Considering advanced business education? You might want to have a passport ready. Manufacturing and outsourcing in Asia is just one example of how globalization has changed how we do business at home, says Dr. Susan Sadlier, director of international programs for the University of Cincinnati. “Students realize that they must have knowledge of these markets if they are to succeed in today’s world,” she says.
Tristate colleges and universities are helping prepare students for success in this globalized business world and other changing markets with a variety of classes and schedules, and business students are increasingly taking opportunities to travel abroad.

Education for a global marketplace
The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), a not-for-profit association of leading business schools with members worldwide, discussed industry trends at its 2007 conference. The effects of globalization on teaching and delivery at business graduate schools were predicted to be significant; short class trips will necessarily become longer, and international educational partnerships and alliances will continue to increase.
“Student interest in international business is more marked – we have a greater demand for our international business courses than a few years ago, and it is probably due to increased student awareness of global trends and their impact on business,” Sadlier says.
Cynthia Stockwell, executive director of undergraduate programs and services at Xavier University’s Williams College of Business, said as recently as five years ago students only studied international business if it was part of a declared focus. That’s not the case today.
“There’s no way you can avoid the global impact that’s going on, so now students are regularly taking international finance if they’re a finance major, international marketing as a marketing major,” she says. “We’re always encouraging our students to get a global perspective.” Many students also choose to minor in international business. “It’s the norm and not the exception anymore,” she says.
Stockwell said that while the college of business offers an undergraduate summer study abroad program in Maastricht in the Netherlands, business students also can take advantage of the many study abroad programs developed by other academic departments that take students everywhere from Nicaragua to Costa Rica or Spain. With proper planning for studying abroad, Stockwell says, “your imagination is the only thing that stands in your way.”
UC offers study abroad programs of varying lengths around the world as well as co-op programs for business students in Japan, Germany, Chile and China.
Studying abroad is also an option for MBA students. All participants in Miami University’s full-time MBA program, which was initiated in May 2005 after a redesign, spend the last five weeks of their studies completing a project with a partner company abroad. The first year the students all worked in Europe, and this year for the first time half of them worked in China. Director of MBA Programs Brad Bays says the global nature of business is a critical theme in Miami’s program. “We’re in such a global marketplace, and having worked overseas, it’s one thing to take a class in international business, but the experience of living and working in an international culture is dramatically different,” says Bays, who worked at P&G for 24 years.
Most Xavier MBA students work full-time, Stockwell says, so in order to give them a study abroad experience Xavier offers 10-day intensive programs in several locations in Asia and Europe. The programs have existed for at least 10 years, but are gaining popularity because of expanding locations in places like India and China. “Our traditional MBA students are looking more and more for study abroad opportunities that have a flexible schedule,” she says.
UC also offers shorter programs for MBA students across Europe as well as in Chile, Thailand and China, and India will be available in 2008.
However, having an international focus is more than sending students abroad. NKU opened its comprehensive center for international business in the fall of 2005 to help its students compete globally in a changing business world, but also to become a regional resource for international business. The center is focused on research and community outreach as well as teaching and offers its students exchange programs in places like Denmark and Spain.
Expanding international business has also inspired new educational approaches. Wright State’s new MBA programs are designed with input from industry and the private sector, both in the region and globally, says Berkwood Farmer, Dean of Wright State University’s Raj Soin College of Business. Wright State’s master’s programs in logistics and supply chain management are entering their fourth year and were created with feedback from corporate advisory boards. “Globalization and international trade have spurred interest in supply chain management,” Farmer says.

Other growing business fields
Whether the focus is international or domestic, universities are becoming more creative in their approach to business education. Companies are becoming the students as universities offer business consulting geared toward specific company needs (see page 57 for more information on how educational institutions are broadening into customized non-degree career advancement programs).
With new program offerings, advanced business knowledge doesn’t have to mean investing the time and money for a full MBA. Northern Kentucky University is offering six new graduate certificate programs that provide concentrated knowledge in areas like entrepreneurship or finance. The certificate, which requires 12 credit hours, is ideal for those who have an MBA and want a second area of specialization or are already in a career and need knowledge of a different field, says Greg Farfsing, director of Northern Kentucky University’s MBA program. For example, an attorney who specializes in finance for business might find it useful. “Graduate certificates are becoming popular because they offer specialized knowledge.”
Other fields are also gaining popularity in the wake of changing markets. Xavier’s Stockwell says there has been a strong trend in recent years toward accounting and finance. Xavier places 100 percent of its undergraduate accountancy majors in jobs, she says, and the field is still “very lucrative.” Will McIntosh, dean of UC’s College of Business, also cites a trend toward accounting careers since Sarbanes-Oxley, particularly in the master’s program. “This program provides more content for already well-equipped BBAs as the demands of the workplace in this arena become increasingly more complex,” he says.
Another popular area in both undergraduate and graduate programs at Xavier is enterprise management, an area of information technology that studies how all the functions in a business are integrated. “Enterprise management is a skill that students are finding very very valuable across majors,” Stockwell says.
Also, data warehousing, brand management and customer service have become more popular as business becomes more service-oriented, she says.
Marketing remains UC’s most popular major, and its business minor is a popular option for many students across disciplines.
“The Information Systems offerings, both undergrad and grad, have rebounded in the recent past,” McIntosh says. “After the .com bust of the late ‘90s and early ‘00s, we saw a significant dip in interest in those programs. With the resurgence of the tech sector in recent years … we are now seeing an increase in programs.”
Wright State University is launching a new Master’s in Information Systems this fall.
NKU is also offering unique new courses in arbitration and mediation for business as part of its new alternate dispute resolution center.