Forging global relationships

Today, developing future business leaders requires international relationships that help integrate knowledge of the global economy and diverse business cultures and an awareness of the interconnection of businesses throughout the world.

Providing global engagement for Business Broncos is part of the strategic mission for the College. This summer, Dr. Kay Palan, Dean of the Haworth College of Business, and Dr. Mike Tarn, Chair of the Department of Business Information Systems traveled to Asia to forge such relationships with nine universities.

Below, they share their thoughts on the trip, the prospects for formal relationships and the benefits for WMU, the College and, most importantly, business students.

What was the goal of the trip?

Our primary goal was to strengthen established relationships with some universities through formal agreements and to initiate new partnerships with other universities.

The purpose of these relationships is to further the globalization mission of the College by making it easier for international students to study business here at our college, creating more opportunities for our students to study abroad and forging cross-cultural research opportunities for our faculty.

.Was the trip a success?

It was a very successful trip.

We signed four memorandums of understanding (MOUs) and two undergraduate study agreements that will lead to increased international students studying business here. There is much more to be done, however. We are committed to working together with our international partners to formalize more programs that benefit both universities. The Dean’s Office and our Global Business Center will continue to work on these efforts.

.What did you learn about the universities you visited?

While we knew something about each of the universities before the trip, being there in person and spending time with the faculty and leaders gave us additional knowledge that can’t be acquired from a distance. Our hosts went above and beyond what we would expect—it demonstrated to us how important developing these relationships is to them.

Experiencing how they conduct business – including hosting their guests – gave us insight into how our students will be treated and helped. This provided confidence for us that we can share with our students. We also know the communities and can share our knowledge of these cultures with WMU students. And, we know that our students will benefit from the experience.

Quite a few of the schools we visited are highly ranked. The Inner Mongolia University of Finance and Economics is an emerging university in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia – the fastest growing area in China. Sichuan University and Wuhan University are top 10 universities in China. Southwestern University of Finance and Economics is the top university in business in west China.  Dong-A University is a well-known private university in Busan, South Korea.  National Chung Cheng University is a strong research university in southern Taiwan, whose College of Management is working toward AACSB accreditation.

How will these new relationships benefit WMU students?

More visible and official relationships with international universities benefit our WMU students in two concrete ways. First, for our students who desire to study abroad, we have firsthand knowledge of the kinds of courses and resources available that are important in guiding our students to find the best fit for a study abroad experience. Some of the schools we visited offer special summer camps designed for an intense immersion experience; other schools offer semester or year-long programs taught in English. We have an increasing number of international students who might find these opportunities very appealing.

Second, many of the schools  want to develop relationships that provide their students a dual-degree or 2+2 opportunity to study abroad. In these programs, the students typically complete the first two years of study at their home university, then come to WMU to complete their degree. Having more international students in our college helps expose our primarily American student population to peers from different cultures, which in turn helps to stimulate dialogue on global business issues.

What were the highlights of the trip?

Certainly, one of the highlights was exposure to several distinct Asian cultures: we visited three major provinces in China (Inner Mongolia, Sichuan and Hubei), South Korea, Taiwan and Singapore. We had the opportunity to visit outstanding universities and develop new friendships with colleagues. The hospitality everywhere we went was incredible. Our hosts tended to our every need and made us feel extremely welcome.

Also, the many opportunities we were given to experience local cultures were a highlight. Our hosts arranged tours for us to experience historical sites, cities, museums, traditional foods, etc.

What is next?

We will continue to develop programs and agreements with several of the schools, and we will begin to implement the agreements that were signed. Some of the individuals we met plan to visit here soon. We are excited to be moving forward with these global relationships.

Want to see the trip? Check out our photos and like us on Facebook.

Palan and Tarn visited multiple universities in Asia, including:

Inner Mongolia University of Finance and Economics (IMUFE)
Sichuan University (SCU)
Southwestern University of Finance and Economics (SWUFE)
Wuhan University (WU)
Jianghan University (JHW)
Hubei University of Science and Technology (HBUST)
Dong-A University (DAU)
National Chung Cheng University (CCU)
Center for American Education (CAE)

Editor: Cindy Wagner
Haworth College of Business
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Western Michigan University
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