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JCU international business program offers new opportunities

November 10th, 2011

One of the newest programs to John Carroll’s curriculum will have your resumé screaming “molto bene!” to prospective employers. The new official major, called international business with languages and cultures (IBLC), has been developing over the past three years within the Italian major and the Boler School of Business with the help of Italian professors Luigi Ferri and Santa Casciani. What has come to fruition is a new major that allows students to study abroad at a partner university during the spring semester of their third year, places the student in a summer internship with a company in the country in which they are studying, and finally, upon his/her return, provides an internship in Northeast Ohio with an international company that does business with that specific country.

For Ferri, the central focus of the international business with languages and cultures major is problem solving in an international context.

“In a time when ‘globalization’ is the key word, I believe that an employer would be very happy to consider someone with a background including a variety of courses in international business, a fluency in a foreign language, an advanced knowledge of the culture of another country and a direct exposure to that market from both sides, here and abroad,” said Ferri.

Last weekend, JCU faculty and administration traveled to Milan, Italy to formalize an agreement with The Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, the Italian institution where students will study during their spring semester of their third year. The agreement was signed after the meeting with the rector, professor Lorenzo Ornaghi and John Carroll Provost/Academic Vice President John Day.

The major requires five categories of courses: language, country-specific culture, the business core, international business courses, and international business electives. These electives, with the 302-level of the language of choice, are taken during the student’s time abroad.

Senior Steve Borowy is the University’s first student to go through the program’s process. Borowy studied at The Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, which was minutes from the Duomo, Milan’s breathtaking 14th century cathedral. At this university, Borowy took three international business courses along with courses in Italian language. Following the spring semester, he interned with SMC Italia S.P.A., an Italian manufacturer of pneumatic automation products.

“Working at an international company in a foreign market is one of the most unique and exciting aspects of this new program,” said Borowy. “My internship [with SMC Italia] lasted eight weeks in which I conducted market research for the pneumatics sector of the Italian market, along with working alongside top managers in each of SMC’s department.”

Now back at JCU, Borowy is completing his major and is set to begin his internship in January at a domestic company that does business in Italy.

While Borowy’s focus of language study within the international business major is Italian, Ferri explained that Italian is the pilot language for the IBLC major, yet the idea is to extend the program to as many languages as possible of those taught at John Carroll. However, for each language interested, a network with the specific country must be created, including a university that can teach courses of international business in English and companies willing to offer internships to JCU students.

So far, he said, the numbers are looking good.

“We have several students who have expressed an interest in the IBLC major, mainly in combination with Spanish and Italian, but also French and German,” he said. “Some agreements have been finalized with universities in Italy and Spain, but contacts are available for any country a student may choose.”

For Borowy, the program has not only allowed his network to grow, but also it has instilled confidence in the senior that there will be great job opportunities post-graduation in May.

“Having the international work experience is something that really catches the eye of a potential employer,” he said. “The wonderful thing about this program is that I have to opportunity to ask myself, ‘Do I want to work in the USA or in Europe?’ I don’t know how many other programs can offer you that sort of opportunity.”