Amid lion dancers and global cuisine, panel discussions and collaboration, the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Business celebrated its 30th anniversary of the international business major with the inaugural International Business Summit. The April 12-13 event in Howard L. Hawks Hall offered students, faculty, alumni and employers the opportunity to connect with others who study or teach international business and professionals already doing business on a global scale.
“I was in the first class of the international business program here 30 years ago, and I’m extremely grateful for my time at Nebraska. I have spent many years working in Japan and built a great appreciation for the differences in cultures and the importance of understanding other cultures when doing business,” said Kirk Zeller, ’93, managing director and co-founder of MedMarket Access, a medical device company, during the celebration.
At the two-day summit, students, employers and school representatives from 11 states were able to network at a meet and greet lunch, discuss study abroad experiences and research projects, while engaging in discussions with experts about top issues in international business and Big Ten education.
The celebration featured awards, cuisine from England, Nigeria and Japan and a performance by the Doan Maria Nu VuongLion Dance Team, a group comprised of Nebraska students and local youth. Faculty, alumni and students spoke to those in attendance about the history and benefits of the international business major and looking forward to the future.
“We are working to take our international business program to greater heights. We want to create exciting and memorable experiences for everyone who engages with us,” said Dr. Kalu Osiri, director of international business and associate professor of practice in management, who revitalized the international business program since he began leading it three years ago.
The international business program continues to grow with initiatives such as the International Business Medallion Program, International Business Distinguished Scholars, and expanded global immersion opportunities. Nebraska Business now offers 20 global immersion options. In 2017, a college record of 297 business majors and minors studied abroad – an increase of 136 percent since 2014. In 2018, the college’s first, and the university’s most popular faculty-led program, Nebraska at Oxford, also celebrates 30 years of sending students to study at the prestigious university in England for four weeks each summer.
During the celebration, Dr. Kathy Farrell, James Jr. and Susan Stuart Endowed Dean of the College of Business, announced the naming of the Allan Noddle International Business Distinguished Scholars program in honor of the Nebraska Business alumnus, retired CEO and philanthropist who serves on the college’s International Business Advisory Board. Now living in Omaha, Noddle said he chose to give back to the College of Business programs because it is where he started, and he wants to help students travel to gain a broader perspective of the world through international and cultural experiences.
“It’s thrilling for me to see these students at that young age get that kind of international experience. I wish I could’ve had that chance early on in my career,” he said.
Additionally, Dean Farrell inducted two College of Business faculty members as International Business Fellows. Dr. D’vee Buss, assistant dean of undergraduate programs, and Dr. Uche Jarrett, assistant professor of practice in economics, joined the select group of faculty leaders who advance global business education efforts at Nebraska.
At the summit’s panel discussion “Globalization: The Good, Bad and Ugly,” local and international business leaders fielded questions about the advantages and challenges globalization creates. Business leaders told students in attendance that even if they work for a small Nebraska company, they will encounter people of other cultures, likely will need to export their products to other countries or negotiate with others who may work under different regulations or laws.
Tips the panelists offered for students to succeed in a global economy included planning face-to-face meetings, socializing over meals to build trust and understanding across cultures, travel often and develop cultural intelligence. They encouraged students to differentiate themselves from other students or companies, by adding skills or expanding services or product lines. Panelist Jim Sanduski, ’83, president of Sharp Home Electronics, told students to take advantages of opportunities for personal growth.
“Seize experiences outside of your comfort zone. Try something different and see where it takes you,” he said.
This advice was echoed by many at the summit and demonstrated a shared priority among students and professionals in international business. To learn more about the international business program, visit http://business.unl.edu/ib