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With Launch of New Institute, Pitt Hopes to Give Business Students a Global Perspective

Studying abroad will have a whole new focus on studying with the launch of the Global Business Institute (GBI) next spring.

“One of the things that’s critical for business students today is that they have a global perspective," said Audrey Murrell, associate dean of the University of Pittsburgh’s College of Business Administration. "It’s also important for them to build some competence around being able to interact with people from different perspectives and cultures.”  

She said the intent is to give students global exposure in areas relevant to their professional development.

“It’s taking a step beyond just going and visiting a culture and visiting a different country," Murrell said. "It’s actually immersing them in projects, taking courses that are relevant for their curriculum and for their academic concentration and also international internships where they’re actually working in these places to gain global experience."

Pitt is partnering with CAPA International Education to create the Global Business Institute, which is also available to undergraduate students at other universities.

Murrell said the students will have a range of different options. 

“Some students will focus on academics," she said. "Some will do projects as part of our outside of the classroom curriculum, and then there will be some that will do international internships. These are for U.S.-based and non-U.S.-based multinational companies who really see the experience and the perspective and the knowledge that our students have as being important.”  

After a pilot this past spring in three locations — London, Sydney and Florence — the GBI will officially launch in Spring 2015 in five sites, each with a curriculum tailored to the business specialties of the host city.

“For example, if you’re a finance major, it would make sense not only that you study finance here in the U.S., which is a strong global finance hub, but also in London which is the other strong global finance hub," Murrell said. "We’re going to be looking at supply chain issues in Shanghai and Sydney because they’re a gateway to global supply chains for all different kinds of industries around the world.”

She said Buenos Aires will be the location for business majors who are focusing on global management, which integrates human resource management, supply chain operations and strategy.

“Buenos Aires is really an amazing hub for a whole host of industries and the South America, Latin America hub," Murrell said. "So it makes sense that’s one of the places where we send our global management majors because they’re in a place where a whole host of things from the supply chain to looking at global talent development really are focused.”

Florence will serve as the host city for human resource management especially for the hospitality industry.

Murrell said she’s not sure how many students will opt for the full semester abroad. 

“Whether it’s one week over spring break to do our global service learning project or two weeks to do one of our new programs which is a global supply chain effort or a full semester at one of our key locations within our Global Business Institute, we want to get to the place where 100 percent of our students have some international experience by the time they graduate," she said.

Kevin Gavin is the host of WESA's news interview program "The Confluence." He is a native Pittsburgher and served as news director for 90.5 WDUQ for 34 years. Since the sale of the radio station by Duquesne University to Pittsburgh EPM, Inc. (now Pittsburgh Community Broadcasting Corp.), he served as Executive Producer of Special News Projects prior to being named as host of "The Confluence" five years ago.
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