in three classes and an additional three credits for their internship. Each institute’s classes will lead to the CBA’s certificate program in international business, which “allows them to complement the depth they get in the major,” says Murrell. And it dovetails with the school’s relatively new motto: “From the classroom, to the city, to the world.”

CAPA International Education, with whom the University recently renewed its 25-year partnership, will recruit faculty for the institute’s five overseas locations, provide student housing and set up internships for Pitt students. Although eventually there will be about 500 CBA students in institute classes each year, CAPA also will offer class spots to students in other business schools, since there are not enough Pitt students to fill every class offered across all semesters and run a cost-effective program, Schultz says.

Because each student’s financial aid for Pitt tuition and rooming costs can be used overseas, the additional price for the program will be the plane ticket and the increased cost of living in certain cities, such as London. Students will stay in two- to four-person suites or apartments managed by CAPA in each institute city, or can opt for home stays, as in traditional foreign exchanges.

Murrell realizes that price may prohibit some students from taking advantage of the institute. The school is offering $150,000 in scholarships for the program and seeking alumni donations. To facilitate student participation, the school also will be working with the Study Abroad office, with which Schultz divides his CBA appointment.

Murrell  says the school even will be suggesting to students’ parents that they forgo the gift of the latest tech gadget for the holidays and contribute money toward sending their child to one of the five institute locations.

The program officially launched on Sept. 5 with a symposium on the future of global service learning, a faculty development workshop presenting new tools for measuring the idea of “global competence” in students and a student information fair, at which the school raffled off $15,000 worth of study-abroad scholarships.

Three of the locations offered pilot classes this past spring but the regular programs will begin on a varied schedule. Florence will start classes next spring, for instance, while Sydney’s first classes are scheduled for next summer.

“Global experience has to make academic sense,” says Murrell, “and fit with the professional development of the students. And that’s what the Global Business Institute will allow us to do.”

—Marty Levine

Filed under: Feature,Volume 47 Issue 2