Our 35-year-old international business program remains remarkably agile as we continue to impart this innovative mindset to today’s students. When the world changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we not only moved to remote teaching, but our events pivoted virtually as well.
Our first Virtual Global Case Competition attracted 21 distinguished business professionals as judges and 67 students who competed in 18 teams. The competition – designed to empower future global leaders to face the challenges of today’s business world – allowed students to showcase the rigors of the IB major and global leadership minor.
Below are some highlights from IB initiatives:
We recently launched the Global Corporate Partners program to create a pipeline of talented and career-ready students. Business leaders in the private sector help prepare our students for work in globally-oriented companies. Both this program and our IB Connect mentoring program are evidence of our unrelenting efforts to continue to generate support for our students amidst these challenging times.
Our alumni and friends have been instrumental to the success of our IB program as we prepare students to lead the future of business worldwide. If you are interested in learning more about any of these programs, please contact Mikki Sandin or me.
Dr. Kalu Osiri
Director, International Business Program and Associate Professor of Practice in Management
I have always had a passion for international business and am honored to be the new chair of the International Business Advisory Board at the College of Business. I am grateful to Dr. Kalu Osiri and DeMoine Adams, ’01 and ’06, our NU Foundation development officer, for allowing me to further the cause of helping students be successful in their international careers. I would also like to thank Sylvester Orsi, ’86, for his service as the past chair and welcome the addition of Christie Stukenholtz, ’08, as the new vice chair of our board.
As we work toward the goals of expanding the program and bringing more businesses in to offer internships and opportunities, we are also constantly looking for new ways to broaden our horizons. We have recently created a new LinkedIn group for students and alumni to work together.
The board and I will do everything in our power to ensure the success of our university and its students now and into the future.
Best regards and Go Big Red!
Scott Kroeker, '90
Founder and Managing Director, QoR Global
Chair of the International Business Advisory Board
Cindy Valladares: International Student
Marianella Baez Jost: Sustainable Coffee
Thomas Wolfe: International Internship
Quincey Bernard: Global Impact
Maggie Schlecht: Academic Excellence
Christie Stukenholtz: Alumni Giving
Cindy Valladares, senior finance major from San Pedro Sula, Honduras, rarely passed up an opportunity. Her involvement enriched the experiences of many others, as well as her own, leading up to her graduation in December.
With an internship canceled the summer before her final semester, Valladares volunteered to take part in the college's first Career Accelerator Program. As part of a collaboration between the Business Career Center and the Clifton Strengths Institute, the six-week summer program allowed students to gain valuable experience through project-based work.
“The most important benefit of the Career Accelerator Program is the fact that you're working on your professional growth. Instead of being discouraged about not having an internship, especially when the pandemic started, you could either work on your weaknesses or learn a new skill. I thought, ‘Okay, I won't have a summer internship, but I still need to grow professionally,’” she said.
Though exotic locations play a role in capturing the imagination of international business students, the true value in a Business Abroad program happens through experiential projects designed to enlighten students on global industries. Last winter, 10 International Business Distinguished Scholar students traveled to Costa Rica to immerse themselves in the coffee industry with the support and mentorship of alumni.
“Having students experience one of the largest industries in the world gave them a tangible understanding of the difference between ‘commodity coffee’ and ‘specialty coffee’,” said Marianella Baez Jost, ’94, who established a coffee farm in the mountains of Naranjo, Costa Rica, with her husband Jonathan Jost, ’90, ’94. “Most people don’t realize coffee is a commodity, and for decades farmers have been forced to sell at prices that cannot sustain their livelihood, creating a poverty cycle driving many to abandon coffee farming. My husband and I set out to establish direct trade with roasters who care about the well-being of farmers and are willing to pay fair prices.”
As a lifelong Kansas City Royals fan, Thomas Wolfe realized a dream come true interning for the major league team. Although he misses playing baseball, he found a way to fuse his love of the sport into an internship where he bridged the cultural gap between the U.S. and players in the Royals' Dominican Republic Academy.
“For a lot of people baseball ends in high school, or if you're lucky enough, in college. Athletically, I'm not playing for the Huskers or going to be making the major leagues, so this internship is a way to keep baseball as a part of my life,” said Wolfe, a junior international business major from Leawood, Kansas.
Not immune to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Wolfe’s internship shifted from what it was originally intended to be.
As an international business student at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Quincey Bernard spent his time jetting across the world for study abroad trips and honing his entrepreneurship skills. He did it all for one reason — to one day return to his hometown of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, and give back to the country he loves by revitalizing and transforming Haiti’s economy.
“I want to do things for people back home. That’s the long-term plan,” Bernard said.
Bernard was inspired to study entrepreneurship by his parents. From humble beginnings, they went on to found their own successful company in Haiti 18 years ago.
Maggie Schlecht faced major doubts about her ability to succeed during her early years at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Business. Through mentorship in her International Business Program, she attained the courage to not only excel in the Nebraska Business Honors Academy, but to also graduate and begin a career in the global financial services industry.
“I went in as an actuarial science major because I loved economics and calculus in high school. I thought it was a good fit,” said Schlecht, who came to Nebraska from Elmhurst, Illinois.
After taking her first actuarial science course, the global-minded Schlecht decided to switch her major to international business. Though she always loved the idea of traveling abroad, the change in programs brought a sense of uncertainty.
"At the College of Business, the International Business Program provides many ways for students, alumni and business professionals to interact. One of the most impactful engagements is the IB Connect mentorship program.
This program introduces international business majors to professionals from all walks of life and from all around the world. These professionals, like myself, become mentors. We share our personal experiences and provide skillful guidance for our student mentees."
- Christie Stukenholtz, ’08 President and Co-Founder, Senior Care Finder
Support the academic, professional and administrative activities of the International Business Program.
International Business Excellence Fund
IB Connect matches international business majors at Nebraska with a select group of professionals from all walks of life and around the world who are willing to share their experiences and provide a successful example of working internationally.
We invite you to become an IB Connect mentor to impact a student on their academic and career path!
Apply To Be A Mentor
Our international business majors have the support of our advisory board, a group of global-minded professionals who help shape our curriculum, and our faculty fellows,
who accompany students on global immersion trips and have practical experience teaching students from a world viewpoint.