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The 8,000 Mile Commute: UNI BUSINESS FACULTY GO GLOBAL

With UNI Business’ overseas MBA program, UNI’s faculty from the Iowa campus are immersed in a completely different culture and placed at the forefront of the global economy, where they often learn as much as they teach.

Over the last 10 years more than 40 faculty members have taken advantage of the opportunity to teach in Hong Kong and have brought their experiences back to the U.S. And while they get to spend two weeks in one of the most fascinating cities in the world, they put in a lot of work before, during and after their trip.

The same, but different
The UNI MBA program in Cedar Falls, Iowa, and Hong Kong are identical and designed for working professionals. But the preparation and the delivery differ as much as the locations. In Hong Kong, faculty members teach on-site during intense two-week sessions that include weekends and use eLearning methods prior to and following the on-site classes. In comparison, Cedar Falls classes are typically held once a week over the course of an 11-week trimester.

The courses are the same, but in Hong Kong faculty members often find they have to explain common U.S. concepts, such as plagiarism, remind students to speak in English and stay flexible with their examples and case studies.

As one of the first instructors in Hong Kong, associate professor of management Atul Mitra used examples and case studies that related to Hong Kong or China. He had a plethora to choose from given the area’s vibrant economy and business culture. “I read about local happenings in the economy and used those examples to make the concepts relevant and put the lessons in context,” he said.

Steve Corbin, interim head of the Department of Marketing and associate professor, also does his homework to localize the students’ course work. 2011 marked his fifth trip to teach in Hong Kong, and through the years he has developed relationships with alumni who he’s brought back to the classroom. After a major CEO spoke to the class, Corbin subsequently assigned a real-world final project: a marketing development plan for that firm to be evaluated both by Corbin and the CEO. “It made the course real for many students, and the outcomes were commendable,” he said. “It caused students to better appreciate the applicability of the material to real-life situations. It was a value-added experience for all parties involved.”

The above content is taken from UNIBusiness: Celebrating 10 Years in HK, The Alumni Magazine of the College of Business Administration University of Northern Iowa 2011-2012

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