Business course involves Morocco, Slovakia

October 25 2006

Indiana State University continues to strengthen its international ties by offering a global entrepreneurship course that has brought together students from ISU, Morocco, and Slovakia.

"By having classes where we bring students from different countries together it allows us to be able to work collaboratively to help promote the business environments of our individual countries," said Ron Green, dean of ISU's College of Business.

Ten Indiana State undergraduate students joined eight Slovakian students who took part in the two-part program this year. The course took place on ISU's campus and at Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia. All of the Slovakian students were graduate students who work in the enterprise development center at Comenius.

It was a continuation of a program ISU initiated two years ago to allow the creation of business development centers in universities ISU has connections with in Slovakia and Morocco.

"These types of courses are designed to not only promote the internationalization and globalization of our business programs, but to also promote economic development," Green said.

The objective was to continue the development of relationships overseas and to create a larger interaction with Comenius, Slovakia's leading university, than in previous years.

The two-week class was under the instruction of Arthur Sherwood, management professor at Indiana State. During the first week, students constructed business plans and Sherwood taught about entrepreneurship in the U.S. The second week consisted of taking the plans the students created and implementing them. This gave the Slovakian students a chance to advise the ISU students on the best ways to enter the European Union with their proposed business plans.

"The Slovak students were really helpful with explaining their culture and customs for our international business plan to open a gallery in Slovakia," said Danielle Thompson, senior insurance and risk management and business administration major at Indiana State. "They were able to provide insight on our plan that would not have been available, by reading a book or researching on the internet."

Milos Mrva, a Ph.D. student and project team leader at the Consultant and Development Center at Comenius, came to the U.S. to learn how Indiana State and its Small Business Development Center help entrepreneurs learn the skills needed to succeed in business.

"We wanted to talk in more detail about some issues and problems we have in our center, learn more how you are solving such problems and how to make things better in our center," Mrva said.

Several students remarked how it would be difficult for them to learn the amount of information they learned in the course in just one year inside a classroom reading text books and listening to lectures. The environment made the biggest difference in the education process, taught to the students from both countries.

The culture changes for both students were very uplifting. While ISU students had to get used to no air conditioning in several places, they had the chance to see first hand how the European Union conducts business. The Slovakians also enjoyed several aspects of America.

"The USA is a great place. I really appreciate that I was chosen for this program and could see how the American students can be educated," said Comenius student Jana Stuidikova.

With the success of this year's program, Sherwood is pressing on by not only emphasizing the international experience, but economic development to build a global network of business development centers and incubators that is unique to each university.

"It's clearly in line with some of the cutting edge things our university wants to be doing in the areas of education and in the areas of international business," Sherwood said.

Several of the international students enjoyed their experience with the course and visiting the United States.

"We now have an idea about the college of business and how they recruit and select the clients," said Fatema Doutale, a student at Hassan II University-Mohammedia, in Morocco.

In Morocco, there is a crisis with small businesses because they seem to die out within three years, Doutale said, perhaps because of a lack of education.

"There is no coaching, no advisement, so if we can do something to help as students and future professors, we can help our economy," Doutale said.

Plans for next year have already begun, with Morocco as a possible location for next year's course, combined with a business conference including students from Indiana State, Slovakia, and Morocco.

Contact: Dr. Arthur Sherwood, assistant professor, management, (812) 237-2094 or asherwood@indstate.edu

Writer: Brianna Bullerdick, media relations intern, Indiana State University, (812) 237-3773 or bbullerdick@mymail.indstate.edu

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Story Highlights

A global entrepreneurship class in the ISU College of Businesses has students from Indiana State working with students from Slovakia and Morocco in the continuation of a program initiated two years ago to allow the creation of business development centers at ISU partner universities in the two countries.

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