Introduction The OSU CIBER has greatly benefited from, as well as helped to shape considerable and significant change within the Max M. Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University. Complementary goals between the national CIBER mandate and the Fisher College – from the Dean, to the faculty, and through its students – have assisted the CIBER as it has taken a prominent place within the college and the university.
Since beginning a concentrated effort toward the wholesale globalization of its programs (coinciding with initial CIBER funding in 1995), tremendous progress has been made. Active exchange partners for undergraduates or MBAs now number 11, up from only two five years ago. Importantly, none of these partners are “paper ones”; exchange has gone one or both ways in all cases within the past year. Prior to fall 2002, several additional partners will likely be added to better accommodate rapidly expanding undergraduate demand.
At least five new MBA or undergraduate courses have resulted specifically from CIBER support, and all continue to enjoy full classes of students. Several new courses or the revision of others are planned for the next two to three years as part of CIBER’s effort to globalize three new college programs: the Executive MBA; the business minor; and a general business major targeted to students at OSU’s four regional campuses. A revitalization of the College’s undergraduate IB major is also in store.
The CIBER and International Programs Office are grateful for the continued support of the Dean’s Office and of key donors to the college. Financial resources support from the college contributes to the partial or full salaries of four full time administrative staff in the International Programs Office. The Ford Motor Company has provided significant financial support directed specifically to international research. The Alcoa Foundation has for the past several years provided funds to support international courses with content requiring tele-video, tele-conference, or other distance and virtual technologies. Private individuals continue to give resources for courses like the Emerging Markets Field Study. A major gift from Mr. Leslie H. Wexner, Chairman and CEO of The Limited, Inc., provided a vehicle to begin the Fisher Council on Global Trade & Technology. The Council provides international programming synergistic to the CIBER, and the CIBER’s active agenda provided impetus for that gift. All these grants and gifts are administered through the International Programs Office.
Great plans and resulting accomplishments would not be possible for the CIBER without the solid infrastructure provided to it by the college’s Dean (Dr. Joseph A. Alutto), its faculty, the Ohio State University administration as a whole. Each of these continues to provide evidence that OSU and the Fisher College are places where high quality research and teaching in international areas are fostered and appreciated.
In turn, the business community has responded strongly to what they consider a dynamic global turnaround for the Fisher College of Business. Completing the six-building Fisher College complex, the Blackwell hotel will open in June 2002, providing high quality, on-site access to visitors from throughout the country and the world as they participate in various CIBER, college, and OSU activities, including executive education.
When the OSU CIBER was established in 1995, its focus was on the world’s fastest growing economic development zones, or “Big Emerging Markets”. A majority of CIBER programs were directly or indirectly focused on these markets, and many programs continue to reflect this interest. Examples of this include the MBA Emerging Markets Field Study course (EMFS), which has taken students to 15 different countries since its inception. The course accepts two sections of students annually, each traveling to different countries and cities to undertake site visits and case study. In 1998, the EMFS experience was transferred to the undergraduate level, and that course is now one of the most popular for those students. Traveling each year to the Mexico City area, the undergraduate EMFS is offered each autumn, with the field study occurring at the end of fall quarter (beginning of December). Finally, students in the College’s new Executive MBA Program now participate in a required international course and field study experience at the end of their first year of work, and the design of this experience is similar in many ways to that of the EMFS.
Another “Big Emerging Markets” related program fostered by the College and CIBER is its membership in the MBA Enterprise Corps, a national organization providing one-year global consulting assignments to recent graduates. OSU and the Fisher College became members of the Enterprise Corps in 2000, joining 50 other top MBA programs nationwide.
Also included in this vein of expertise is the college’s partnership with the U.S. Peace Corps. In a unique offering, MBA students may enter the college as part of a “masters international” program, after being accepted by both the Fisher College and the Peace Corps. These students first complete the core year of the MBA, then a two-year volunteer assignment in the Peace Corps, returning home to Columbus for the second year of the MBA. In four years, students gain both a graduate degree and an intensive, two-year international leadership experience.
In 1998, when the CIBER was renewed for a second time, attention and focus was spread from the emerging markets focus to one directed particularly at the globalization of small and medium sized business enterprises. In Ohio and the larger Ohio Valley region, hundreds of vital small and medium sized businesses contribute daily to the economy. Our interest has been focused on how these organizations internationalize their operations. Small and medium sized businesses have found that lower exporting and operations costs are often found in emerging markets, and that they are able to be immediately competitive when expanding there. Several OSU CIBER programs over the past few years have capitalized on the relationship between smaller business and emerging markets.
For example, the TARGET program has continued to grow. This program, which pairs large, internationally experienced companies (mentors) with those just ‘learning the ropes’ has been a staple offering of the CIBER since 1996. The TARGET class of 2001 includes 12 smaller companies, seven or eight mentor companies, and several experts from the international service sector (like the Export Assistance Center). Plans for the coming CIBER funding cycle call for the replication of TARGET in other Ohio communities, in order to spread the popular program throughout the state. Regional colleges throughout Ohio will serve as satellites for the CIBER to build the TARGET program.
Small and medium sized businesses have been welcomed into Fisher College of Business classrooms with open arms. They participate actively in the honors undergraduate Export/Import Management class, and serve as research examples in an MBA seminar called, “the Globalization of the Small and Medium Sized Organization”, taught by Professor Oded Shenkar.
A New Vision During the coming four-years, the OSU CIBER proposes to deepen and strengthen its focus areas. Believing that CIBERs can and should change significantly over time, and seeking to further understand how businesses throughout Ohio and the country can maintain international competitiveness, we will focus during the next several years on global acquisitions and alliances. Previous focus areas will not be abandoned, but rather programs that meet all foci encouraged.
Initiatives like the EMFS courses, those using technology to connect virtually with businesses and schools of business world-wide, the Peace Corps and Enterprise Corps partnerships, etc. all help small and medium sized businesses deal with fast growing markets and the overall global economy. In the coming years, we plan many curricular initiatives related to the deeper issues faced by companies as they acquire other firms or develop international alliances. We are enthusiastic about plans to work cooperatively with OSU’s Moritz College of Law on a series of teaching and research projects.
Outreach to the business community has long been a strength and a hallmark of the OSU CIBER. This will continue into the future, as we continue to design initiatives to meet executive needs. Seminars and conferences (like the Africa Growth and Business Opportunities Forum of 2000), collaborations with executive education (such as CIBER contributions to the Executive MBA program), training opportunities (foreign language or world regional tutorials), and programs with students (internships, classroom activities) are all ways the CIBER will seek to stay relevant in the business community.
The selection of international acquisitions and alliances as a theme for the CIBER proposal is aided as well by a deep interest in this area from the Fisher College faculty. The college’s international business resources have grown demonstrably in the past several years. The CIBER’s role in this cannot be discounted, as faculty interested in global teaching and research are attracted in part by its existence. Building an international faculty is a result of many interrelated factors, and the CIBER is joined in large part by the support of the Dean Joseph Alutto, and by the global interests of OSU President Brit Kirwan. The supportive environment at OSU has helped the Fisher College attract ten faculty with considerable international experience; three of them chaired or full professors. Particularly fine expertise in acquisitions and alliances is located ‘in house’ in the departments of finance, management and human resources, marketing, and logistics, and individuals from each of these departments are slated to lead or participate in a variety of new CIBER initiatives.