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Global MBA Program to Launch in Spring

September 8th, 2017

A new exciting pathway to earn an MBA degree with an international twist will launch at NIU – and span the globe – beginning with the spring 2018 semester.

The pathway touted as the international MBA involves a partnership between the university and top-ranked educational institutions in China, Italy and Germany. Beyond DeKalb, students will spend a semester each at Sapienza University in Rome, SRH Hochschule in Berlin and Southwestern University of Finance and Economics in Chengdu, China, to earn degrees and certifications, as well as develop business contacts here and abroad. At the DeKalb campus, students will join the cohort of students in the current Fast-Trak MBA program.

“This takes the global experiences for our students to a different level, creating phenomenal value that will persist for a long time during their professional careers,” Assistant Dean Ann Carrel said.

“This program is very unique,” said Anthony Preston, director of global programs for the College of Business, noting that only four similar models to earn an MBA exist at U.S. institutions. “We’re actually ahead of the game.”

Preston, who joined NIU in 2011, said he’s long thought of leveraging global academic partnerships to create a model that allowed for cultural experiences while studying overseas with the benefits of a business learning experience. That generates impactful internships, which lead to job opportunities and a large network on an international scale, he said.

Getting to this point took two years filled with Skype sessions, phone calls and coordination among the four schools with the NIU College of Business as the lead throughout the process. Among the highlights, all students will receive in-state tuition and the ability to graduate in a little more than 18 months with certificates in business management from Sapienza (Italy), certificates in finance or economics from Southwestern (China) and MBAs from NIU’s nationally ranked program and SRH Hochschule (Germany).

In addition, all students pursuing the international MBA pathway are guaranteed an internship in Germany. Preston said the program is exploring business partners in various countries to create avenues for employment for graduates of the program. A three-country alternate pathway to earn an NIU MBA is also available to accommodate certain requirements for Chinese students, while also accounting for the preference of many American students to study in Europe.

“Such innovative experiences designed to create lifelong value for our graduates exemplify how our faculty and staff remain laser-focused on student success,” said Dean Balaji Rajagopalan.

The new model will be available to students in January 2018 with the first class at Barsema Hall. Preston expects most of the students to be international students or young professionals. He hopes to see about 15 students join the program’s first run.

“I wish I was a student again. I’d love to be a part of this program,” Preston said. “We’re very excited at the College of Business. We’ve had great support from faculty, staff and the leadership at NIU at all levels. We’re ready to go launch.”