Top 5 Undergraduate Business Programs with an international focus

on March 09 2011 9:03 AM

A recent study from international accreditation body AACSB highlighted the immense challenges before business schools in today's increasingly global and competitive business world.

The AACSB Globalization of Management Education Task Force, chaired by Bob Bruner, Dean of the Darden school of Business at the University of Virginia, asserted that business and society require graduates with global competencies and such expectations command the attention of business schools around the world. In a clarion call to the business education fraternity, Bruner said, Schools must develop approaches that will positively impact globalization within the business community and broader society.

Internationalization of business school curricula, however, is not something that requires focus in graduate school alone. As business itself grows borderless, its study at any level must embrace cross-border content and exchange so that graduating students are well-prepared to face the demands of globalization.

Interestingly the most recent Bloomberg Businessweek ranking of undergraduate business schools seems to bear this out; while the methodology used to rank the top undergrad programs was based on measures of student satisfaction, post qualification outcomes and academic quality, international exposure and experience appeared to be prioritized by all the top-ranked schools.

Whether through extreme immersive modules, international internships or business-focused study abroad options, the global component is woven into these programs pointedly and effectively.

We take a look here at the top 5 programs from the list and the ways in which they are preparing students for eventual careers in the global economy:

1. University of Notre Dame, Mendoza College of Business

Ranked No.1 for the second year in a row, Mendoza College offers undergraduate business studies with majors in Accountancy, Finance, Marketing or Management (with specialization in Consulting/ Entrepreneurship/ Information Technology). Students are encouraged to experience diverse languages and cultures and half of undergraduate business students at the College spend at least one semester or summer studying overseas. Both University-sponsored and facilitated programs are available in 20 countries on six continents. Students work with their academic advisors to carefully map out a customized course of study, which meets all course requirements for graduation and includes a study abroad experience in one of the above.

2. University of Virginia, McIntire School of Commerce

Undergraduate students at McIntire can choose one or more from the following specialized areas of concentration during their fourth year of study: Accounting, Finance, Information Technology, International Business, or Marketing. The School has partnerships with institutions in multiple countries abroad such as China, Denmark, England, France, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Singapore, and Spain (three programs) and 18 percent of undergrad business students elect to add an international component in the third year of the school's integrated core curriculum. Besides, the School offers faculty-led short-term courses that could include several weeks of travel abroad during the January and May terms.

3. Emory University, Goizueta Business School

The Goizueta Bachelor of Business Administration or BBA offers undergraduate students in the fourth year the chance to major in Accounting, Finance, Marketing, Organization & Management, Information Systems & Operations Management and Business Communications. Students have the option to study abroad after completing the first semester at the school, facilitated by partnerships with 29 of the world's best undergraduate business schools, including the Cass Business School in London, the Bocconi University in Milan and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Approximately 35% of Goizueta BBAs study abroad for at least one semester. In addition, they also have a chance to gain international business exposure through the Linz Internship Program, which allows a six-week work stint at Voest Alpine Stahl, a premier Austrian automotive company at a monthly stipend of 750 euros.

4. University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School

The Wharton Bachelor of Science (BS) program teaches students how to apply business methods and economic theory to real-world problems (as opposed to a BA in economics which has a theoretical focus) and allows them to pursue concentrations in specific areas of business such as finance, marketing, or management. The School has over 20 programs with the world's top business schools, specifically designed to fit the curriculum. Students can study in countries from Argentina and Italy to India and Australia and take classes that fulfill business and liberal arts requirements over a semester. For those wishing to participate in shorter international segments, there are opportunities to participate in a 10-day Wharton International Program (WIP) trip to business and cultural sites in a different country. Participants also attend lectures at partner schools. Previous WIP trips have gone to Brazil, Italy, South Korea, India, France, Costa Rica, Argentina, and China. Besides, there are expeditionary Wharton Leadership Ventures to places like Iceland or Mexico, where students not only master effective individual and team leadership, but also participate in social impact projects that deepen their knowledge about the region and the local community.

5. Cornell University, Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management

The School's flexible degree requirements give students ample opportunities to enrich their top-ranked business, agribusiness, and applied economics education which leads to a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Applied Economics and Management. Students can choose specializations from the areas of Accounting, Agribusiness Management, Entrepreneurship, applied Economics, Finance, Environmental and Resource Economics, Food Industry Management, International Trade and Development, Marketing and Strategy.

The School has a 100-year legacy of students and professors applying practical, applied economics and management tools on every continent to solve the world's most significant business and social issues. International focus is inbuilt in the content and its application, as faculty and students apply their knowledge and research to issues of global significance such as trade agreements with the European Union and the emerging markets, the eradication of poverty in Africa, oil production in the Middle East, or financial institutions in New York City.

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