By Terri Hughes-Lazzell
Broad College of Business faculty and staff this summer joined a cross-campus team from Michigan State University that traveled to China to ensure top international students choose MSU, and once here, that they have support in landing internships and full-time employment.
Faculty, staff, and students from the Department of Accounting and Information Systems, the Department of Supply Chain Management, the College of Engineering, and career services met with leading Chinese universities and corporations in China.
Several students on the trip even secured summer internships.
“This was a valuable opportunity,” said Vallabh Sambamurthy, Eli Broad Professor and chairperson of the Department of Accounting and Information Systems.
The group had a twofold focus: partnering with top Chinese universities to recruit topmost accounting undergraduates to Broad’s graduate program, and gaining exposure to corporations in China to help their management better understand what a student or graduate of the Broad College could add to their business.
Led by Professor Sambamurthy and Shinta Shintawati, accounting assistant director for the master’s of science degree in accounting, the team working to build strategic partnerships with Chinese universities secured partnerships with two universities. Visits with others planted the seed for future collaborations.
“Our value proposition is that students from a top Chinese school who earn a master’s from our program have a global understanding and have the skills necessary to succeed,” Sambamurthy said. He added that the soft skills learned at the Broad College, along with the accounting skills, would help students to successfully make an impact on business and assimilate and integrate in many companies.
The team also connected with alumni during their trip.
The second team of faculty and staff included Brian Jacobs, assistant professor of supply chain management, Judy Jacobs, director of corporate and student relations for supply chain management, and Lynne Zelenski, director of accounting and information systems’ academic services. They traveled with other MSU faculty, staff, and students to Hong Kong and Shanghai to visit 20 employers over two weeks as part of the International Corporate Tour (ICT), coordinated through career services.
Focused on building corporate relationships to help students gain internships and graduates gain full-time employment, the team had immediate success with several students placed in summer internships. But it also helped corporations in China learn about the business school and MSU, while providing Chinese international students with a better understanding of business in their country.
“For the undergraduate students with us, it was eye opening to the opportunities they had back home,” Professor Brian Jacobs said.
Chinese students make up about 30 percent of the student body in Broad’s undergraduate supply chain management program and about 35 percent in the master’s of accounting degree program.
“The employers are familiar with and recruit talent from top Chinese universities, and we wanted to introduce them to MSU,” Zelenski said. “When these employers see MSU and the Broad College of Business on a resume, we want them to understand the quality of their education so that our students are competitive.”
Xinyi (Cindy) Jiang of Shanghai, China, is an accounting major who landed an internship at Abbott Laboratories in Shanghai.
She was involved in the entire cost accounting process, and her experience strengthened what she was learning in the classroom at the Broad College.
“The Excel skills; the basic concepts of assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses; and the costing, planning and budgeting process in management accounting were applied on the job,” she said.
Qiunan (Olivia) Zhao, a supply chain management major from Qinyang, Henan, China, interned with Pratt & Whittney Shanghai Engine Center, where she learned more about factory operations and the process of purchasing.
She collected suppliers’ price and maintenance status data for comparison reports. She said applying what she learned in the classroom was easy, but understanding the external effects and uncontrollable issues that make the supply chain process more difficult was eye opening.
“This is a teamwork job,” she said.
Her efforts did not go unnoticed. Amy Pan, material manager for the company, said Olivia was eager to learn and quickly understood the processes, adding, “Olivia is highly recognized on her hardworking, patience, confidence and great potential.”
The goal of this effort is to post positions at the Broad College that provide opportunities for students back home, Judy Jacobs said.
And since many students will return home after graduation, helping corporations to better understand what a degree from the Broad College at MSU means will help those students secure employment, Zelenski said.